The future does not look bright for Coachella. Recently, South by Southwest was cancelled, and as a result, the city of Austin, Texas will lose around $400 million. It’s a huge hit to both the festival and the city. Based on how the coronavirus is advancing in the United States, it’s possible Coachella won’t even happen this year. Right now, there’s a petition picking up steam calling for the cancellation of California’s iconic rich kid music festival. 

The Petition 

Residents in Riverside, California, do not want crowds of people flocking to their neighborhoods next month for the two-weekend festival. Their valid fears are over the coronavirus and the spread of it through their community. As of this moment, 14,000 people have signed the petition with a goal of 15,000. If anyone visits the petition’s page, they’ll see the number of signatures quickly rising. 

The makers of Coachella have yet to comment on the matter. If they do cancel, it’ll be a huge blow to Coachella Valley. Coachella and its country brother festival, Stagecoach, bring in around $400 million to Coachella Valley a year. In total, the festivals bring $700 million to the metro area. Good hotels and cannabis, in particular, are hard to come by during the festival. 

Arguments for Cancelling Coachella

Over 100,000 people attend Coachella. During these times, that sounds like a ridiculous amount of people to put in the same vicinity. The calling for Coachella’s cancellation is purely out of safety concerns, as the petition says:

As a highly inclusive community, we are responsible to protect each and every community member, which include the ones who are elderly, fragile, or the ones who suffers from chronic diseases, cancer, immune system diseases and other form of disabilities. The lives of these people should not be down-played and we shouldn’t risk their lives since they have a higher chance catching COVID-19 and develop critical situationst that need to be hospitalized. Sign the petition and stand with all the lives that are potentially at risk. Let’s protect ourselves and California residents by do the right thing before it’s too late.

While in no way at all comparable to the coronavirus, as one supporter of the petition pointed out, last year’s Coachella had its own problem with the spread of infection. There was a severe herpes outbreak. HerpAlert, which is a digital herpes diagnostic center, saw a huge increase in prescriptions needed to treat the STI. On a regular day, HerpAlert would treat 12 patients. With Coachella, there over 250 patients in need per day of the festival. Over 1,105 cases were reported last year alone. That story was about as memorable as the festival’s most classic performances these last few years. 

Why It’d Be a Shame to Cancel 

Obviously, safety comes first. Safety is what’s most important at the moment. It’s hard to care too much about rich folks not going to the festival next month, but for the real music lovers and musicians, the idea of cancelling Coachellia is unfortunate. Especially for the musicians who aren’t the major headlining acts. It must’ve been a big deal for them to play at the wildly popular festival. They could’ve reached more people, gained more fans, and added Coachella to their resume. It’s a real achievement to play at a festival of this scope. To lose that chance, that disappointment must be rough. 

Coachella 2020 Lineup

This year’s lineup for Coachella was fantastic, too. Perhaps the show will still go on, but given what happened with South by Southwest, that sounds unlikely. Right now, Frank Ocean, Rage Against the Machine, Lana Del Rey, and the great Orville Peck are supposed to play. Expect news soon about whether they’ll actually get to perform next month.