Coachella & Stagecoach music festivals
When the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival began in 1999 in Indio, Calif., promoter Paul Tollett said, “For Southern California, this could be the start of something really special.” Indeed, it was. Despite a few stumbles along the way, Coachella has been the West Coast’s premiere music festival for a decade and a half. In 2007, it got a country cousin in Stagecoach. And along the way, it helped change the way fans experience music at festivals across the country.
A festival is born
Goldenvoice unveils its plans to stage a two-day festival on a polo field in Indio, Calif. It’s announced that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will house four stages and accommodate 35,000 people a day. The announcement comes one week after Woodstock ‘99 was marred by riots.
Tickets on sale, controversy continues
Tickets go on sale for the first-ever Coachella. The shadow of Woodstock ‘99 still looms. Organizers and Indio city officials argue the Coachella festival will be light-years apart in its music, site conditions and overall vibe. Single day tickets are $50.
Coachella’s first edition: We have liftoff
The first-ever Coachella is staged in the fall and features Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Moby and more than 50 other acts, including a deep roster of electronic music artists. Indie rock act Pavement would appear at Coachella, and call it quits shortly thereafter. Fears of a Woodstock-like disaster prove unfounded.
Review: Beck, Rage lead the party
“The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is just too unwieldy a title, so let’s think of the ambitious two-day affair at the Empire Polo Field here as simply the Anti-Woodstock 99,” writes Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn. “Yes, the weekend event—which was highlighted by superbly revealing performances by Rage Against the Machine and Beck—was a civilized experience, a mixture of commerce and culture in which artists, promoters and fans all treated one another with respect.” Moreover, “the festival itself laid the foundation for what someday may be a legacy of its own.”
The first Coachella was fun. Next?
It’s revealed that the first Coachella lost money, but talks for a sequel are intensifying. Goldenvoice reserves October dates at the Empire Polo Club. Goldenvoice head Paul Tollett tells The Times, “The thing is, we wouldn’t want to do it unless we’re sure it can live up to the first one.”
Coachella is canceled
It’s announced that Coachella will not return in the fall of 2000 and will instead be held in spring 2001. “This year there’s just too much concert traffic,” says Paul Tollett, Goldenvoice head. “There are a lot of festivals in Southern California, with the Weenie Roast, the Smoke Out and others. And because of how many artists we use and the type of artists, I don’t know if we can do this kind of thing every year anyway.”
Nocturnal Wonderland steps in
Coachella site the Empire Polo Club plays host to Nocturnal Wonderland, a dance event that features more than 80 DJs, electronic musicians and hip-hop acts, among them Paul Oakenfold, Groove Armada, tha Alkaholics, Perry Farrell, Rabbit in the Moon, Dilated Peoples and Kool Keith.
Coachella will be back
It’s announced that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will return to the Empire Polo Field in Indio as a single-day event April 28. Jane’s Addiction, Weezer and Iggy Pop anchor the rock side of the bill, but dance music is the main attraction, with Fatboy Slim, the Chemical Brothers, Paul Oakenfold and the Orb representing the tip of the electronic iceberg.
Coachella, Part 2: An irresistable pull
About 35,000 people are expected for the second Coachella, a one-day event for which tickets cost $65. The second-ever Coachella features a wide range of underground heroes and cutting-edge artists. Cult favorites range from archetypal punk forerunner Iggy Pop to jazz-rap fusionists Gang Starr, and from the alt-rock of the Dandy Warhols to the hip-hop informed Latin funk of Ozomatli. “It’s absolutely amazing, quite honestly,” British trip-hop hero Tricky tells The Times. “They told me this was going to be in the desert, they told me how big the crowd would be and that Jane’s Addiction would be playing. It sounded like something you couldn’t say no to, really.”
Review: Epic times
“Headliner Jane’s Addiction provided the most epic sampling of hard rock, even if the ‘80s/‘90s alternative explosion that it kick-started with its two studio albums and the creation of Lollapalooza is now in the distant past,” writes Times reviewer Steve Appleford. “Earlier, the resurgent Weezer performed a tight set of pop flavored by punk and classic rock.” Meanwhile in the tents, reviewer Steve Baltin writes, “Fatboy Slim turned in a strong, upbeat DJ set that featured a lot of playing to the crowd and well-known songs given new mixes, including Madonna’s ‘Music.’ And just the opportunity to see the Chemical Brothers DJ was an obvious thrill for the fans.”
