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Rapper Pusha T performs at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, where last year’s event was held before the shutdown due to COVID-19. Coachella, dominated by Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd and the Swedish House Mafia, will resume on Friday for the first time.
Coachella Art And Music Festival
A few years ago, it seemed unthinkable that One Direction boy band alumnus Harry Styles would headline the event. Times have changed
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How many people, ridiculously, will be wearing One Direction T-shirts at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio this weekend and next?
How many of the sold-out event’s 125,000 daily attendees will post their videos on TikTok with a free Coachella NFT commemorative coin?
Both questions will be unimaginable in 2019, the latest year that the world’s most popular and profitable annual music festival was held before COVID-19 shut it down.
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Three years later, after the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled due to the pandemic, Coachella is back, bigger and more immersive than ever.
And, my, how things have changed, even though the recent arrival of the BA.2 variety insists that the more than two-year-old plague hasn’t gone away. (The festival’s website says guests “voluntarily assume all risks associated with exposure to COVID-19”).
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The full Coachella 2022 lineup is finally here: Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Kanye West, Harry Styles and more
Both the 2020 and 2021 editions of the world’s largest and most lucrative annual music festival were postponed due to the pandemic. This year’s edition will be held from April 15-17 and April 22-24.
Either way, the pop music landscape feels at least a decade away from 2019. Three of Coachella’s four headliners in 2022 — Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and The Weeknd — illustrate how a festival that once thrived on its indie cool and underground cred has embraced pop. Music. For a new generation.
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“Since 1999, Coachella has changed the landscape of music festivals in the United States,” said Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger. “But when you’re addressing Gen Z, Spotify and TikTok audiences, you’re dealing with a different landscape.”
Crowds at the 2016 Coachella Music and Arts Festival pass security bag checks, metal detectors and pat-downs at the entrance to the event at the Empire Polo Club’s stadium in Indio.
The 2022 edition of Coachella, whose six-day annual run draws 750,000 people, is once again sold out in advance. As in the past, most tickets are purchased before an individual artist is announced.
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In addition, many 2020 ticket buyers chose to hold onto their 3-day pass until the festival resumes. There is no better indication that the event itself has become one of the biggest draws. It’s a far cry from 2008, when Prince was a late addition to the lineup to boost ticket sales. (In 2010, Coachella stopped selling day tickets, opting instead for three-day passes. Attendance at the consistently sold-out event has steadily grown along with the festival’s size, which now spans more than 650 hectares.)
No longer dismissed as a former lightweight boy band, former One Direction heartthrob Styles has become an arena-filling solo act with a 2021 Grammy Award vocal win for Best Pop Solo Performance to his credit.
His performance as a Coachella headliner, which would have been laughable a few years ago, now seems well-timed, if not artistically, commercially.
Enjoy The Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival!
Perhaps even more striking is the influence on Coachella from TikTok, the social network’s video-sharing app that allows users to create and share video clips and now has an estimated one billion monthly active users.
While TikTok is primarily a vehicle for users to post videos of themselves dancing and lip-syncing, it has become a major launching pad for young artists looking for music stardom.
Among TikTok’s top beneficiaries are recent Grammy winner Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, and 2022 Coachella artists Texas hip-hop sensation Megan Thee Stallion, Los Angeles singer-rapper Doja Cat, Italian glam rock band Mäneskin, and singer-songwriter Conan Gray is included. Raised in Texas but born in Lemon Grove.
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In another shift that reflects changing trends and preferences, this year’s Coachella will feature more than 100 solo acts, but only 39 bands.
The lineup features a slew of young artists who weren’t even born when Coachella began in 1999, with headline sets from Beck, Tool and Rage Against the Machine.
Mexican rapper Natanael Cano, English singer Arlo Park, American rapper (and 2022 Grammy winner) Baby Keem, English-Philippine bedroom pop troubadour beabadoobee and Argentinian rapper Nicki Nicole are among the acts appearing on this year’s bill. They are all 21.
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Behind them are Indonesian rapper Rich Bryan and Texan singer Alaina Castillo, both at 22, with 850,000 YouTube followers.
Castillo first gained Internet attention with her quiet, “sing you to sleep,” cover versions of popular songs by Eilish, The Weeknd and others, which she performed in a form known as ASMR (short for Automatic Sensory Meridian Response).
Whispering and audible page turning are key trigger points designed to help ASMR viewers and listeners relax and fall asleep. If Castillo singing in English and Spanish at Coachella seemed funny a few years ago, it doesn’t now.
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Also not recording yoga DJ Cole Knight, bedroom pop singer Still Woozi and South Korean hip-hop trio Epic High. Next up are Bollywood-inspired soul singer Raveena Arora, San Diego neo-surf punk trio Beach Goons, Tijuana ranchera and banda band Grupo Firm, and Los Angeles R&B duo Emotional Oranges.
These are just a few of the 2022 Coachella acts unfamiliar to many music fans who attended the festival’s first edition in 1999 — or the decade since.
The premiere version of Coachella was a two-day event. It drew about 25,000 people and lost so much money that the festival was canceled in 2000.
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Although it returned in 2001, it was only sold for the first time in 2004. The exceptionally fine-tuned event became profitable only in 2005. It expanded to three days in 2007, with San Diego’s Nickel Creek joining the lineup.
By 2012, Coachella had expanded to two consecutive three-day weekends. Attendance that year was 158,387 and the festival grossed $47,313,403, dwarfing the $114.6 million Coachella raised in 2017 (the most recent year for which producers have released figures).
There were a number of turning points that illustrated the event’s growing appeal. Performing at Coachella can make artists feel instantly hip. So you can be in the audience.
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An early example is Madonna, who performed in the festival’s Sahara Dance Tent in 2006. She was followed offstage by socialite-turned-TV star Paris Hilton, who has become a regular since 2007.
Other celebrities and Hollywood stars followed along with a swarm of paparazzi. In 2011, YouTube began live streaming some of the festival’s performances, and will do so again this weekend. In 2015, H&M debuted its Coachella-inspired clothing line (think: affluent neo-hippies), followed by an H&M store on the festival grounds.
For a Mission Hills mom, dad and their two teenage sons, attending the festival in Indio is an annual tradition.
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Realizing that many young Coachella fans haven’t attended a concert by the rock legends their parents grew up with, Coachella producers brought in headliners that inspired some of the parents who attended the event for the first time.
Those legends included both Prince and Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters in 2008, Paul McCartney in 2009, AC/DC in 2015, and the reunited Guns N’ Roses in 2016. A heritage rock act will most likely feature on the 2022 festival line-up. shock
Top fans Seth Gomez and Angie Palmer took no chances to catch Paul McCartney’s headlining performance last night at the 10th annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.
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Madonna returned in 2015 for a cameo during Drake’s headlining performance. Coachella’s turnout, at least for the headliners, was strong with Lady Gaga in 2017, Beyonce in 2018 and Arianna Grande in 2019. That same year, South Korean trio Blackpink became the festival’s first K-pop act.
Before the pandemic, Coachella had become an ever-growing commercial blockbuster that grew year after year. It now attracts a vastly different audience than the rabid music nerds and hipsters who made up the bulk of the festival’s initial audience.
An important difference is that Coachella’s first decade was before the explosion of social media phenomena like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch and the increasingly popular TikTok. YouTube, which began live streaming portions of the festival in 2011, reported 82.9 million live views during the 2019 edition of Coachella, which was held most recently before the pandemic shut it down.
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