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Coachella Can’t Stop Ticket Sales to Indigenous Tribe’s New Year’s Show

A judge has rebuffed Coachella’s efforts to stop Live Nation from any selling tickets to an upcoming New Year’s Eve event, which Coachella has accused of trademark infringement.

The decision, issued Monday, Dec. 27, comes after Coachella and its parent company, Goldenvoice (which is owned by AEG), won a temporary restraining order against Live Nation, which did prohibit it from selling tickets to or advertising the event under its original name, “Coachella Day One 22.” In a subsequent request, Coachella asked that Live Nation be completely prohibited from selling tickets to the show, even under a different name, “Day One 22,” and that any tickets already sold should be invalidated “until the event no longer infringes on Plaintiffs’ Coachella Marks.” 

Judge R. Gary Klausner rejected the fest’s request on multiple grounds. First, Klausner noted that any promotional material continuing to tout the event as “Coachella Day One 22” was not coming from Live Nation, but Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, the indigenous tribe that’s producing the show. Twenty-Nine Palms isn’t named in the trademark infringement suit because they’re entitled to sovereign immunity, and as such Klausner ruled that the tribe’s “continued conduct does not constitute a significant change in facts that warrants modification of the TRO.”

Additionally, Klausner ruled that Coachella was unlikely to prove Live Nation “contributorily infringes” on Coachella’s trademark by selling tickets to the show under any name. While Klausner acknowledged that, as established in the previous ruling, Live Nation can control how the event is listed on its platforms, the company ultimately doesn’t control “the general sale of tickets to the event,” and that any material support they may provide to the infringement “is not enough” to warrant a change to the restraining order.

Live Nation and Coachella did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s requests for comment. 

Darrell Mike, Chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, said in a statement, “Today’s response from Judge Klausner is a win for the Tribe, the community and our ticketing partners at Live Nation. As a community and nation who reside in Coachella, California — we are equally thrilled that our outdoor venue, Coachella Crossroads will be able to continue operation under its given name. The strongarming of Goldenvoice and its parent company AEG to take reign over a name of a region and businesses who choose to identify with it is disrespectful to small and large business operations, those under their employ and the indigenous people who live within the valley.”

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