The chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, Darrell Mike, went after AEG and Goldenvoice over the lawsuit for their New Year's Eve event.
Organizers of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival filed a trademark-infringement suit earlier this month against Live Nation Entertainment over "Coachella Day One 22," produced by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians and advertised on Live Nation's Ticketmaster platform.
The plaintiffs alleged that the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, operating as Coachella Crossroads -- also the name of its venue, were "intentionally trading on the goodwill" of the Coachella festival, causing a likelihood of "consumer confusion and false association" with the original event.
Mike criticized the lawsuit, telling Rolling Stone in a statement, "[T]his suit is a direct attack on us and the region.”
The plaintiffs -- including Coachella Valley event producer Goldenvoice -- said they had no objection to Twenty-Nine Palms holding a festival of their own or hosting events at their venue, but that it must adopt and use an event name, venue name, and trademark that avoids the possibility of consumer confusion.
"Despite repeated requests from plaintiffs, Twenty-Nine Palms has refused to adopt its own distinctive event name or venue name and marks," according to the lawsuit.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted a temporary restraining order against website host Bluehost, stopping it from promoting "Coachella Day One 22" online. The judge also ordered Live Nation to stop promoting and selling tickets to the Twenty-Nine Palms event on its Ticketmaster.com platform.
Coachella has been dropped from both the website and Ticketmaster.com. It's just listed as Day One '22 NYE at Coachella Crossroads.
"Although we were under no obligation to do so, we have respectfully removed ‘Coachella’ from the title of our event on marketing and sales materials living online," Mike said in his statement.
The tribe and Coachella Crossroads, collectively referred to as Twenty-Nine Palms, were not named as defendants in the action because both have asserted through their counsel that they are entitled to sovereign immunity, and not subject to suit, the plaintiffs stated in the complaint. Attorneys for the Coachella Valley festival added that Twenty-Nine Palms may be added as defendants at a later date.
Day One '22 will take place next week at the Coachella Crossroads outside the Spotlight 29 Casino.
Chairman Mike's full statement to Rolling Stone
““[T]his suit is a direct attack on us and the region.
The event is developed as a thank you at no cost to the community and an attempt to bring people together safely to celebrate what we hope will be a prosperous 2022. AEG and Goldenvoice have taken ‘ownership’ of a name via trademark rights to an area they fully believe they ‘founded’, even though their event does not take place in Coachella, California, but rather in Indio, California. Amidst this matter, vendors are being threatened that if they work with the Tribe to produce Day One 22, they will be ousted as vendors for future AEG events. This puts local families at financial risk and crippling the community economically. This is wrong, especially at a time of challenge during Covid.
Our tribe and other nations have been in the region for thousands of years, relocated to reservations not of our choice, where we have had to develop businesses and governments to preserve our communities, culture, and heritage. Entertainment happens to be a part of our economic diversity for longer than Goldenvoice has produced their Festival. Although we were under no obligation to do so, we have respectfully removed ‘Coachella’ from the title of our event on marketing and sales materials living online. We hope that we can move away from this matter, so Day One 22 taking place at Coachella Crossroads, in Coachella, California, can be celebrated in the spirit for which it was created."