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Connecticut community festival Floatchella rebrands after AEG cease-and-desist

By | Published on Monday 28 March 2022


Time for yet another Chella related legal story, for collectors of such things. Another festival with Chella in its name is rebranding after receiving a cease and desist from the lawyers at AEG, owners of the big old Coachella festival in California. This time it’s a not-for-profit event called Floatchella in the town of Mystic in Connecticut that’s having to come up with an alternative name thanks to a legal letter from the live giant.

In the last year AEG and its Goldenvoice subsidiary – which actually promotes the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival – has targeted a number of other events in the US that are using similar names to Coachella. There was legal action against the Carchella touring car exhibition that also included some hip hop based entertainment and against the Bookchella series of events that were encouraging young people to do some good old book reading.

Then there’s the ongoing dispute over the New Year’s event that took place in the Californian city of, well, Coachella and which originally went by the name Coachella Day One 22. In that legal battle AEG went after its rival Live Nation – which was selling tickets to Coachella Day One 22 via its Ticketmaster platform – rather than the promoter of the event, which was a Native American tribe that likely has sovereign immunity from any trademark lawsuit.

Floatchella is basically a community event staged on and around the Mystic river which was originally set up when the COVID pandemic was at its height.

Bruce Flax – President of the Greater Mystic Chamber Of Commerce – told Connecticut newspaper The Day: “The Floatchella started in 2020 out of COVID. We were trying to have a safe event where the chamber could partner with downtown merchants because nobody was going to downtown at the time. We came up with this event that’s outdoors and safe”.

Local bands and DJs perform at the town’s docks with half the audience watching from one of about 300 boats on the river and the other half from the shore. Although a free event, money is raised by selling Floatchella merchandise.

Confirming they’d received a cease-and-desist in relation to the town’s mini-festival, Flax continued: “It’s a nice community event, so to have the behemoth kind of come after us, they’ve got to have better things to do than that”.

Despite that sentiment – and while reckoning that no one is going to confuse Floatchella with Coachella or assume that the two events are in any way connected – Flax added: “We don’t have the money to fight them, and some friends of the chamber looked into it, and they told me AEG does this a lot, and they win a lot, so it was something that, we have such a great year coming up at the chamber, that we don’t really have time for this”.

The annual event now has a provisional new name of Float Fest, although alternative suggestions are also being welcomed by the Mystic Chamber Of Commerce, providing they aren’t likely to result in cease-and-desists from any other big existing festivals. So, nobody should suggest Floatonbury. Or Floatapalooza. Or, errrr, the Floating And Leeds Festivals?