Indie

Mannequin Pussy Defended Their Decision To Play Coachella After Online Backlash

Philly rock band Mannequin Pussy recently announced they’re on the bill for Coachella 2020. While the band has played many festivals in the past, Coachella is undoubtedly the largest. Many fans were excited to see the band achieve a level of success that comes with a Coachella set but others critiqued them for the decision.

The reason for the criticism is that AEG owner Philip Anschutz, the largest presenter of live music and entertainment events after Live Nation, has donated to anti-LGBTQ organizations in the past—and AEG presents Coachella. But Mannequin Pussy was quick to explain their decision to play the festival. The logic in part is that it’s nearly impossible to avoid working with such a large company that owns many corners of the music industry.

Mannequin Pussy addressed their audience by posting a letter on social media. Essentially, the band explained that AEG owns music and sporting venues across the country. And as a band signed to a smaller label, it’s nearly impossible to become successful without “being tied to” major corporations, such as AEG or Live Nation. Instead, Mannequin Pussy decided that they want to share their music with the widest and most diverse audience possible. The only way to do that is to accept their set at Coachella.

Coachella as a music festival does not explicitly donate $$ to anti lgbtq groups but the owner of AEG Philip Anshutz (the corporation that bought Golden Voice which is the company that puts on and books coachella) has a history of donating his money to anti lgbtq orgs. According to tax records that Pitchfork found he and his organization may have stopped doing so in 2016 but who knows what old rich white men really do with their money and I don’t know what they’ve given to since.

What I do know is that the network of what AEG owns makes it close to impossible to do a mass boycott of all venues/festivals which are tied to him. It seems like almost half the venues in the US are owned by AEG or Live Nation – two major corporations that more or less run the music industry.

For example, in NYC alone AEG owns Brooklyn Steel, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Rough Trade nyc, terminal 5, and Webster hall (just to name a few). Going to a show at any of those venues puts your money back into AEG hands. In Boston you would find a similar pattern. I don’t wish to wave the flag of “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism” but it is extremely tricky for bands to be sustainable or successful without being tied to these major corporations.

We took time to discuss this decision but ultimately decided that as a band who wants to share our music with the widest audience possible and as band with women, POC, and queer members we wanted to be represented and seen at a music festival of this level. We completely understand that some people will not agree with us but it is something we are aware of and discussed prior.

We are sorry if our decision to play let’s you down – these decisions aren’t easy as the music industry is extremely murky and very quickly becoming a monopoly in terms of who owns venues.

Read the band’s full statement above.

See where Mannequin Pussy’s latest album Patience ranked on Uproxx’s The Best Indie Albums Of 2019.

×