The Atlantic

Thousands are calling for a boycott of the popular music festival Coachella.

Caitlyn Truong, Photojournalist

April is the month of spring, flowers, and Coachella. Coachella is the widely popular music festival held annually in Indio, California where millions flock to the valley to listen to performances from famous musicians. This year, however, people have decided not to attend Coachella when it was revealed that the music festival’s owner is involved in controversial organizations.

Last year, Philip Anschutz, the owner of Coachella, was accused of giving large sums of donations to anti-LGBTQ associations, organizations denying climate change, and the right wing political party, according to the Huffington Post. Numerous investigations have revealed Anschutz’s contributions of as much as $190,000 to the anti-LGBTQ organizations Alliance Defending Freedom, National Christian Foundation, and Family Research Council.

He also funded several questionable Congressmen, such as Representative for Colorado Scott Tipton, who is known for his anti-homosexual marriage and anti-abortion prerogatives. Other Republican politicians, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, also received contributions, according to LA Weekly. The largest donation from from the Anschutz Corporation was approximately $140,000 given to the National Republican Senate Committee.

Anschutz responded to the accusations with denial and blamed false reporting, saying “claims… that I am anti-LGBTQ are…fake news—it is all garbage. I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation…Both The Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes. Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives.” Anschutz goes on to state that he would immediately cease all donations to any of his recipients who were, in fact, found to be anti-LGBTQ.

In light of these accusations, many regular fans of Coachella are calling for a boycott of the music festival by spreading the hashtag #nochella on social media and urging their favorite celebrities to do so as well. However, boycotting Coachella to protest against Anschutz will not be as effective as many hope. According to the Washington Post, Coachella is simply one major source of income for Anschutz, who owns a much larger AEG Live Empire. In addition to Coachella, the AEG Live Empire owns the L.A. Kings, Staples Center, and even parts of the Grand Canyon.

The “Nochella” movement has also achieved little effect itself. While popular among social media users, headline celebrities and performers continue to endorse the music festival, including Beyonce and Lady Gaga, both famous activists for rights who performed on the stage owned by a man who allegedly works against those very rights. Sarah Kim (10), supports the Nochella sentiment but says, “As terrible as it is that the owner donates to these foundations, I think Coachella is and will always be a huge event and people will continue coming anyway.”