Put away your flower crowns — Coachella postponed for a third time

Festivalgoers are reluctantly hanging up their flower crowns and putting away their wristbands as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is reportedly postponed for the third time.

According to an article by Rolling Stone, numerous music industry insiders claim that the renowned Indio, California festival will need to be further delayed until October 2021. The continued reports of COVID-19 cases required concert promotion companies Goldenvoice and AEG to further push back the festival.

Originally planned for April, the event was first rescheduled to take place this month, then delayed again to April 2021, making this latest move to October 2021 the festival’s third postponement.

With the Empire Polo Club — the location of the festival — being only a one hour and 45-minute drive from the Cal Poly Pomona campus, many students annually attended the event.

The festival — founded by CPP alumni Paul and Perry Tollett in 1999 — has hosted up to 100,000 attendees in a single day during the previous events.

First-year computer science student Bryan Martinez Ramirez planned on attending Coachella this year. With the progression of the virus, Martinez believes the cancellation is a smart idea.

“To be honest, I don’t think people would have been as precautious,” Martinez said.

He believes the ability for attendees to spread the virus while asymptomatic is a valid reason for organizers to further postpone the event.

Fourth-year international business student Claire Mangold shared similar views toward the festival’s cancellation and was relieved with the announcement.

“COVID-19 is very contagious, and it is better for everyone’s health and safety that festivals as big as Coachella and Stagecoach be postponed until it’s okay again for everyone to be back in those sorts of crowds,” Mangold said.

While Palm Desert is predominantly known for the festival, other students stressed the importance of recognizing Indio as a popular destination for retirees.

“Residents know our hospitals filled up weeks after the virus outbreak because this is a retirement community and our numbers are barely getting better,” said Karen Meza, a third-year architecture student and resident of Coachella Valley. “Because it’s a festival, it’s hard to mandate (social distancing).”

Meza expressed the concern of Palm Desert residents who fear a drastic spike in positive COVID-19 cases if the area were to fill with thousands of tourists. She believes the cancellation saved thousands of lives.

Though many were concerned about the safety of the crowds at a festival as large as Coachella, students additionally conveyed concern over the economic consequences of the cancellation.

“It does negatively impact those who were planning on traveling, especially the tourism, hotel and Airbnb businesses in the area,” said alumna Kalina Zaleski (‘20, hospitality management). “However, at the end of the day until we are no longer in a pandemic, these are sacrifices that need to be made.”

Despite the numerous postponements, students are enthusiastic for the possibility of a festival next year.

“I am for sure attending the festival once everything is back to normal,” said Rodrigo Jacquez-Vargas, a second-year student with an undeclared major. “Hopefully by next fall, Coachella can happen again, and everyone can enjoy themselves with music.”

Until large public events are reauthorized in a safe manner, Coachella festivalgoers can only hold onto the hope of donning their wristbands and returning to their remarkable desert oasis.

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