Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the live music giant and corporate parent of Goldenvoice and the annual Coachella music festival, got its share of heat last year when it was revealed that the company’s founder, Philip Anschutz, and his private family foundation had donated to organizations with anti-LGBT agendas. Anschutz apparently also takes issue with marijuana.
Pro-legalization publication Freedom Leaf reports that the Anschutz Foundation has handed over more than $200,000 to fund anti-marijuana efforts in Colorado as recently as 2016. The 78-year-old Anschutz, whose net worth is over $10 billion, resides in Denver.
Anschutz’s anti-pot stance might explain why, despite the fact that marijuana is legal for recreational adult use in the state of California as of Jan. 1, Coachella announced that it would not allow marijuana in any form on the festival grounds this year, including the many acres of designated camping areas. Worth noting, says the publication, is that Indio has also banned new pot businesses.
Coachella takes place on the Empire Polo Grounds and draws nearly 100,000 concertgoers per day over two three-day weekends in April. This year’s headliners include Beyonce, Eminem and The Weeknd.
In Colorado, the Anschutz Foundation donated tens of thousands of dollars to such organizations as SAM Inc. and Smart Colorado, 2016 tax returns show, whose aim was to counter the impact of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana statewide and was passed by voters in 2012.
After criticism from the LGBT community, AEG stated, “We have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.” It’s unclear whether similar action — or a Coachella change of heart — will occur in the case of marijuana. The Anschutz Foundation has also supported pro-gun and anti-abortion Republican political candidates in the past.
In addition to Goldenvoice, AEG is an equity partner in sports teams and the ticketing agency AXS and its assets include Los Angeles’ Staples Center and London’s O2 arena.