Coachella owner gets restraining order against Live Nation over rival Coachella-branded festival


December 21, 2021

AEG-owned Goldenvoice has secured a temporary restraining order against Live Nation in relation to a New Year’s Eve festival taking place in the Californian city of Coachella that has the word Coachella in its name.

Goldenvoice went legal over the Coachella Day One 22 festival earlier this month, arguing that the name of the event implied an official connection with its much more famous Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival. And therefore, the AEG subsidiary argued, the New Year’s Eve show infringed its festival’s trademark.

Coachella Day One 22 is actually being promoted by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians at an entertainment complex it operates called Coachella Crossroads, which is adjacent to its Spotlight 29 Casino. However, the leadership of the Native American tribe is arguably shielded from legal action due to sovereign immunity.

So, Goldenvoice went after Live Nation instead, which is publicising and selling tickets to the New Years event via its Ticketmaster platform. That meant, Goldenvoice argued, that the live music giant was liable for contributory trademark infringement.

The actual lawsuit is still going through the motions, but judge R Gary Klausner has issued a temporary restraining order banning Live Nation and Ticketmaster from publicising and selling tickets to the Coachella branded New Year event.

For its part, Live Nation basically argued that the main Coachella festival is so famous, it was unlikely to suffer any real harm from a similar sounding but much smaller music event taking place at a venue a few miles from where Goldenvoice stages its annual festival each spring. Therefore there was no need for any restraining order in the short term.

But judge Klausner wasn’t impressed with that argument. He stated: “Live Nation advances only one, uncompelling argument [that] Coachella’s incredible success demonstrates that its reputation will not suffer material harm from [a] ‘one-night New Year’s celebration’. This argument is simply unpersuasive”.

The actual impact of the restraining order is likely nominal. Although the websites of Coachella Crossroads and the Spotlight 29 Casino are currently still promoting the festival as Coachella Day One 22, Ticketmaster had already changed the event’s listing to Day One 22.

However, Klausner’s comments do suggest that Goldenvoice may well win the actual lawsuit against Live Nation down the line.

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