Coachella Owners Take Festival to Court


Most people know Coachella as the music festival where celebrities gather with 250,000 fans in the Coachella Valley of California. Over the years, the music festival has garnered international acclaim with iconic music performances by like Beyonce, Kanye West, and Amy Winehouse and has proven extremely lucrative as the first reoccurring festival to break the $100 million profit mark for a single year.

However, Coachella Valley Music Arts Festival and its organizer Goldenvoice (owned by AEG), are not shy about trading in their desert boots for courtroom loafers. Most recently, Coachella filed a lawsuit in a federal court against Ghana’s Afrochella for, inter alia, trademark infringement. Goldenvoice is seeking a restraining order on the Afrochella name, damages for trademark infringement, and monetary damages for cybersquatting domain names.

The Afrochella festival was started in 2017 and is known as, “a celebration of Africa’s diverse culture and vibrant work of African creatives and entrepreneurs.” This year, African superstars, Burna Boy and Stonebwoy, will headline the two-day event.

In determining whether the Afrochella’s use of the mark creates a likelihood of confusion, the court will namely consider if the parties’ services are so related that a consumer would mistakenly believe that they come from a common source. Coachella alleges that the use of Afrochella is highly likely to create a likelihood of confusion. Coachella also claims Afrochella is intentionally trading on the goodwill of well-known COACHELLA festivals and trademarks.

Coachella is known to openly defend its trademarks to avoid losing reputation, business, and sales. Notably, Goldenvoice has successfully compelled Sean “Diddy” Combs to change Combschella to Combs Fest and Whole Foods to change Wholechella to Pre-Fest Beer Garden.

If their past successes are any indicator, Coachella may rave through this lawsuit dressed in neon and glitter.