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Coachella Radius Clause Lawsuit Dismissed

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Coachella’s radius clauses, Billboard reports. Nicholas Harris and Haytham Abdulhadi, founders of Soul’d Out Music Festival in Oregon, originally sued Coachella’s organizer Goldenvoice in April 2018, arguing that restrictions on when and where Coachella acts may perform violate anti-trust law. In his decision, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman ruled that Soul’d Out was not unlawfully injured by Goldenvoice policy.

Soul’d Out’s founders filed their lawsuit after attempting to book SZA, Daniel Caesar, and New Orleans soul band Tank and the Bangas in 2018. None of the acts could take the gig because Coachella bars booked performers from playing at any other festival in North America from December 15 to May 1, among other restrictions. (Soul’d Out takes place in April.) The original complaint accused Goldenvoice of maintaining an “illegal monopoly in the market for live music festival performances” by “unreasonably restricting price and cost of competition among live concert venues.”

Attorneys representing Coachella defended the radius clauses by arguing they help preserve the festival’s uniqueness and prevent other promoters from using Coachella to promote unrelated events. “The entire purpose of the radius clause is to protect AEG from competitors unfairly free-riding on its creative choices in selecting its artist lineup,” they wrote in a court filing, adding, “As more festivals proliferate, maintaining a unique festival lineup is crucial for Coachella to remain competitive.”

Billboard reports that the judge also stated he plans to dismiss Soul’d Out’s claims of unlawful restraint of trade, unfair competition, and tortious interference. Harris and Abdulhadi have 30 days to appeal.