#SAVEHOODCHELLA: Beyond The Scandal

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A few months back, I open my Instagram app like I do everyday to check my feed and if I have any new followers or likes. I noticed a plus one on my followers and a music festival out of Los Angeles by the name of Hoodchella followed me. I clicked the name and saw the profile filled with flyers promoting the upcoming event for April of this year. I was immediately drawn to the festival for three reasons: 1. It was called Hoodchella. Need I say more? 2. The flyers were visually appealing as they used a font and image similar to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. 3. There is limited footage of the festival from its first go round last year which made me want to go so I can see how live it is. Then one day last month, I’m on Twitter and see someone tweeting about Hoodchella. I click on the account and see that is the founder of the mysterious-not so mysterious festival.

Kamil Al-Ahdali is a man of many facets by not only putting together Hoodchella but he is also a photographer, graphic designer, producer and writer for the blog, The Bearcapsocial. Even beyond that he’s working on other events like Moonvibez Music Festival with his girlfriend, Chasity Londyn. “I also skate a lot being a sponsor’s skateboarder for Crown Roots Skate Shop. On a normal day I’ll read what’s trending on Twitter and read the news headlines cause I like to read what goes on in the world daily”, says Kamil. Although Hoodchella is held in LA it was originally to be held in South Central LA at a friend’s backyard and it was to be a punk vs. hip-hop show. As word got out of the festival more people wanted to be involved and the location had to be reconsidered. Even when a venue was found the venue cancelled on the show 3 days in advanced but the owner of a hostel in Boyel Heights East LA lent a hand and let the festival happen there. Last year the likes of Playboi Carti, Xavier Wulf, Trizz, Coresh, Thelonius Gawd, Kamil and Chasity plus 60 more artists blessed the festival making it an awesome turn out. This year is planned to be even bigger and better but in the midst of Kamil and everyone getting prepared for April’s festivities, he was slapped with a lawsuit from none other than-Coachella.

Goldenvoice, the organizers behind Coachella, filed the lawsuit claiming the indie fest “infringes on Coachella’s trademarks, creates unfair competition and dilutes their brand” demanding $100,000 and for the name of Hoodchella to be changed and even offered Kamil $2,500 to change the name (HA!). Funny how this will be the second year for the underground festival with it turning into a three day event instead of one that consisted of last year, which has made everyone to conclude this is why they even noticed. If Hoodchella had remained only one day, they could’ve possibly stayed under radar from the corporation but even then maybe not. Hoodchella is clearly successful thus expanding the festival itself and when a corporation feels the underground coming up, they hate it! Coachella is worth millions and is known around the world, why be a culture vulture and not just let Hoodchella thrive?  Who really knows when thousands will still come out to support Coachella and it’s shitty lineup so they’re not essentially losing any money. The lawsuit caught attention from national and worldwide news outlets from music to gossip such as Rolling StoneBillboardTMZ and more. With all eyes now watching the festival, Kamil let me have the opportunity to get an exclusive interview about everything that has transpired. After this, we move beyond the scandal and continue to promote and support the originality that is Hoodchella.

1. When you decided to use the name Hoodchella, did you ever think that Coachella would even care to notice?
The idea has been floating around in my head for a few years but it was really about 2 years ago when I knew exactly how I could bring my idea to reality. I wanted to have all the branding finished before even deciding to let anyone know what Hoodchella was simply because I knew I couldn’t afford the trademarks yet and it had to look super legit. Hoodchella was my big secret.
2. They definitely noticed how your festival has grown quickly organically by social media and word of mouth, what were your first reactions when you received the lawsuit? 
Hoodchella definitely grew very big organically! It blew up the first year off word of mouth, then this year with mass media. The funny thing is I said a year ago if we ever got sued it wouldn’t harm us because of the publicity, not expecting to really be getting sued, lol.
3. You’re being pretty resilient when it comes to not changing anything in regards to HUMF, are you planned for anything such as Coachella trying to sabotage the event?
Yes I’m very prepared. Actually, I believe Coachella won’t follow through with their threats of a lawsuit. For one thing they don’t have a strong case (hint why they offered me a settlement) and second I’m sure they don’t want anymore negative publicity.
4. It was pretty disrespectful for Coachella to only offer you $2,500, if they offered more say in the 6 figures or higher, would you have taken the money and changed? Is it even worth to be bought out by a big corporation?
I have thought about this question many times but I would have still declined. If a $10 billion corporation is offering me $1 million for Hoodchella, that’s because they believe Hoodchella is worth $10 million, so why would I give away a $10 million dollar company?
5. National media coverage is taking Hoodchella to the next level, how do you think this will effect the festival now this year and on? 
This has been all a positive experience ! We managed to gain multi-million dollar press for free. We’ve been mentioned by The Source Mag, Rolling Stone, Billboard, TMZ, Fox, Complex, Pigeons & Planes and numerous other mass media all around the world. Companies that never knew about us until the suit are now interested in endorsing us, this lawsuit is the best thing that ever happen honestly.
6. No celebs have come forward yet to speak on the situation but it should be only a matter of time until someone does, who would you want to reach out to you first? 
Kanye, Drake or Will Smith!
7. Do you plan to counter sue against Coachella if they continue to pursue legal actions? 
Oh yes, they made me a rich man the day they deiced to contact me.
He leaves everyone with these encouraging words to starting their own festival: “Believe in yourself, believe you can do it, embrace your ideas, & make it happen…Never give up! Support small business!”

You can support Hoodchella against the evil forces by signing a petition created by Chasity on Change.org. Follow Kamil on Twitter.

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