Festival will go back to two-day event
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is announced again for April. Acts include Beck, Bjork, the Foo Fighters, Mos Def, the Chemical Brothers, the Prodigy, Ozomotli, B.R.M.C., Belle & Sebastian, Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Queens of the Stone Age, Basement Jaxx, Sasha & Digweed, Paul Oakenfold, Groove Armada, KRS-One, St. Germaine and Dutch DJ Tiesto. Single-day tickets cost $65.
Third year finds success, with a few hitches
The third Coachella is marred by long waits in traffic and long lines for food, yet goes off without any major problems. Beck, Bjork and the Strokes perform. The third edition of Coachella also marks a turning point for the franchise. The festival was launched with an eye toward importing the European model of a huge standing festival with eclectic sounds that defy radio popularity. The first festival ended up in the red, and the second staging was more or less a break-even proposition, according to Paul Tollett, a partner for promoter Goldenvoice. “This year,” Tollett says at the event, “we will make a profit.”
Review: Oasis, Prodigy, the Strokes stumble
Oasis singer Liam Gallagher’s “vocal seemed simply workmanlike, perhaps betraying the sense of struggle surrounding the band,” writes Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn. “The Prodigy, the British techno-rock wonder of the mid-‘90s, was battling to prove that it still deserves a place in the rock hierarchy after almost five years of silence. And newcomers the Strokes needed to assert that they warrant all the talk about their being key members of rock’s budding renaissance. Even the Coachella festival itself was on trial…. Of the four question marks, only the festival deserved an unqualified rave.”
Coachella begets Bonnaroo
The festival model established in the U.S. by Coachella expands to the Midwest. The first Bonnaroo Music Festival is held in Manchester, Tenn., and carries a more jam-band vibe than the annual Indio, Calif. Acts include Norah Jones, Ween, Phil Lesh, Ben Harper and Widespread Panic, among others.
Beastie Boys, Blue Man Group will headline
The lineup for the 2003 Coachella is unveiled, and the Beastie Boys will headline. The hip-hop pioneers were on the wish list for the 1999 Coachella. Other acts included garage-rock revival leaders the White Stripes, balladeer Jack Johnson, hip-hop hybridists N.E.R.D., power-puff punks the Donnas and progressive rappers Black Eyed Peas. One night will feature the debut of the Blue Man Group’s full-production concert tour.
Festival has plans to grow elsewhere
One week before the next Coachella, the promoters partner with the organizes of Field Day, a Long Island, N.Y., rock festival modeled after Coachella. Goldenvoice head Paul Tollett predicts more festivals will be coming. “I think it has to be big markets, progressive cities. But there’s room for a few more out there,” he told The Times.
The place to get your kicks
The 2003 Coachella festival, which features the Beastie Boys, Blur and Queens of the Stone Age, among others, receives rave reviews and draws just shy of 70,000 for the weekend. In the dance tents, Masters at Work, Felix Da Housecat, Deep Dish, Underworld and Thievery Corporation all make impressions. And, it is hoped, the festival might even turn a small profit this time around, unlike its previous outings. “Coachella’s success also represents a revival of a festival concept that had become so tainted by primitive conditions and commercial greed in recent years that the shows were seen as a dirty word in rock,” writes Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn.
Review: Iggy Pop, White Stripes pass the test
“Iggy & the Stooges and the White Stripes provided the most memorable moments Sunday with back-to-back sets on the festival’s main stage — each act facing quite different tests,” Times pop music Robert Hilburn writes. “Iggy sang the frustrations of youth in dark, desperate tones that were as influential as his stage persona. Still, the set suffered in its final moments from the same problem found with most reunions.” Meanwhile, the White Stripes didn’t deliver “a perfect set, but it was representative of the excitement that the Stripes have been generating in clubs.”
