The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians has issued a blistering response to Goldenvoice after the promoting company sued Live Nation for copyright infringement over a planned “Coachella Day One 22” event at a casino in California.
The tribe, which operates the 29 Spotlight Casino and its Coachella Crossroads venue where the event is scheduled, was not sued directly due to sovereign immunity. Instead, Goldenvoice sued Live Nation Entertainment, claiming that the use of the “Coachella” term in the event name violated its copyright on the term. Goldenvoice and its parent AEG Presents operate the Coachella Festival, which takes place nearby.
“[T]his suit is a direct attack on us and the region,” Twenty-Nine Palms tribal chairman Darrell Mike told Rolling Stone in the wake of a judge issuing a temporary restraining order against the use of the “Coachella” name in the event. “The event is developed as a thank you at no cost to the community and an attempt to bring people together safely to celebrate what we hope will be a prosperous 2022. AEG and Goldenvoice have taken ‘ownership’ of a name via trademark rights to an area they fully believe they ‘founded’, even though their event does not take place in Coachella, California, but rather in Indio, California.”
Coachella is the name of the valley where the cities of Indio and Coachella itself are located. The festival, officially known as The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, has been held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio since 1999, though it has not been held for the past two years due to COVID-19 concerns. Goldenvoice argued in its lawsuit that the event, a New Year’s Eve show featuring Lil’ Wayne, E-40, Shaquille O’Neill, and Getter, was “intentionally trading on the goodwill” of the Coachella Festival and would bring “consumer confusion and false association” with the multi-weekend affair that draws hundreds of thousands to the desert each spring.
Mike indicated that the event was voluntarily removing the “Coachella” name from its event, in large part due to vendors “being threatened” with the possibility of “being ousted” from operating at future Goldenvoice and AEG Presents events in the area if they continued to provide service for the event this week without the name being changed, which Mike said put “local families at risk and [could cripple] the community economically.”
“Our tribe and other nations have been in the region for thousands of years, relocated to reservations not of our choice, where we have had to develop businesses and governments to preserve our communities, culture, and heritage,” he added. “Entertainment happens to be a part of our economic diversity for longer than Goldenvoice has produced their festival.
“Although we were under no obligation to do so, we have respectfully removed ‘Coachella’ from the title of our event on marketing and sales materials living online. We hope that we can move away from this matter, so Day One 22 taking place at Coachella Crossroads, in Coachella, California, can be celebrated in the spirit for which it was created.”