Coachella Valley businesses reeling after festival, conferences called off
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Around the country, big music and entertainment events have been cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19, including in Southern California’s desert communities.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival attracts roughly 250,000 attendees and has now been postponed until October.
The decision to move the festival carries a big cost for Vidal Coronel, who owns seven single-family homes in the Coachella Valley and rents them out on platforms like Airbnb. This is usually a big time of year for Coronel with events like Coachella, Stagecoach and the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells attracting hundreds of visitors.
“During this time, we can rent them up to $500 to $600 a night,” Coronel said. “Usually it’s about $150 to maybe $200. So there’s a big difference there.”
But with the tennis tournament called off and the festivals pushed to October, Coronel has seen an unprecedented number of cancellations.
“I mean, my phone was nonstop for six hours, just cancellations after cancellations. And it was insane.”
The economic impact on the Coachella Valley — and its more than $7 billion tourism industry — will be significant, said Scott White with the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Tourism is the number one economy for the Coachella Valley,” White said. “It employs over 60,000 people.”
In addition to the festivals, this time of year brings all kinds of groups to the desert for conferences. Now, they’re all pulling the plug at once.
“Well, it’s absolutely a huge domino effect,” says Aftab Dada, the general manager of the Hilton Palm Springs. “Currently, the pace of the reservations [being cancelled] is immeasurable.”
For the time being, Dada says the Hilton will stay open. The hope is that there will be enough for employees to do until these big events return in the fall.
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