Field Day: Not so fast …
Attempts by Goldenvoice to expand the Coachella model to Long Island, N.Y., go south. The Field Day event was downsized from two days to one day and moved from Long Island, N.Y., to Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.Y., due to permit issues. Radiohead and Beck headline.
Radiohead, Kraftwerk to top lineup
The Coachella lineup is announced in two parts. Day 1 of the May event is revealed in January. Radiohead, German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk and the reunited post-punk heroes the Pixies will headline.
But wait, there’s more
Tickets go on sale for Coachella 2004, and second-day headliners are revealed. Artists who are set to play on Day 2 of the May event include the Cure, Flaming Lips, Air and Belle & Sebastian. Tickets are $75 for one day, $140 for both.
Coachella sells out, hits 50,000 a day
Coachella is a sell-out, averaging about 50,000 people per day. Radiohead headlines, and the reunion of the Pixies is one of the main attractions. The Pixies were among the most influential alt-rock bands of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and their return to action after a decade draws a sizable crowd to the main stage. The Boston quartet’s mix of aggressive textures, tuneful melodies and deeply introspective lyrics had a profound impact on two ultimately more memorable bands, Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins.
Review: A joyous desert jam
“Even though one of the greatest bands ever in rock, Radiohead, made its only U.S. appearance of the year Saturday night, fans probably will more remember the overall 12-hour parade of bands and DJs than the British quintet’s 90-minute set — as stirring as it was,” writes Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn. As for Day 2: The Flaming Lips’ appearance, featuring Wayne Coyne in a plastic ball rolling over the crowd, “was staggering in its inventiveness and twisted good humor,” reviewer Steve Appleford writes.
Coachella’s ‘strongest lineup yet’?
The lineup for the 2005 Coachella is unveiled, with the melodic arena-pop of Coldplay anchoring Day 1 and the return of Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails closing out Day 2. Gang of Four, Bright Eyes, Wilco, the Chemical Brothers, Snow Patrol, Rilo Kiley, Sage Francis, Bloc Party and the Kills also make the bill, as does the buzzy Canadian rock outfit Arcade Fire. Times pop critic Robert Hilburn says the lineup “may be the strongest yet.” Tickets are $80 for one day, $150 for both.
NIN rocks after tense moments
Coachella is again a success, drawing about 50,000 fans each day. As expected Trent Reznor’s return to action is the highlight of the festival. Reznor’s comeback performance as part of Nine Inch Nails during the final hours of the fest recaptures some of the ‘90s spark that placed him alongside the late Kurt Cobain as the premier rock voices of their generation. Though Coachella is a normally laid-back crowd, tense moments come before NIN’s set, as fans press so hard against the front barriers in the open field that security guards must help lift them to safety.
Review: A rewarding blend of new acts, hip-hop
“Blessed with mid-80s weather this weekend, Coachella felt especially rewarding and relevant in a time when lots of interesting new acts are arriving, especially from England,” Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn writes, “whether it’s such rockers as Kasabian, Futureheads, Razorlight and Bloc Party or the commentary and dance-world infectiousness of M.I.A., who performed in one of the side tents. Hip-hop also was a step forward for the predominantly alt-rock event.”
Lollapalooza’s new lease on life
The market for destination festivals continues to expand. Lollapalooza, once a touring event, is reborn in the Coachella mode as a multi-day festival on Chicago’s lakefront. Headliners include Weezer, the Pixies, the Killers and the Arcade Fire.
Shaking off the dust
The seventh edition of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is announced for April 29 and 30. Depeche Mode, Tool, Franz Ferdinand, Paul Oakenfold, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sigur Ros and Common topline the more than 80 acts on the bill. Matisyahu, TV on the Radio, Danger Mouse, Damien Marley, HARD-Fi, She Wants Revenge, Cat Power, the Like and Kanye West are also on the two-day lineup.
Electronic dance music returns to the forefront on the closing night of Coachella with Madonna, Massive Attack and Daft Punk – who at the time is the most requested dance headliner on the festival’s message boards — being added to the bill. The presence of Madonna and Daft Punk prompt promoter Goldenvoice to enlarge the Sahara Tent, Coachella’s annual DJ playground, to make room for Madge’s massive disco ball. But after a more than 20 minute late start, she only performs six songs.
