Coachella Faces Boycott Due to Owner's Controversial Politics

As Coachella 2019 draws near, the music festival is drawing more criticism than ever for its founder's political views, and some are even organizing boycotts of the festival.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a massive event held in the desert in Indio, California. It typically features the hottest performers of the year all in one place, including rock, pop, hip hop and indie musicians. Tickets to the event are highly coveted and expensive, and this year, some patrons are taking a closer look at where all that money goes.

While the festival itself may be a safe and open space for people of all races, genders and sexual orientations, it is ultimately contributing to an anti-LGBTQ agenda. The festival is owned by Goldenvoice, an organization overseen by AEG chairman Philip Anschutz. Anschutz has a long history of throwing money behind anti-LGBTQ efforts, climate change denial and other far-right causes.

Anschutz's donations have been reported on many times over the years, and drawn criticism down on Coachella. As recently as this week, Spin reported that the billionaire has been contributing huge sums to Republican organizations. His complete list of donations in 2018 can be seen on Open Secrets.

Anschutz's lawyers even claimed that he had stopped contributing to political campaigns and causes in 2015, according to a report by Consequences of Sound. However, hundreds of thousands of dollars continue to flow right from Coachella into the right wing. Now, many music fans feel that enough is enough. Calls for a boycott began in earnest this week.

"The Coachella lineup has been released, so let's all take a second to remember how horrific of a person the founder is and why it is an event that should not be supported," one person wrote.

"Oh, f— that noise," added another. "$1.1 MILLION in these midterms, and a quarter million to Paul Ryan!? I will never attend this bulls— show that has only ever sounded like a dusty, dirty, overpriced, assaultive nightmare. #BoycottCoachella."

Many protesters also tagged their posts with "Nochella." However, some detractors suggested that they were not seeing the big picture. Through AEG and Goldenvoice, Anschutz owns not only Coachealla, but many other festivals, touring companies and other entertainment ventures. He also has a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings. Many live entertainment options in the U.S. put money in his pocket and, in turn, finance right-wing organizations.


Still, as boycotters countered, it never hurts to take a baby step. Outcry against Coachella is taking hold, with a few stars such as Cara Delvingne coming out to oppose the festival. Fans are calling on other promient allies, including Ariana Grande, to speak their minds as well, and has a full list of openly LGBTQ performers scheduled to appear this year.

Coachella 2019 will go from April 12 to April 21.