Coachella Stagehand Dies While Setting Up ... Weekend Before Festival

4/6/2019 4:31 PM PDT

Coachella Stagehand Dies While Setting Up for Festival

EXCLUSIVE

4:29 PM PT -- Goldenvoice issued a statement about the worker who died Saturday, saying ... "Today, Goldenvoice lost a colleague, a friend, a family member. Our friend fell while working on a festival stage. It is with heavy hearts and tremendous difficulty that we confirm his passing. He has been with our team for 20 years in the desert and was doing what he loved. He was a hard-working and loving person that cared deeply about his team. As our lead rigger, he was responsible for the countless incredible shows that have been put on at the festival. We will miss him dearly."

There's already a death on Coachella's doorstep one week before the festival officially gets underway ... TMZ has learned.

A worker died Saturday morning at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA while he was helping set up one of the many stages at the venue. Eyewitnesses on the ground tell us the guy was climbing the stage scaffolding to do some rigging ahead of opening day next Friday.

It's unclear exactly how or why, but we're told the man fell about 60 feet to the ground -- as he wasn't clipped in, meaning he had no safety harness attached to a cable to prevent him from plummeting.

An Indio Police spokesperson confirms that a call was placed around 9:30 AM PT Saturday to report an industrial accident on the Coachella Concert grounds for somebody who'd fallen near the staging area. Police and fire units responded, but we're told the victim was pronounced dead on the scene.

The IPD rep says the exact circumstances surrounding the man's death is under investigation. 

Coachella appears to have carried on without very many fatalities up until 2014, when a female festival goer died of a drug overdose ... which is believed to be one of the first -- if not, the only -- deaths to occur in Coachella's two-decade history.

We've reached out to Goldenvoice -- which puts on Coachella each year -- for comment ... so far, no word back.

Originally Published -- 1:12 PM PT