The landmark music festival of the American desert held its first round last weekend. Coachella is a staple event of fashion, art and music that each year continues to earn as much praise as it does hate on the internet. It is an oasis of privilege that also manages to stage some pretty great sets.
This year’s festival was headlined by Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande. These acts had big shoes to fill after Beyonce’s historic performance last year.
Childish Gambino brought church to the desert with his headlining performance and premiered his film “Guava Island” the next day. Tame Impala kept their cool and represented rock music in a festival that has slowly trimmed the genre from its lineup. Ariana Grande brought the ’90s nostalgia to the festival, bringing out NSYNC, P. Diddy and Mase out to perform with her.
There were also a host of smaller acts making waves with amazing performances throughout the weekend. In a set more focused on music than that of Billie Eilish, Maggie Rogers gave a strong performance, stunning the audience with her belting voice and vulnerable lyrics. Rising Latin star Rosalia gave a sharp performance punctuated by choreography. Rapper Lizzo pulled out her signature flute and twerked her booty off as she prepares to release her debut full-length project April 19. Wallows had a great rock set on April 14 opening the last day of the festival’s first weekend.
Billie Eilish was one of the most talked about sets of the weekend. Fresh off the release of her debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” the 17-year-old alternative artist lit up the desert with her raucous energy. Her set was tight and featured a mid-air performance on a bed.
As much as Coachella is about the music, it is also about the surprises and the memes. Weezer brought out Chilli of TLC during their cover of “No Scrubs.” Kacey Musgraves tripped up the crowd’s call-and-response by not “f—ing saying ‘yee’” and the video spread rapidly on Twitter. DJ Snake surprised the crowd with his “Taki Taki” collaborators for the first performance of the song featuring all four contributors.
If you missed last weekend and want to stay up late and experience the festival from your home, you’re in luck. For the first year, YouTube will also be streaming the second weekend of Coachella in its entirety. It will be worth tuning in to some of the bigger sets a second time too in hopes that the sound issues that plagued some artists are remedied. There is also supposed to be a special performance on Easter by Kanye West. Go to the Coachella website or YouTube channels to check set times and make sure you don’t miss out.