The organizers of Coachella filed a lawsuit Thursday against a self-described “underground music festival” called Hoodchella, claiming the indie fest infringes on Coachella’s trademarks, creates unfair competition and diluting their brand. The inaugural Hoodchella took place in 2015, and this year’s fest was scheduled to take place April 8th and 9th, the weekend before the Indio, California festival itself.
According to Billboard, the Coachella lawsuit – which seeks $100,000 as well as the immediate abandonment of the “Hoodchella” moniker – takes aim at Hoodchella organizer Kamil Al-Ahdali. The burgeoning popularity of the festival – the underground fest is expanding from a one-day event in 2015 to a weekend-long party in 2016 – ultimately placed Hoodchella on Coachella’s radar.
Coachella organizers Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of AEG Live, previously asked that Hoodchella change its name, a request that was reportedly denied, fueling the lawsuit. “Plaintiffs have no objection to Al-Ahdali’s holding a music festival; but Al-Ahdali has ignored repeated requests from plaintiffs to adopt his own distinctive festival name,” the suit stated, with Goldenvoice also claiming it spent nearly $700,000 in 2015 on “media and related content to promote Coachella.”
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Coachella’s lawsuit arrives just as tickets for the second annual Hoodchella went on sale, with this year’s fest taking place at a still-unannounced “secret location” in Los Angeles. The Hoodchella website, which drew accusations of “cybersquatting” in the Coachella lawsuit, calls the fest “a completely independent supporting independent art & artist from around the world and overall engaging the Underground community & keeping the culture alive.”
Supporters of Hoodchella created a Change.org petition hoping to “save” the festival from Coachella’s legal maneuvering. “This petition was specifically created for our supporters, everyone who supports Hoodchella Los Angeles and knows that we are not in anyway associated with Coachella and we have never been associated with Golden Voice, AEG, or Coachella,” the petition states. “It’s clear that our fan base knows we are two completely different establishments being that we already gained a fan base from our past underground art and music shows.”