Review: Kanye has a moment
“Kanye West didn’t play one of his smoothest shows Saturday, but it was one of his most significant — if not for him then for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival,” writes Times reviewer Richard Cromelin. “By showcasing the hugely popular rapper on its main stage, the country’s preeminent rock gathering not only undertook a fundamental redefinition but also dramatically demonstrated a new ecumenical spirit in popular music.”
Stagecoach is born
Coachella announces it will expand to three days in 2007, but the bigger news is the rock and dance event will welcome a country cousin. The stages and tents already erected at the Empire Polo Grounds will stay in place for an extra week to host a country music bonanza featuring George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams. “We think there is an audience that wants to hear this music and will be excited about hearing it live,” Paul Tollett, a partner for promoter Goldenvoice, told The Times. “It’s not like people stopped liking country because [country radio station] KZLA went away.”
Stagecoach fills out the lineup
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival’s country cousin is christened Stagecoach, with the addition of Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Gary Allan and Neko Case to the bill, in addition to acts such as George Strait. Tickets to the first Stagecoach are about $85 per day.
Coachella has its first three-day fest
Coachella’s move to a three-day festival draws about 60,000 people per day. The festival is anchored by the return of tenacious rockers Rage Against the Machine, who perform for the first time in seven years. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bjork also anchor nights at the festival. Featured on the packed bill are Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Manu Chao, a rare American performance by former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and Scarlett Johansson singing with a reunited the Jesus and Mary Chain. The addition of a third day calls for steeper ticket prices, with some fans paying scalpers $1,000 for a three-day pass with a face value of $250.
Review: Together as one
“Artist after outstanding artist during the eclectic fest’s first two days, Friday and Saturday at Indio’s Empire Polo Club, could have been classified as dance music and rock, the two genres that inspired Coachella’s founding,” writes Times pop music critic Ann Powers. “The tribal squabbles that once afflicted music-scene devotees seemed mostly a misty memory.” As for Sunday, Rage Against the Machine “accomplished its goal. Its fans were on fire again.”
Stagecoach kicks off
The first Stagecoach festival isn’t expected to be a moneymaker, but it does draw 55,000 mostly family-friendly fans over two days to hear Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, George Strait and 50 other acts. “The main thing is to remember that everyone out there has been drunk and sober three times, so when it gets dark, you want to make sure you sing up-tempo songs,” Jackson tells The Times. “You don’t want to make them fall asleep.” The turnout encourages Goldenvoice’s Paul Tollett to plan a second year: “I think Stagecoach will catch Coachella pretty quickly.”
Coachella nods to the fans in Mexico
The 125-act lineup of the ninth edition of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was announced at a news conference in Mexico City, in a nod to the festival’s fans south of the border. Death Cab for Cutie, My Morning Jacket, Love and Rockets and Justice are among the names on the bill, along with M.I.A., the Breeders, Rilo Kiley, Sasha & Digweed, Cafe Tacuba and Fatboy Slim. The Raconteurs, the Verve, Jack Johnson, Kraftwerk, a reunion of Portishead and Prince would also topline the bill.
Roger Waters at Coachella: When pigs fly
Headliner Roger Waters of Pink Floyd re-creates the band’s trippy 1973 masterpiece “Dark Side of the Moon” on the festival’s main stage and sends a two-story inflatable prop pig above the desert sky during his set. The pig steals the show when it becomes a runaway and floats off into the sky sometime between his set and the days after. It touches down over two properties in nearby La Quinta, less than two miles from the Empire Polo Field, where the three-day event is held. The two couples that retrieve the pig receive $10,000 in reward money, which they donate to children’s music programs in their area. But they keep the four lifetime passes to future Coachella festivals.
