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Coachella set to postpone as COVID-19 continues to impact live music industry

By | Published on Tuesday 10 March 2020


The Coachella festival is set to be pushed back to October as the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on the American live music industry. The postponement follows last week’s cancellation of this year’s South By Southwest showcase festival.

Coachella 2020 is due to take place over two weekends in April. AEG’s Goldenvoice, the promoter of the event, is yet to make any official announcement, but staff there are apparently liaising with the agents of artists that are due to play, discussing the possible shift to October. Sister event Stagecoach, also due to take place in April, is also likely to be postponed.

An increasing number of music events are being cancelled or postponed in the US as efforts increase to contain the spread of the virus, which results in mild cold-like symptoms for most people, but can be fatal in some cases.

In Miami, where this month’s Ultra Music Festival was cancelled last week, the accompanying Winter Music Conference has now also been postponed to a date yet to be confirmed. The festival and the conference are key components of the wider Miami Music Week programme.

Back in Austin – where city officials last week forced SXSW to cancel – it remains to be seen how many of the unofficial events that were due to take place alongside the festival and conference go ahead. The city’s public health department is also issuing guidance to the organisers of those unofficial events as part of its wider bid to contain the virus.

Of course, the cancellation of shows, festivals and conferences is by no means confined to the US, as the virus spreads elsewhere in the world, especially in Europe. Some European governments have put restrictions on any events over a certain capacity, and in Italy the whole country is now basically on lockdown, with all public gatherings banned.

In the UK, the government remains cautious of introducing similar measures, despite the virus starting to spread here. It’s expected that the number of cases of COVID-19 in the UK could increase rapidly in the next two weeks, which might require the government to instigate restrictions on large-scale events. But ministers do not yet feel that such measures are required.