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AfroChella is being sued by Coachella for copyright violations.

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Early this month, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and its organizer, Goldenvoice, sued Ghana’s Afrochella for alleged trademark infringement. The lawsuit that was filed in a California federal court on Wednesday (October 5) and obtained by Pitchfork—Coachella and Goldenvoice claim that Afrochella is “intentionally trading on the goodwill of Coachella and Goldenvoice’s well known COACHELLA and CHELLA festivals and trademarks by promoting music events in the United States and in Ghana using the confusingly similar mark ‘AFROCHELLA’ and by fraudulently attempting to register Plaintiffs’ actual trademarks as their own.”

This is a brief history about the two music and culture event companies you need to know.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivale, popularly known as Coachella Festival or simply Coachella is a yearly music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, in the Coachella Valley somewhere in the Colorado Desert. Coachella was co-founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen in 1999, which is organized by Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of AEG Presents.The event features musical artists from all over the world who perform many genres of music, including rock, pop, indie, hip hop and electronic dance music, as well as showcasing art installations and sculptures.

The founders of Afrochella are Abdul Karim Abdullah and Kenny Agyapong. The two had the zeal for throwing parties during their days in college. It was their hobby. Then, both were know as the Sigma fraternity brothers; charging $1 per head or offering free Moet bottles to get people to their dorm room. Throwing parties became their part time hustle after College: hosting events around New York City and bringing people together through music. Gradually, their vision grew from party throwing and evolved into the cultural, music experience recognised as Ghana’s Afrochella Festival.

Both of Ghanaian descent, they realized a lack of presence of African arts and culture at the major U.S. festivals and events. They lived in Ghana at different points in their lives; Abdullah lived in Ghana for seven years as a child and Agyapong moved there five years ago as an adult. For the two business minds,  it was vital to showcase the rich culture of the African continent to new audiences.

They first agreed to host Afrochella at New York’s Randall’s Island but according to Abdullah, the permitting and production cost alone were extravagant.  With easier access to resources in their homeland(Ghana)and support from government,  Abdullah and Agyapong put the festival there instead. Aiming at executing the festival at a fraction of the initial cost and start bringing visitors worldwide to Ghana.
The first Afrochella came to life in  2017. The one day festival took place in Ghana’s capital of Accra at the prestigious Polo Courts and pulled a crowd of 4,500.

Written by
Barbie Edonia

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