The music festival powerhouse Coachella and African diaspora-focused Afrochella appear to be at odds.
Pitchfork reported on Oct. 7 that the Indio, Calif. spectacle is suing the Ghanaian music festival for trademark infringement just two months before their upcoming celebration on Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 featuring Burna Boy, Stonebwoy, Fireboy DML, and more.
The lawsuit, filed in California federal court on Oct. 5, states: “[Afrochella is] intentionally trading on the goodwill of [Coachella and Goldenvoice’s] well-known COACHELLA and CHELLA festivals and trademarks by actively promoting music events in the United States and in Ghana using the confusingly similar mark ‘AFROCHELLA’ and by fraudulently attempting to register Plaintiffs’ actual trademarks as their own.”
This suit comes three years after AEG, Goldenvoice’s owner, allegedly offered a warning to Afrochella and its organizers.
“We understand that you are using Afrochella as the name of a music and arts festival,” AEG said in acknowledgment of their noble endeavor. “We note that your event is part of a larger celebration that is designed to attract those living abroad (including those in the United States) to return home to Africa.”
However, the entertainment presenter expressed concern over the branding and the potential conflict it can cause for customers.
“Regardless of the celebration or event, your use of Afrochella as the name of a music and arts festival is highly likely to create a likelihood of confusion and mistake as to the affiliation, connection, or association of you with AEG and with Coachella.”
Coachella had a similar situation in 2021 with Live Nation Entertainment regarding their event called Coachella Day One 22. The long-running festival and Goldenvoice took issue with Live Nation selling tickets to Day One, thereby infringing upon Coachella’s trademarks. The lawsuit was resolved early in 2022.