It’s that time of year again when friends, family members or colleagues complain that they’re missing out on Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, with promises – once more – that they’ll definitely be attending the next one, only to find themselves sitting in the office the following year saying the same thing again. (Okay, so most of us are guilty of it.)
If you found yourself avoiding Instagram on the weekend because it’s just too painful to see everyone jamming (do the cool kids still say that?) to Childish Gambino or Ariana Grande, we’ve got the biggest moments covered right here. But warning: you’ll be missing out on the same mad cool action all over again when weekend two (April 19-21) rolls in.
Thankfully, you can catch many of the performances live no matter where you are via Coachella’s YouTube stream. Now you know.
Friday, 12 April
Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover aka this year’s Grammy winner for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance, and Best Music Video for the anthem “This Is America”, was absolutely the perfect choice to headline the festival this year. Glover paid tribute to rappers Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle, sang a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s hit “Crazy” and debuted his new film Guava Island featuring Rihanna.
Janelle Monáe and her futuristic performance proved exactly why the American singer-songwriter is getting so much attention these days. Her set involved more than a couple of costume changes, plenty of dance moves and theatrical props, including a throne. Yes.
Country singer Kacey Musgraves sang during the festival’s “golden hour”, which is appropriately also the name of her album that took home top honours at the Grammys this year. Musgraves' performance got a little awkward as she attempted a literal “yee” and then “haw” call and response, but in a bid to shake things up, appears to have confused the crowd, ultimately resulting in her uttering (though jokingly) an expletive. Of course, Twitter had a field day.
The 1975, Diplo and DJ Snake also performed, with surprise appearances by Cardi B, Selena Gomez and Ozuna joining in for "Taki Taki".
Saturday, 13 April
As was reported earlier this week, Solange Knowles had pulled out of the festival “due to major production delays” with the singer sending “her sincerest apologies,” as read a tweet by the official Coachella Twitter account. Knowles released her fourth studio album, When I Get Home, last month to mostly positive reviews, naturally upsetting fans when the announcement was made.
The evening started off with sets by the likes of Virgil Abloh, J Balvin and Weezer. Later that night, the 17-year-old singer-songwriter Billie Eilish arrived to her set about 30 minutes late, opening her debut Coachella performance with new song “Bad Guy”.
Alternative psychedelic rock/pop act Tame Impala returned to Indio, California for the first time since 2015, followed by Kid Cudi who performed hits including “Memories” and “Day ‘N’ Night”, finally closing the second day with megahit “Pursuit Of Happiness”, which he dedicated to Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle.
In other news, a fire broke out in a mobile shower unit on the campgrounds but was quickly contained with no injuries reported.
Sunday, 14 April
Showbizz points to Pusha T who appeared atop an iceberg where he stood frozen (sorry) for about twenty seconds before jumping into “If You Know You Know”, the first single from his Kanye West-produced album Daytona. The 41-year-old artist also performed hits "The Games We Play", "Hard Piano" and "Numbers On The Board".
Later, Katy Perry would make a surprise appearance for "365", her song with DJ and music producer Zedd during the 29-year-old EDM star's set.
French record producer Gesaffelstein, dressed in all black by Balmain with his face hidden behind a mask, impressed the crowd with his electro sound. The DJ (whose real name is Mike Lévy) debuted the music video for "Blast Off", his new single with Pharrell, after his time on stage was up.
Khalid brought out a number of musical guests including Halsey and Billie Eilish to support him during his first Coachella show, with the American Teen dedicating his track "Angel" to Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle.
Finally, headliner and arguably the most anticipated performer this year, Ariana Grande pulled out all the stops to close the first weekend of Coachella, starting her set with "God Is A Woman", soon after which she surprised concertgoers by inviting boy band *NSYNC (sans Justin Timberlake) to join in for "Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored".
Nicki Minaj also hit the stage with Grande but technical issues led to the two singers crossing lines and trying to keep up with each other. Again, Twitter was abuzz, calling out Minaj for her lacklustre effort.
Grande also sang Frank Ocean's "Close To You" and brought out Diddy and Mase for a Biggie Smalls “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems" cover.
Finally, in a rush to finish her set in time, the singer managed to squeeze in hits "No Tears Left To Cry" followed by "Thank U, Next".
Coachella weekend one: tick.