Review: Moving head and heart
“The unifying mood Prince’s set promoted has been a relatively rare thing so far at Coachella 2008,” writes Times pop music critic Ann Powers. “Saturday’s other major main-stage artists, Kraftwerk and Portishead, both offered stirring sets that nonetheless remained in the realm of the esoteric.” As for Sunday, “head music took over much of the festival. The night built toward a dazzling, career-spanning performance by Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd composer and bassist, which included a full rendition of the ultimate ‘head’ album, 1973’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ ”
Stagecoach expands, diversifies
In its second year, Stagecoach adds a third day, with acts at their commercial zenith (Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood) and those at the start, such as 8-year-old fiddler Haydn Jones. “The talent lineup also tested the limits of what defines ‘country’ music. Its stylistic umbrella was broad enough to encompass the early 20th century African American string band music of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the avant-bluegrass of Sam Bush, the outlaw punk energy of Social Distortion leader Mike Ness and the sanitized pop with a twang of Rascal Flatts,” writes The Times’ Randy Lewis.
First fatality at Coachella
A 21-year-old La Mesa man who attended Coachella dies the Monday following the festival at an Indio hospital after being found unresponsive that morning. Benjamin Nicholas Muller had been at the festival with a group of friends who camped out at a private estate near the Empire Polo Field, rather than at the official Coachella campsite, which is staffed by public safety personnel and private emergency-response teams hired by Coachella’s promoter, Goldenvoice. According to officials there is no sign of foul play. Muller’s death is the first that to occur in conjunction with the festival. His cause of death was unreported.
Buy your tickets on layaway
The lineup for the 2009 Coachella is unveiled, with the festival going outside its typical youth-slanted demographic of alt-rock heroes by tapping iconic ex-Beatle Paul McCartney to headline. The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Amy Winehouse are also on the original bill, as are the Cure, Morrissey and My Bloody Valentine, three revered acts from the 1980s and 1990s British scene. Three-day passes go for $281, while single-day admission is $103. Coachella promoters also announce a layaway payment plan for the first time and heavily push the $55-per-person on-site camping option as area hotels routinely charge three times their normal rates.
Big pluses, a few minuses
The three days of Coachella, led by Paul McCartney’s festival-opening headlining slot, add up to 160,000 people, making it the third highest attendance in Coachella history, according to Goldenvoice head Paul Tollett. As expected, McCartney dominates the festival, thanks to a set that goes beyond 2 1/2 hours. The ex-Beatle reportedly goes over an estimated 50-plus minutes past the midnight music curfew, with an additional cost at $1,000 per minute. Meanwhile, Amy Winehouse ends up being a no-show because of visa problems.
Architecture in the spotlight
“The curator of Coachella’s art programs, Philip Blaine, commissioned a number of pavilions this year that straddled the line between architecture and installation art,” writes Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. “The short-term future of American cities, after all, involves lots of provisional and low-budget projects…. Leading the way in that regard were the talented L.A. architects Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, who worked with a group of students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture to create an imperfect but hugely charismatic Coachella installation called Elastic Plastic Sponge.”
Review: Sir Paul takes command
“Pigs didn’t fly this year — as they did last time around when [Roger] Waters’ giant inflatable animal prop took to the skies — but a Beatle did, delivering an unusually emotion-drenched 2 1/2 -hour performance Friday on the 11th anniversary of the death of his wife Linda,” writes The Times’ Randy Lewis. “This year’s other ‘60s legend, Leonard Cohen, had attendees swaying arm in arm just after sundown Friday, loudly singing his signature anthem, ‘Hallelujah.’ … The Killers’ gloriously tuneful, grand-scale rock closed out Saturday’s mainstage offerings on an especially celebratory note…. On Sunday, the Mexican Institute of Sound sizzled.”
A country cornucopia
“Two faces of contemporary country music stood in striking relief at the third edition of Stagecoach,” writes The Times’ Randy Lewis. “On one side, topping Saturday’s bill, was Brad Paisley, a self-professed music geek who has risen to the top…. At the other end, as Sunday’s headliner, was Kenny Chesney, who sells more concert tickets year in and year out than any other pop music act…. But along with those marquee names, Stagecoach served up a wealth of stellar stylistic torchbearers (Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Doyle Lawson) and brash mavericks who view rules as something to be broken, not followed (Maxim Ludwig, Randy Houser, the Duhks).”
