Buckle up, folks. The details behind Coachella‘s radius clause have been revealed… but there’s much more to this story.


First, some context: in April, organizers of Portland, Oregon festival Soul’d Out Music Festival sued Coachella and its owners Goldenvoice and AEG. Soul’d Out organizers argued Coachella’s radius clause restrictions prevented them from booking SZA, Daniel Caesar and Tank and the Bengas. Originally, the radius clause was understood to restrict artists at this year’s Coachella from playing other events in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona from December 15, 2017 to May 7, 2018.

Now, a copy of a leaked email between Soul’d Out organizers and Coachella’s lawyers has apparently revealed the full extent of the radius clause. Details below:

  • Coachella artists cannot play any North American festival from December 15 to May 1
  • Coachella artists can not play hard ticket concerts in Southern California from December 15 to May 1
  • Coachella artists can’t advertise, publicize or leak sets at competing festivals in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington or Arizona or headliner concerts in Southern California that take place between May 1 and May 7
  • Coachella artists can’t reveal festival appearances for the other 45 states in the US until after the Coachella lineup is announced in January. Exceptions apply for SXSW, Ultra Music Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • Coachella artists must wait for January lineup announcement before announcing tours in California, Arizona, Washington and Oregon. Exceptions apply to Las Vegas club shows.

There’s a lot to unpack there. Coachella lawyers said, “The entire purpose of the radius clause is to protect AEG from competitors unfairly free-riding on its creative choices in selecting its artist lineup. As more festivals proliferate, maintaining a unique festival lineup is crucial for Coachella to remain competitive.”

Soul’d Out organizers leaked the email to fellow publication Amplify. The radius clause details were apparently supposed to be kept confidential, but Soul’d Out included the email in a public, amended civil complaint. Coachella lawyers are calling on the court to dismiss the case, citing lack of evidence for antitrust complaints.

Guess what? Soul’d Out must not understand that the Coachella radius clause is clearly flexible. Examples below:

  • noname played both Soul’d Out and Coachella this year
  • SZA, who subheadlined at Coachella, headlined Buku. Coachella artists Alison Wonderland and Flatbrush Zombies also played Buku
  • Illenium and blackbear played Coachella and Okeechobee
  • Ultra had a ton of crossover with Coachella this year: Joseph Capriati, Maceo Plex, REZZ, Ekali, San Holo and Jackmaster (who played with the J.E.S.u.S. DJ supergroup at Ultra)

That’s not even getting into the local show contradictions. So, is Coachella’s radius clause overly restrictive? Perhaps. But there’s clearly flexibility as seen in the examples above. We side with Coachella, AEG and Goldenvoice on this one.

 

Cover Photo: Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella