BY FRED SHUSTER
A judge has ruled against entertainment giant AEG and is allowing online ticket sales to continue for DayOne22, a New Year’s Eve event produced by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians at an outdoor venue in Coachella, court papers obtained Tuesday show.
AEG/Goldenvoice attempted to block sales and marketing of the tribe’s event with a lawsuit requesting a temporary restraining order against promoter Live Nation and its Ticketmaster.com platform, arguing that the event originally called Coachella DayOne22 at the Coachella Crossroads venue infringed on copyrights held by the annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner rejected the request on Monday.
Darrell Mike, chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms tribe, applauded the judge’s decision, calling it a “win for the Tribe, the community and our ticketing partners at Live Nation.”
Mike said that as a community and Indian nation living in Coachella, “we are equally thrilled that our outdoor venue, Coachella Crossroads, will be able to continue operation under its given name. The strong-arming of Goldenvoice and its parent company AEG to take reign over a name of a region and businesses who choose to identify with it is disrespectful to small and large business operations, those under their employ and the indigenous people who live within the valley.”
AEG didn’t sue Twenty-Nine Palms directly because the tribe has sovereign immunity from such lawsuits. But in its lawsuit against the ticketing vendor of the NYE event, the plaintiffs alleged that the tribe is “intentionally trading on the goodwill” of the Coachella music festival, causing a likelihood of “consumer confusion and false association” with the spring event.
In a previous statement, Mike said the dispute reflects the “increased competitive nature of music events in the region and the attempt at monopolizing the location of Coachella as a solely owned brand name.”
DayOne22 is a one-night New Year’s Eve celebration headlined by Lil Wayne, along with rapper Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal) and E-40 at Coachella Crossroads, a venue at the Spotlight 29 Casino.
“Twenty-Nine Palms has gone to great lengths to imitate” AEG’s Coachella and related trademarks, the suit contends.
But in its statement, the tribe said AEG is attempting to claim “ownership” of the Coachella name, “even though their event does not take place in Coachella,” but rather in Indio at the Empire Polo Club.
“Amidst this matter, vendors are being threatened that if they work with the Tribe to produce DayOne22, they will be ousted as vendors” for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.
Mike said last week that although the tribe was under no obligation to do so, it removed Coachella from the title of the NYE event on marketing and sales materials online.
“We hope that we can move away from this matter, so DayOne22 taking place at Coachella Crossroads, in Coachella, can be celebrated in the spirit for which it was created,” he said.
The Coachella music festival was not held in person in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual Coachella event took place instead. The multi-day event is scheduled to return next year on April 15-17 and April 22- 24.
AEG says it has no objection to the tribe holding a festival of their own or hosting events at its Coachella Crossroads venue, but it must adopt and use an event name, venue name and trademark that avoids the possibility of consumer confusion.