Coachella lineup embraces youth movement
Coachella announces a youth-oriented lineup after several years of veteran acts. Gorillaz, Muse, Jay-Z, Thom Yorke, MGMT, Hot Chip, Spoon, Vampire Weekend and LCD Soundsystem top the bill, but there is still room for Woodstock icon Sly and the Family Stone, 1980s alt-rock group Echo and the Bunnymen and college-rock outfit Pavement. Single-day tickets are eliminated, with only a $269 three-day ticket offered; camping prices are decreased from $55 per person to $57 per slot, regardless of the number of campers; and in-and-out privileges are added. “I understand that every time you make a change it’s great for some people, and it’s not great for others,” Tollett tells The Times.
No single-day tickets, no problem
The elimination of single-day tickets doesn’t hurt. Again Coachella is a sellout and shatters previous attendance records. In its 11th year, the festival draws a record 75,000 people per day, up nearly 15,000 from 2009’s daily average. After Goldenvoice is hit with more than $50,000 in fines from Paul McCartney’s headlining slot in 2009, the company wins approval to extend Friday and Saturday curfews to 1 a.m.
Commentary: Jay-Z makes the blueprint
“Jay-Z’s most talked about Coachella performance might not have been his headlining set on Friday,” write The Times’ Margaret Wappler and August Brown. “Though the rapper’s triumphant hit parade overjoyed the tens of thousands of fans crowning the first night of their three-day odyssey of music, art and California desert vibes, spotting Jay’s sunglassed visage at the side-stage indie rock shows became a favorite game for the audience.”
Toby Keith shows nuance at Stagecoach
“Tradition-loving fans ensconced themselves in front of the Palomino Stage, where standard bearers such as Merle Haggard, Ray Price and Bobby Bare held forth on Saturday, while Sunday’s offerings extended from the searingly dark folk country of Mary Gauthier to the Band-influenced Avett Brothers to those country-gospel hit makers of yore, the Oak Ridge Boys,” writes The Times’ Randy Lewis. And “the most impressive thing about Toby Keith’s festival-closing performance Sunday at Stagecoach was the fact that he took the time in the middle of the set to string together several contemplative songs on a night when most fans would have been happy to spend the whole time on their feet whooping and hollering.”
Coachella changes up performer mix again
The lineup for the 2011 Coachella is unveiled, with a mix of chart toppers, indie darlings and hip-hop heavyweights. The Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, Black Keys, the Strokes, Cee Lo Green, Erykah Badu, Cage the Elephant, Wiz Khalifa, Lauryn Hill, Mumford & Sons are among the performers to hit the stage. Fans and detractors are excited by the announcement that the polarizing rapper Kanye West would close the festival.
New generation rises at Coachella
“Whatever you think of Kings of Leon’s blustery Tarzan rock, Arcade Fire’s gang-chorus earnestness or Kanye West’s ambitions for hip-hop and high-end furniture blogging, this much is undisputed about Coachella 2011: Roger Waters was nowhere in sight, nor was his flying pig,” write The Times’ August Brown and Margaret Wappler. “Other second-billed acts such as the Black Keys, Bright Eyes and the Strokes all caught their headwinds in the aughts too, and the hottest-tipped (but ultimately fraught) set of the undercard came from the L.A. teenage rap posse Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All.”
Review: Kanye doesn’t play it safe
“As theater, [Kanye] West’s Coachella set veered toward tragedy, with a song cycle that began with the artist drunk with power, followed him through heartbreak and concluded with a eulogy. As entertainment, West’s set was captivating, a festival performance unlike any other, and one that often showcased the artist and the artist alone on a minimal stage,” writes The Times’ Todd Martens. “It was a brave statement — a take-me-or-leave-me-type assertion with a carefully laid-out set list. This was far from playing it safe, as the Strokes had earlier done with a set that was heavy on past hits.”
World stage touches the Mane Stage
On Sunday night at the Mane Stage, where the vast majority of about 50,000 festival-goers are gathered, Rascal Flatts member Jay DeMarcus sings several songs before making a big announcement: Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan.
