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Coachella organizers ask for removal of free STD testing billboard

Coachella organizers have requested the removal of a billboard near the music festival site advertising free sexually transmitted disease testing services, the organization that funded the billboard said.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, installed the billboard on the westbound 10 Freeway on March 26 and received a request for its removal by March 28. The organization said in a news release that the billboard will remain in place for the next few weeks. for both weekends of the festival despite opposition.

THE billboard readings “Capture more than vibrations? ” and features a photo of the popular Coachella music and arts festival, held annually in Indio. The billboard directs viewers to a link where they can learn more about free STD testing.

“It doesn’t help anyone to bury your head in the desert sand and pretend that people don’t have sex,” said Michael Weinstein, president and co-founder of the foundation. “We want everyone to use condoms and practice safe sex, but if they don’t, we also want them to know where to get tested for STDs easily and for free. »

Goldenvoice, the company that organizes and promotes Coachella, did not respond to a request for comment. Jason Farmer, the foundation’s vice president of marketing, said an attorney for Goldenvoice’s parent company requested the billboard be removed.

The attorney claimed the billboard represented copyright infringement and demanded that the billboard be removed within 48 hours, Farmer said, or threatened legal action. Farmer also said the attorney may have felt the billboard cast a negative light on the festival.

Farmer said he was not aware of any legal action filed against the foundation Wednesday. The billboard’s owners also have no plans to remove the design, he said.

The billboard doesn’t name the festival, but the AIDS Healthcare Foundation press release describes it as “Coachella-themed.” The billboard is designed to reach festival-goers as they leave the Indio area.

Coachella, which takes place this year on the weekends of April 12-14 and April 19-21, attracts an average of 125,000 daily visitors and was first held in 1999.

California Daily Newspapers

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