The Weeknd, Beyoncé, and Eminem are headlining Coachella, a sprawling music and visual arts festival held annually in Indio, California (it occurs on April 13-15 and April 20-22 this year), it was announced yesterday. A scan of the lineup reveals Coachella's continued trend of playing it rather safe while trying to appeal to pop, rap, rock, and electronic-music fans in something approaching equal measure. (The great Kamasi Washington is the token jazz artist.)
Putting on an event of this magnitude isn't easy, obviously. It's expensive and drawing huge crowds is paramount, so the booking philosophy naturally skews toward the accessible, with risk-taking kept to a minimum. Within those parameters, Coachella is fine, just fine.
Granted, I don't care about 75 percent of the lineup, but even a curmudgeon could cobble together a good time from the fringe acts gathered here—especially if you happen to be an electronic-music fan. For the latter genre, sets by Motor City Drum Ensemble, Detroit Love (Carl Craig, Moodymann, Kyle Hall), Omar-S, Michael Mayer, Black Madonna, and Avalon Emerson promise road-tested, quality dance music for your sweaty dollar. Add grandiose, sexagenarian French synthesizer magus Jean-Michel Jarre for that uncoveted 45-65 age group and you can almost imagine you're at Mutek or Sonar. And no matter who's playing, Coachella guarantees world-class people-watching in 100 degree heat, so there's that.
I had to get out my magnifying glass to see some of the most interesting names on the poster—and that's partially why I'm not Coachella's target demographic. That being said, some concessions are made to the olds: Chic feat. Nile Rodgers (I should bloody hope so), David Byrne (let's hope he does The Catherine Wheel album in its entirety and invites special guest Brian Eno to recreate some tracks from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts), Jamiroquai (so WTF?, you gotta love it), and A Perfect Circle. Attendees who have mortgages and sagging flesh thank you, Coachella.