Fate of Coachella 2020 uncertain after coronavirus update

Coachella is meant to begin in Indio on April 10

A public health officer has spoken about the possible cancellation of the 2020 edition of Coachella Festival after a case of coronavirus was suspected near the site.

A patient is being tested for the virus at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California – 25 minutes away from Indio, where Coachella is held.

Dr Cameron Kaiser said yesterday (March 8) a patient was being considered a “presumptive positive for coronavirus” and was being tested by the Health Office. The official said that no decisions had been made over the fate of Coachella at present, but he would assess the safety of it and other public events on a case-by-case basis.


Coachella 2019
Coachella (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)

Another event set to take place in the same complex as Coachella, the Indian Wells tennis tournament, was cancelled yesterday (March 8).

In a tweet announcing the cancellation, the organisers said that the Riverside County Public Health Department has declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley.

Last week (March 5), Kaiser had told organisers of Coachella and Stagecoach not to cancel. “We will of course support and facilitate that decision,” he said if they did decide to pull their events.

On whether vetting attendees for symptoms before entering the site, Kaiser added: “If they’re going to be screening at the door, they shouldn’t have the event.”


Coachella is due to begin on April 10 and will run for two weekends with headliners Travis Scott, Rage Against The Machine, and Frank Ocean.

On Friday (March 6), SXSW was cancelled by the city of Austin over coronavirus fears. The festival, which features music, film and comedy events and draws attendees and performers from across the world, was due to begin on March 13.

Festival organisers said they were “exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants”. They promised to be in touch with registrants, clients and participants as soon as possible.

NME are coordinating a recorded showcase for some of the bands who were set to play at the festival. Further information about this will be published next week.

If you are an artist who has been affected by the SXSW cancellation and are interested in an alternative showcase, please email editors@nme.com with the subject line: “NME X SXSW show.”