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Coachella, Stagecoach music festivals postponed due to coronavirus concerns

Coachella will now take place on October 9, 10 and 11 and October 16, 17 and 18, 2020.
2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 - Day 3
People attend the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in Indio, California.Rich Fury / Getty Images for Coachella

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By Variety

It's now official: The Coachella and Stagecoach festivals have been postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

Organizers Goldenvoice released a statement on March 10:

"At the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, we must sadly confirm the rescheduling of Coachella and Stagecoach due to COVID-19 concerns. While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously. We urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.

Coachella will now take place on October 9, 10 and 11 and October 16, 17 and 18, 2020. Stagecoach will take place on October 23, 24 and 25, 2020. All purchases for the April dates will be honored for the rescheduled October dates. Purchasers will be notified by Friday, March 13 on how to obtain a refund if they are unable to attend.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you in the desert this fall."

Dominos are falling in the festival world, as the Coachella and Stagecoach postponements follow quickly on the heels of Friday afternoon's announcement that South by Southwest is officially off for 2020. That was preceded by a Friday morning news conference officially confirming days of reports that Miami's EDM-based Ultra Music Festival was being called off. Today, Miami's Winter Music Conference was also called off.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which for several years has repeated the same lineup over two weekends instead of just one, was set to take place April 10-12 and again April 17-19. The scheduled nightly headliners were Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean. Stagecoach, one of the nation's biggest annual country music festivals, was to follow on the same grounds in Indio April 24-26, with Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and Thomas Rhett in the headline slots.

It's unclear as yet which acts will perform on the rescheduled dates. All agents had been notified of the postponement in the last 24 hours.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

It's worth noting that 2016's Desert Trip festival, otherwise known as Oldchella, was a very successful music gathering that was held in the fall -- from October 7 to 9 and 14 to 16 -- at the same site as Coachella and Stagecoach: Indio's Empire Polo Club (polo is only played on the grounds from January to March). Desert Trip featured the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who on the bill and grossed more than $160 million.

By moving Coachella and Stagecoach as opposed to canceling them, Goldenvoice -- and parent company AEG -- shields itself from having to trigger cancelation insurance that may or may not cover communicable diseases. May's Cannes Film Festival, for instance, is not insured against such a cancelation.