Well, the decision has finally been made. Coachella and Stagecoach have been cancelled for 2020. The governor of California issued a 4 phase process to reopen the state and lift the stay at home orders that have been in effect since March. Music festivals fall under the 4th phase, which will not be implemented until a vaccine is found for COVID-19.
According to the Government of California’s website, the first phase of reopening the state involved making sure essential workers—like nurses and grocery store clerks—were able to work safely. Everyone else was encouraged to stay home and many businesses stayed closed. California is currently in phase 2 (with one foot in phase 3 it seems), with low risk non-essential businesses opening back up. Parks and beaches have reopened with safety regulations. You can sit inside of a restaurant again and get your hair done—but there are still limitations. When we fully move into phase 3, high risk businesses will be able to resume. This will likely include places like nail salons and sporting events (that would resume without an audience). In fact, Disneyland just announced that they will open their gates next month. Once we hit phase 4, we will have moved away completely from stay at home orders but it’s not likely that we will get there until next year.
At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, many were optimistic that life would pick back up and we would be back to fully functioning in the fall. Both Coachella and Stagecoach, which normally take place in April, were originally pushed back to October due to the shutdown. However, we can all look around and see that this crisis has lasted much longer than anyone could have wrapped their minds around three months ago. In fact, we are being told to anticipate another wave of Coronavirus in the fall.
According to the Los Angeles Times Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said, “I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall. In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under Governor Newsom’s Stage 4, which he has previously stated would require treatments or a vaccine to enter. Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward”.
There is no set plan for Coachella in 2021, but options are being weighed. There is a possibility that they will host the event with partial capacity in April or full capacity in October.