Coachella 2017 tickets sold out in just three hours on Wednesday as Philip Anschutz – owner of AEG Live and festival organiser GoldenVoice – rebutted allegations that he supports far-right organisations.
The California event, which will take place over two weekends in April, generated more than $84m (£68.5m/€80.5m) in ticket revenue in 2015. It is expected to bring in much more than that figure in 2017 due to an increased capacity.
The strong sales performance was overshadowed somewhat by accusations on websites Teen Vogue and Afropunk that Anschutz has made donations to groups that are deemed to oppose the LGBTQ community. The sites – who repeated claims made in the Washington Post last year – said that between 2010 and 2013, the Anschutz Foundation gave a combined $190,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation, and the Family Research Council.
Anschutz, 77, is one of the Republican party’s largest contributors, which may put his politics at odds with those of Coachella headliner Beyonce, who is a known supporter of the Democratic party and a prominent backer of unsuccessful presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Billboard reported that multiple Twitter users have declared that the accusations against Anschutz will stop them from attending Coachella this year.
Anschutz, said to be worth $11bn, issued a statement denying he supports anti-LGBTQ groups.
“Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news – it is all garbage,” Anschutz said in a statement. “I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.
“We are fortunate to employ a wealth of diverse individuals throughout our family of companies, all of whom are important to us – the only criteria on which they are judged is the quality of their job performance; we do not tolerate discrimination in any form.
“Both The Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes. Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and when it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.”