Four days before Coachella kicks off for another two weekends of FOMO-inducing moments (including a Goddamn Beyoncé set), an Oregon music festival is suing the desert festival with a federal lawsuit.
Soul’d Out Music Festival are arguing that the radius clauses which limit where festival artists can play during the five months before and after Coachella are creating “an illegal monopoly in the market for live music festival performances”.
As Billboard reports, Soul’d Out’s lawyers are citing an alleged copy of Coachella’s radius claus, which means that any of the artists on the 2018 lineup can’t play any festival/event within 1,300 miles (2092 kms) of Coachella between December 15, 2017 and May 7, 2018. That radius covers five states – California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona – which is the entire US West coast, and then some.
Essentially, Soul’d Out are super pissed that they asked SZA, Daniel Ceasar & New Orleans band Tank and The Bangas (great name, folks) to play and all said no, citing their Coachella contracts.
Their lawyers argue the clauses are “an unlawful restraint on trade, meant to use Coachella’s market power in the music festival market to suppress competition by other festivals.”
While these sorts of contracts aren’t rare, Coachella’s is extensive. As musician Ray Mann pointed out on twitter, Coachella can sell its tickets regardless of whose on the lineup, making these clauses appear more like “muscle-flexing” than safeguarding. It’d also be a significant blow to the potential touring schedule for some of the mid- and low-tier acts on the lineup.
When an event is big enough to sell tickets on its name alone, regardless of the acts on its lineup, this kind of thing is beyond unreasonable – it's just muscle-flexing, and it's gross. https://t.co/EGZY15v0dQ
— Ray Mann (@RayMann) April 10, 2018
For now, Vanessa Hudgen‘s favourite festival or its organisers AEG Presents & Goldenvoice have not publicly responded to the lawsuit.