Coachella Fights Alleged Ticket Scalpers With Federal Lawsuit

On the heels of the completion of weekend one of the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival, the festival is cracking down on scalpers by way of a newly-filed federal lawsuit. Organizers for the Indio, California-based festival, which attracts roughly 180,000 attendees, have filed a federal trademark infringement and breach of contract lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The defendants: Particle LLC, a Los Angeles-based marketing firm and its owner, Denise Kozlowski.

In its complaint, the Coachella Music Festival alleges that Kozlowski is in the business of purchasing and re-selling Coachella festival wristbands, including artist passes that grant backstage access, in violation of the Festival’s terms and conditions, which assert that wristbands are non-transferable.

According to the complaint, language from an email sent out earlier this month by Kozlowski implicates her as a scalper: “I also have VIP, Guest and Artist passes for sale. Please inquire for more details.”

The lawsuit details that buyers of Kozlowski’s sale will be denied entry to Coachella, “or worse, ejected from.” According to Coachella, “money damages cannot fully repair the damage that will be done to (Coachella’s) reputation and goodwill if it must turn away would-be festival attendees because they have unwittingly purchased void passes from defendants.”

Coachella passes, which sell for hundreds of dollars, have sold out annually in most recent years. Though the festival forbids the re-sell or transfer of wristbands, scalpers prevail with sales via sites like Craigslist. Coachella, however, remains firm on their policy of denying scalped ticket holders entry to the festival if caught with transferred wristbands.