Judge dismisses lawsuit over Coachella fest’s ‘radius clause’

INDIO, CA - APRIL 13: Festival goers at at the installation Spectra by NEWSUBSTANCE during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 13, 2018 in Indio, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)

A lawsuit filed in Oregon against AEG and The Coachella Music and Arts Festival over unfair competition claims was dismissed by a judge on Thursday, according to Billboard.

In a ruling made from the bench, District of Oregon Judge Michael Mosman partially granted AEG’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Soul’D Out Productions, but gave the Oregon promoter leave to refill the lawsuit if they amended their definition of relevant markets, one of the key factors in evaluating an antitrust case.

“Establishing the correct product market is something the courts require with a degree of particularity,” says Nika Aldrich, who filed the suit against Coachella in April. He tells Billboard his client had tried to book three acts also performing at the 125,000-person festival — Tank and the Bangas, SZA and Daniel Caesar — for their Portland event, but were turned down because of Coachella’s 2018 radius clause.

AEG had asked the court to strike a letter from evidence detailing the festival’s radius clause – which does not allow artists playing the Indio festival to perform any festival in North America from Dec. 15 to May 1. Artists are also not allowed to play any hard ticket concerts in Southern California during that same time period and requires artists to wait until after Coachella makes its lineup announcement in January to make any tour stops in California, Arizona, Washington and Oregon – with an exception made for Las Vegas casinos.

The judge declined to strike the letter about the clause from the complaint.  The Soul’d Out fest organizers now have until October 25 to amend and refile their complaint.