It’s time to boycott Coachella despite how difficult it might be

March 28, 2019 — by Kaylene Morrison

Music festivals are well known for promoting liberal values, and Coachella is no exception. With queer artists like Janelle Monáe, King Princess, Christine and the Queens and Sophie in addition to LGBTQ allies Kasey Musgraves, Lizzo and Ariana Grande among the performers in Coachella’s 2019 lineup, hordes of liberal-leaning fans will undoubtedly flock to Indio, Calif. this April.

Ironically, much of the revenue generated from the $429 per person ticket, not to mention the overpriced food and other services, will most likely help fund anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion organizations.

Goldenvoice, the company that operates Coachella each year, is run by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which is owned by billionaire tycoon Phillip Anschutz. In recent years, Anschutz has been under fire for donating to organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, National Christian Foundation and Dare 2 Share Ministries, according to Pitchfork.

All of these companies are right-wing evangelical Christian foundations. For instance, the CEO of Dare 2 Share ministries, Greg Stier, wrote this startling statement on the company’s site in a 2008 blog post: “Homosexuality is a Satanic perversion of God’s gift of sex.”

According to Billboard, Anschutz appears to have attempted some damage control by donating to the Elton John Aids Foundation, which advocates for LGBTQ rights, and has ceased donating to overtly prejudiced organizations. Instead, he has begun to allocate more donations to controversial GOP members such as pro-gun Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, anti-LGBT and anti-abortion Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton and Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, who helped lead the racist Birtherism movement against Barack Obama, according to Jezebel.

Several celebrities have spoken out against Anschutz’s actions. Japanese-American singer-songwriter and musician Mitski tweeted prior to the 2017 festival that although she was obligated to attend Coachella as a performer, her fans could choose to opt out. In addition, actress Cara Delevigne started the hashtag #nochella to express her anger about Anschutz and urge people not to attend the festival.

Because AEG owns a large number of sports teams, including the Los Angeles Galaxy, 50 percent of the Los Angeles Kings, Ontario Reign and Eisbären Berlin, as well as several prominent venues, the company can be difficult to avoid when seeking entertainment. But with determination, it can be done, and there are some great alternatives to Coachella.

For instance, Outside Lands Music and Art Festival will be held at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco from Aug. 9-11 and Bottle Rock Napa Valley will be held in Napa over Memorial Day weekend. This year Paul Simon will be headlining Outside Lands along with other popular artists.

Despite the social media buzz surrounding Coachella and similar music festivals, music fans must re-evaluate the organizations that earn millions from these events. With numerous alternatives at hand, it’s time to look beyond the glamour and stop glorifying an event that ultimately lends support to anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ organizations.

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