Coachella is suing Ghanian music festival Afrochella festival for trademark infringement. The lawsuit was filed in a California federal court and obtained by Pitchfork last week. This comes three years after AEG (which owns Goldenvoice) issued a warning to the Afrochella festival.
“We understand that you are using Afrochella as the name of a music and arts festival. We note that you event is part of a larger celebration that is designed to attract those living abroad (including those in the United States) to return home to Africa,” AEG wrote in 2019.
“Regardless of the celebration or event, your use of Afrochella as the name of a music and arts festival is highly likely to create a likelihood of confusion and mistake as to the affiliation, connection, or association of you with AEG and with Coachella.”
According to the lawsuit, Coachella and Goldenvoice believe that:
“[Afrochella is] intentionally trading on the goodwill of [Coachella and Goldenvoice’s] well-known COACHELLA and CHELLA festivals and trademarks by actively promoting music events in the United States and in Ghana using the confusingly similar mark ‘AFROCHELLA’ and by fraudulently attempting to register Plaintiffs’ actual trademarks as their own.”
Last year, Coachella Music Festival, LLC and Goldenvoice, LLC filed a comparable lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment for contributory trademark infringement. The legal filing was about an event organized and promoted by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians called Coachella Day One 22.
Coachella and Goldenvoice sued Live Nation Entertainment for selling tickets to it, which allegedly infringed upon Coachella’s trademarks. Ultimately, the lawsuit was resolved earlier this year.
This year’s Afrochella is set to happen on December 28 and 29 at El Wak Stadium in Accra, Ghana. Performers include Burna Boy and Stonebwoy, as well as Ayra Starr, Black Sherif and others.
Coachella is seeking a restraining order on the Afrochella name, “damages for trademark and service mark infringement and unfair competition” and $100k for cybersquatting domain names.