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By Chris Cooke | Posted on Monday, March 28, 2022
It’s time for another Chella-related legal story, for collectors of such things. Another festival with Chella in its name is changing its name after receiving a cease and desist from attorneys for AEG, owners of the big old Coachella festival in California. This time it’s a non-profit event called Floatchella in the town of Mystic, Connecticut that has to find another name thanks to a legal letter from the living giant.
Over the past year, AEG and its subsidiary Goldenvoice – which actually promotes the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival – have targeted a number of other events in the United States that use names similar to Coachella. There was legal action against the Carchella touring car show which also featured hip hop-based entertainment and against the Bookchella series of events which encouraged young people to read good old books.
Then there’s the ongoing dispute over the New Year’s Eve event that took place in the California town of, well, Coachella and was originally called Coachella Day One 22. In that legal battle, AEG went after rival Live Nation – which was selling tickets to Coachella Day One 22 through its Ticketmaster platform – rather than the promoter of the event, which was a Native American tribe that likely has sovereign immunity from prosecution in brand material.
Floatchella is basically a community event held on and around the Mystic River that was originally set up when the COVID pandemic was at its peak.
Bruce Flax – president of the Greater Mystic Chamber Of Commerce – told Connecticut newspaper The Day: “The Floatchella started in 2020 from COVID. We were trying to have a safe event where the chamber could partner with downtown merchants because no one was going downtown at the time. We imagined this outdoor and safe event”.
Local bands and DJs perform on the town’s docks, with half the audience watching from one of the roughly 300 boats on the river and the other half from the shore. Although this is a free event, funds are raised by selling Floatchella products.
Confirming that they had received a cease and desist in regards to the town’s mini-festival, Flax continued, “It’s a nice community event, so for the monster to come after us, they need to have better things to do. do just that”.
Despite this sentiment – and while believing that no one will confuse Floatchella with Coachella or assume that the two events are connected in any way – Flax added: “We don’t have the money to fight them, and some friends in the chamber I leaned on, and they told me that AEG does it a lot, and they earn a lot, so that was something that, we have such a great year ahead in the chamber , that we don’t really have time for that”.
The annual event now has a new, working name of Float Fest, although alternative suggestions are also welcomed by the Mystic Chamber Of Commerce, provided they are not likely to result in stop-and-desist any other large existing festival. So no one should suggest Floatonbury. Or Floatapalooza. Or, uh, the floating and Leeds festivals?