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Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser signed an order Wednesday canceling the popular music festivals, citing concerns over a possible surge of coronavirus cases in the fall.
Goldenvoice, the Los Angeles-based company that produces the music festivals over three weekends in April, had previously announced the postponement of both festivals due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
“I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall,” Kaiser said in a statement. “In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under Governor Newsom’s Stage 4, which he has previously stated would require treatments or a vaccine to enter. Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward.
“These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted. My first priority is the health of the community.”
Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and Rage Against the Machine were set to headline Coachella, which was rescheduled for Oct. 9-11 and 16-18 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. The Stagecoach lineup included Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, ZZ Top and Alan Jackson.
Goldenvoice had already released this year’s set times for Stagecoach, which was slated to take place Oct. 23-25.
County health officials said in a statement that they’d spoken with Goldenvoice officials.
“After consulting with our public health officer and local leaders from the City of Indio and Goldenvoice, and with continued importance on public health, it was decided that postponing the concert series was appropriate and necessary,” said V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District supervisor, in a statement.
The music festivals aren’t the first major events to be canceled due to the ongoing health care crisis. For the first time in its 98-year history, the legendary Hollywood Bowl is canceling its summer season. Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre canceled its 2020 season for the first time in 90 years. And Barcelona festival Primavera Sound announced a new 2021 lineup after initially postponing the event.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has said concerts, sports events and large-scale gatherings won’t be allowed until Stage 4 of the pandemic recovery. That stage, per state presentations, will require therapeutics, or treatments for the virus. Large venues are then to “gradually open” at a “pace consistent with public health and safety.”
Goldenvoice rescheduled both festivals in March after Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser ordered their cancellation, citing “concerns about the possible health risks” because of coronavirus, according to an email from county spokeswoman Brooke Frederico.
Large gatherings across the U.S. played a “notable role” in the spread of COVID-19 during its initial outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat specifically noted Mardi Gras celebrations with more than 1 million attendees in Louisiana, plus a Boston conference and Georgia funeral that each drew more than 100 people, in a report about its introduction to the U.S.
Organizers had said ticketholders would be notified on how to obtain a refund if they were unable to attend the later dates. All purchases for the April dates would be honored in October, according to Goldenvoice.
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