Coachella will be two weekends long
Organizers of the festival announce the bold decision to stage the 2012 Coachella festival as two identical concerts over consecutive three-day weekends in April, without conflicting with the Stagecoach Festival. They also planned to sell tickets some 10 months before the festival and months before any of the performing acts would be announced. Tickets, priced at $269 (plus service fees) for one weekend, would be available for one week. If any remained after the seven-day period, they would go on sale once the lineup was unveiled.
Festival mixes it up on the double
Coachella’s lineup for the first two-weekend festival is announced, with legendary rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg closing out the 2012 festival. Headliners include rock acts the Black Keys, Radiohead and the Shins, and a boom of electronic dance music spinsters including Swedish House Mafia, Kaskade, Calvin Harris and David Guetta. Brit-pop band Pulp, Mike and experimental Texas rockers At the Drive-In are among those using the Coachella stage as their comeback. In keeping with its long-standing tradition of offering buzzy up-and-comers, experimental R&B singer the Weeknd, sassy femcee Azealia Banks and dubstep beatmaker SBTRKT get slots.
Goldenvoice buys land in Indio
Goldenvoice announces that it has purchased 280 acres of land at the festival site in Indio. The purchase includes the Eldorado Polo Club, Triangle Bar Farms, Fish Creek and Ambassador Glen Holden’s property, which had in the past housed the festival’s camping and parking and is situated around and nearby the Empire Polo Club. Goldenvoice has yet to reveal its intentions for the space.
Tupac Shakur ‘hologram’ makes the scene
The 2012 Coachella festival features the same lineup over two weekends, from the Black Keys to Radiohead to Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. And there is the Tupac Shakur “hologram.” The weather is drastically different, with Weekend No. 1 having unprecedented inclement weather — including extreme wind, rain and temperatures that dip into the 40s at night. Five days later audiences bake in oven-like temperatures.
Stagecoach sells out in advance
The Stagecoach Country Music Festival sells out more than three months in advance, a first. The festival is expanded from the usual two days to three, for only the second time in its history. Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Martina McBride, the Band Perry, Kenny Rogers and Steve Martin are among the performers.
Chili Peppers, Blur keep it hot
For the first weekend of Coachella 2013, organizers turn to reunited Brit-pop act Blur and one of L.A. longest-running rock acts in the Red Hot Chili Peppers to anchor its 2013 festival. Blur will be joined be reunited countrymates the Stone Roses, rock act the Yeah Yeahs, legend Lou Reed, French pop band Phoenix and Trent Reznor’s How to Destroy Angels. The second weekend continues April 19-21 with the same lineup.
George Jones’ spirit lives on at Stagecoach
Just hours before Stagecoach 2013, country singer-songwriter George Jones died from respiratory failure at age 81. His spirit lived on in a collection of performances that weekend. Among the regulars such as Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley and Toby Keith, a crop of moonlighters including Norah Jones and Jeff Bridges made their way to the stage – with performances that surely pleased.
Outkast comes back; Coachella goes luxury
In a triumphant return, Andre 3000 and Big Boi of Outkast headlined Coachella 2014, and entertained the crowd with a performance fans hadn’t seen since 2007. The Atlanta duo were joined by English rock band Muse and indie rock band Arcade Fire. Besides the music, the festival certainly got an upgrade. Four-course dinners, $10 craft beer, and even a $1,500 round trip jet to and from the festival presented themselves for the taking.
‘Bro-country’ takes a turn at Stagecoach
With musical guests like Eric Church, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan — also known as “bro-country” — Stagecoach 2014 saw one of its highest-profile shows yet. It was a three-day weekend full of fusion, with pop, rock and even hip-hop influences amid country jingles. Newly minted Hunter Hayes leaned on Daft Punk-like robot voices, while rowdy duo Florida Georgia Line served up enough bass for a rap showdown. The takeaway was clear: Country music appeared to be in a state of change. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time.
Coachella will go classic rock
No-frills hard rock band AC/DC anchors the first night of Coachella, with Jack White and Drake following as headliners on Saturday and Sunday. The lineup for the two-weekend festival in the desert also includes Steely Dan, Belle & Sebastian, Florence & the Machine and more.
Sources: Los Angeles Times archives
Credits: Todd Martens, Gerrick Kennedy and Scott Sandell