The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival announced Tuesday that the 2020 edition of the festival would be postponed from April to October over fears related to the outbreak of COVID-19. Goldenvoice, the company that puts together the annual gathering in Indio, CA., shared the news on Coachella’s official Twitter account. Read the statement below.
— Coachella (@coachella) March 10, 2020
This year’s Coachella was originally planned to be held over two consecutive weekends, April 10 through 12 and 17 through 19. Goldenvoice said that the 2020 fest will now be held from Oct. 9 through 11 and 16 through 18. At the time of writing, it remains to be seen which artists originally slated to play at the Southern California festival, which has become one of (if not the) most important fest in North America, will appear at the new fall version.
That includes two Japanese artists who caught a lot of attention when they were announced to be heading to Indio this spring. Virtual pop star Hatsune Miku and J-pop performer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu were set to play at Coachella, but at the time of writing it is not clear if they will be at the October dates.
As Coachella and Hatsune Miku's appearance at the festival has been postponed, the MIKU EXPO 2020 USA & Canada tour dates are being reconsidered as well; please stay tuned for further information soon. https://t.co/ArFM2415Bd
— Hatsune Miku (@cfm_miku_en) March 10, 2020
Neither Kyary Pamyu Pamyu nor her agency ASOBISYSTEM has commented on the situation yet.
The postponement — one of many globally caused by the current COVID-19 situation — also has implications for one of the artists beyond just Coachella. The Twitter account for Hatsune Miku noted that the upcoming North American dates for Miku Expo 2020 — which start in April and go into mid-May — are now being “reconsidered.” Based on how nearly every other large-scale gathering has been postponed or outright canceled, it feels fair to guess that Miku Expo will also be pushed back.
So far, COVID-19’s impact on Japanese music has been almost entirely domestic, but in recent weeks the spread of this new strain of corona has emerged outside of Asia. It’s disrupting all tours globally, and coupled with the cancellation of South By Southwest in Austin, Texas (another event attracting Japanese artists) is impacting all Japanese performers trying to make inroads abroad. Playing live has always been the best way to connect with fans outside of their home country, and that option might now be off the table for the conceivable future.
A lot still needs to shake out — ask an actual scientist when COVID-19 might start decreasing — but any Japanese artists still trying to reach out to the world during the year of coronavirus need to get creative. Now’s the time for Japanese acts with global ambitions to embrace more digital platforms allowing them to reach those abroad, whether that’s live-streamed concerts online (check Haru Nemuri’s recent one, done despite the fact she is, at time of writing, still planning on going to the U.S.) or simply doing more to emphasize videos or streaming. This is also a moment for more activity on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. J-pop stars should approach the next few months (and possibly longer) like a business allowing its employees to telework from home. They might not be able to get out the front door, but they can still get a lot done via digital communication tools.
Perhaps the best approach to COVID-19 — for indie acts, Harajuku icons or digi acts — is to not rush into anything and take it slowly. It’s starting to feel like that at least the first half of 2020 is going to be a pop-cultural void, or at least what people expected would fill the usual gaps will now be occupied by new developments to match the globe’s situation. So, Japanese artists should take this time to stay healthy and, if they are looking to get their minds off the news, start brainstorming what to do after. Begin local, and build from there. There’s nothing much that can be done now, but Coachella is still going to happen at some point. That’s true for everything — it might just look a little different.