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Coachella Is Threatening Small Music Festivals

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Is it because Coachella is ultra successful that it should behave like a bully!? Coachella organizers are suing the organizers of another music festival, the ‘underground music festival’ Hoodchella. According to Billboard, the giant festival is ‘alleging trademark and service mark infringement, false designation of origin, dilution, unfair competition and, most vividly, “cybersquatting,” a term used in this case over the fest’s registration of the hoodchella.com domain name.’

Hoodchella, run by Kamil Al-Ahdali, was created last year and takes place the weekend just before Coachella, and according to their website, their upcoming edition will be held in a top secret location in Los Angeles. They have been very successful, if last year they received over 60 artist from around the world, this year their submission rate has quadrupled, with over 4,000 music submissions so that they had to extend Hoodchella into a 3-day festival with 100 independent artists.

Coachella wants Hoodchella to find another name, and the lawsuit is seeking at least $100,000 ‘in addition to the injunction, attorneys’ fees, the surrender of Hoodchella’s domain name and other damages.’ Let’s be realistic, what kind of damages did Coachella suffer? They made $84 million last year! So far Kamil Al-Ahdali does not seem to worry about the lawsuit, and is rather happy to get some free publicity, Hoodchella is even promoting a petition stating that their fans know that they ‘are not in anyway associated with coachella and have never been associated with golden voice, AEG, or Coachella’. ‘It’s clear that our fan base knows we are two completely different establishments being that we already gained a fan base from our past underground art and music shows,’ continues the petition.

I wonder whether this is a pattern,… I didn’t know about Hoodchella which seems to be a hip-hop-oriented festival but I knew about Brokechella, which has been around a bit longer and is also held in Los Angeles around Coachella time (on Saturday April 23rd  this year). It includes both interactive music and arts events featuring dozens of indie artists on half a dozen stages, and they even plan to include an experimental film program this year. Interestingly, Brokechella is changing its name this year, into Broke LA, without even revealing why. Although it doesn’t look like they have been approached and intimidated by Coachella, their name is an obvious reference to the Goldenvoice giant and may be they know they would end up to be in trouble? We’ll see whether Hoodchella will capitulate too.

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