If You Boycott Coachella Because Of AEG Anschutz’s Right-Wing Views, Boycott Everything!
Yesterday, it was reported that Philip Anschutz, the owner of AEG, one of the largest entertainment companies in the US, donated money to support the cause of climate change denial as well as anti-LGBT groups like Alliance Defending Freedom, National Christian Foundation and Family Research Council. Uproxx was all over his case on Wednesday, publishing an article entitled ‘Coachella Is Apparently Owned By An Anti-Gay, Climate Change Denier,’ and citing The Washington Post, and other sources like Greenpeace to back up these accusations: According to these sources, Anschutz allegedly meets twice annually with the Koch brothers at their strategy meetings.
Of course, AEG owns Coachella, and the announcement of the festival lineup was tarnished by this revelation… Knowing this, shouldn’t Radiohead, whose frontman has always been an advocate for every-green, cancel? Shouldn’t Beyonce, who has been outspoken for marriage equality and gay rights, cancel too? Is there a way to reconcile this right-wing ideology with a festival like Coachella? Of course not, but we don’t have much choice.
On Thursday, Anschutz denied everything in a statement to Rolling Stone, declaring that reports that he has worked against the LGBTQ community were ‘fake news’ and ‘garbage’. He added he was proud of employing people from diverse backgrounds: ‘Both the Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes,’ he wrote. ‘Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and when it has come to my attention or the attention of the Anschutz Foundation that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.’
A denial was expected following such accusations but one thing is sure, Coachella does not belong to an independent DIY organization anymore, the good old days of Goldenvoice and his founders organizing shows at their house are way over. Coachella belongs to the corporate world and to a billionaire, a guy who has made his fortune in oil business, a conservative man who also owns the right-wing political journal The Washington Examiner. Even if he doesn’t donate to anti-LGBTQ causes anymore, he has backed up Republican candidates in 2016 according to Pitchfork and his oil fortune and connections with the Koch brothers put him in the category ‘climate change deniers’.
But Anschutz owns everything, including big venues such as London’s O2, Los Angeles’ Staples Center, and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, so boycotting Coachella would also lead to boycotting any concert hold in these big venues, but also other big festivals like Panorama, FYF Fest, Camp Flog Gnaw, Bumbershoot, Desert Trip, Stagecoach, Firefly, Hangout…. AEG had its hand everywhere there is money to be made in music. If you are logical and want to boycott Coachella, you have to boycott almost everything expect the DIY mini festivals that are still happening at a local level… but in this case, you have to forgot about the big acts!
It’s simple, when it comes to music and entertainment, there are only two companies standing, AEG and Live Nation, they are eating the entire music festival market and slowly engulfing the more independent companies. AEG Live owns Goldenvoice, and Live Nation produces more than 60 festivals, controlling stakes in Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Sasquatch!, Lollapalooza, and Budweiser’s Made in America, and many others. Live Nation also owns Ticketmaster! We live in a corporate world and corporate moguls are far from looking like the flowers-in-the-hair hippies that attend music festivals, they most of the time hold very conservative social and political views. That’s why Anschutz being a right wing conservative is not a revelation, this is the world we are living in.