Coachella Sues Ghanaian Afrochella Festival for Infringement Coachella Sues Ghanaian Afrochella Festival for Infringement
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and its organizer Goldenvoice once more going after another event for daring to invoke the “-chella”phrase in... Coachella Sues Ghanaian Afrochella Festival for Infringement

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and its organizer Goldenvoice once more going after another event for daring to invoke the “-chella”phrase in its name. This time, the event is abroad, as the festival promoter and its lawyers have gone after Afrochella, an event in Ghana. This is mere months following high profile legal efforts against Live Nation in an instance where a Native American-run casino in the actual Coachella Valley of California used the name of the valley in an event title.

Pitchfork reported that the lawsuit was filed in a California federal court on October 5. According to the suit, Coachella and Goldenvoice claim that Afrochella is “intentionally trading on the goodwill of well-known Coachella and Chella festivals and trademarks by actively promoting music events in the United States and in Ghana using the confusingly similar mark ‘Afrochella’ and by fraudulently attempting to register Plaintiffs’ actual trademarks as their own.”

“Despite repeated requests from Plaintiffs, Defendants have refused to adopt their own distinctive event name, and as a result, instances of actual confusion have already appeared on social media,” the suit went on, claiming to “seek injunctive relief and damages for Defendants willful infringement in the United States and to protect the public here from confusion”.

Designed to elevate and highlight the thrilling and thriving millennial talent in Africa, according to the statement on the festival’s website, Afrochella aims to experience art and creative activations from the continent, celebrate African music, and taste premium and cultured cuisine. It kicked off in 2017 with co-founders Kenny Agyapong and Abdul Karim Abdullah at the helm, both men who had made names for themselves throwing parties in New York. The 2022 edition took place on December 28 and 29 at El Wak Stadium in Accra, Ghana, including headliners Burna Boy and Stonebwoy, as well as Ayra Starr, Fireboy DML, Black Sherif, and more.

The Ghana-based festival was allegedly offered a warning by Goldenvoice’s owner AEG three years ago.

“We note that your event is part of a larger celebration that is designed to attract those living abroad (including those in the United States) to return home to Africa.” AEG statement read, “Regardless of the celebration or event, your use of Afrochella as the name of a music and arts festival is highly likely to create a likelihood of confusion and mistake as to the affiliation, connection, or association of you with AEG and with Coachella.”

Neither the warning above nor the lawsuit is the first move from Coachella, Golden Voice or AEG in terms of “copyright infringement”. The promoting company sued Live Nation for trademark infringement over their event called “Coachella Day One 22” at a casino in California in late 2021.

After the lawsuit it was announced 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 that week without the name being changed.

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Last Updated on October 27, 2022 by Dave Clark