The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is just around the corner! Coachella is so big that this year it added a SECOND weekend to accommodate the people that want to attend the festival. Thousands will flock to Indio, California from April 14th to 23rd for music from the world’s hottest acts. Having started in part as a reaction to a dispute between Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster, the huge music and arts festival is now in its 18th year. Despite backlash over the link between Philip Anschutz—the owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the company that runs Coachella—and ultra-conservative, anti-gay foundations, over one hundred and fifty artists are playing the festival and tickets were sold out months before the festival opens.
Here are some popular big acts and rising stars to look out for at this year’s festival!
Lady Gaga - Saturday, April 15th & 22nd
Lady Gaga’s been putting out hits and wowing crowds since her 2008 album The Fame, which featured tracks that are still popular to this day, like “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.” Her albums since then—The Fame Monster (2009), Born This Way (2011), and Artpop (2013)—have all been massive successes, reaching #1 in the United States. In 2016 she released Joanne, which again topped the charts. When Beyoncé backed out of Coachella 2017, Lady Gaga was replaced as a headliner. Bad news for Beyhive members, but good news for Lady Gaga’s fans, the Little Monsters! But really, everyone should be excited because Lady Gaga is a master performer. Remember her Superbowl performance this past February? Don’t miss her at Coachella!
Radiohead - Friday, April 14th & 21st
Formed in 1985 and STILL GOING STRONG, Radiohead reached worldwide fame after the release of “Creep” in 1992. Since then they’ve had a string of commercially and critically successful albums. Their music can be described as alternative rock, but within that large umbrella, their albums have been influenced by a wide range of musical styles, from krautrock to techno to hip hop to wall of sound. Their 2016 release, A Moon Shaped Pool, was an art rock album that combines a variety of sounds, including drum machines, synthesizers, and choral arrangements. These guys are living legends. Don’t miss them!
Kendrick Lamar - Sunday, April 16th & 23rd
Arguably the hottest rapper on the planet right now, potentially competing with Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar has been making music since his teens. The Compton rapper gained major recognition with his 2012 major-label debut good kid, m.A.A.d city with the hit “Swimming Pools (Drank).” He followed up good kid, m.A.A.d city with 2015’s critically acclaimed album To Pimp A Butterfly. He recently released a new single—“The Heart Part 4”—and is expected to debut his fourth album in April, so expect him to play some of the new tracks at Coachella. If his blistering performances of “m.A.A.d city” with Imagine Dragons at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards and “The Blacker The Berry” and “Alright” at the 58th Grammy’s are an indication of his live shows, you will not want to miss him!
Bon Iver - Saturday, April 15th & 22nd
Bon Iver reached international fame with the album For Emma, Forever Ago from 2007 and the breakout hit “Skinny Love.” Last September, Bon Iver released their third studio album 22, A Million and have been touring songs from that ever since. Although sonically distant from the For Emma, Forever Ago, the album contains the similar melancholic pondering. Justin Vernon, the singer-songwriter behind Bon Iver, is an amazing live performer, so it’s sure to be a good show!
Future - Saturday, April 15th & 22nd
Not to be confused with Odd Future, the hip hop collective from Los Angeles, Future from Atlanta has been steadily gaining traction in the hip hop community since his debut album Pluto in 2012. Over the past year he’s released three mixtapes: EVOL, FUTURE, and HNDRXX, all debuting at number one on the Billboard Top 200 albums in the United States. From Atlanta, Future’s trap style of rap music features auto-tune. Check out “Turn On The Lights” to get a sense of his vibe. He’s sure to bring the intensity to Coachella. Get excited!
New Order - Sunday, April 16th & 23rd
New Order formed in 1980 out of the ashes of Joy Division, after the group’s singer’s suicide. Since then they’ve put out 10 studio albums and influenced hundreds of other bands and musicians such as The Chemical Brothers, The Killers, and Moby. Pretty much every electronic, techno, rock band today owes some respect to New Order. They mixed early techno/synth with post-punk guitar riffs to pioneer a new sound in new wave. Early hits include “Blue Monday,” “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and “Regret.” In 2015 they put out Music Complete, which featured the single “Restless.” Unlike other bands that have been around for decades, the original lineup is still intact and touring today, save for Peter Hook. Honestly, these legends of new wave should not be missed!
Tove Lo - Sunday, April 16th & 23rd
Hailing from Sweden, Tove Lo skyrocketed to fame in 2014 with her sleeper hit “Habits (Stay High).” The singer-songwriter has been enormously busy since then, writing songs for artists like Ellie Goulding (“Love Me Like You Do”) and Hilary Duff (“Sparks”) as well as films like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (“Scream My Name”) and Fifty Shades Darker (“Lies In The Dark”). In October of 2016, she released her most recent album Lady Wood. “Cool Girl,” the lead single off Lady Wood, was partially inspired by the book/film Gone Girl. It’s synthy, it’s poppy, it’s dark, as with much of Tove Lo’s music.
Hans Zimmer - Sunday, April 16th & 23rd
Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking “who is Hans Zimmer?” You may not know the name, but you’ve DEFINITELY heard the music if you’ve watched The Lion King, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, The Dark Knight Trilogy, any of The Pirates of the Caribbean films, and many, many more. So yes, you’ve most likely heard Hans Zimmer’s music, unless you’ve been living under a rock. His scores are known for their sweeping and integrating electronic sounds into traditional orchestral scores. Look no further than “The Dream Is Collapsing” from the Inception soundtrack for evidence of this. If you’re going to Coachella, you really must stop by the Hans Zimmer performance. Watching a modern-day master composer conduct his classics with full orchestra under the Californian sun will be a unique experience!
Liberty Park Music’s RISING STAR PICKS
Downtown Boys - Saturday, April 15th & 22nd
Downtown Boys (a play off the saying “uptown girls”) broke onto the Providence, Rhode Island punk scene in 2011. Singing in both Spanish and English, the East coast punks do an amazing cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark.” They reached wide acclaim in 2015 with the release of their second full-length album Full Communism and have recently signed to Sub Pop records. Hopefully that means another album in the near future. For now, we have a newly released single “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas),” which translates to “We’re Elegant (We’re Not Dumb).” They’re amazing live, so if you’re in the mood for some loud, patriarchy-shattering, anti-fascist, anti-capitalist punk, check them out!
Hinds - Sunday, April 16th & 23rd
Originally named Deer, the Spanish indie rock band had to change their name to Hinds (which means female deer) in 2014 to avoid legal action. If you’re into garage, lo-fi rock (e.g. Black Lips, The Strokes, Mac DeMarco) don’t miss this band! Their 2014 Demo, featuring only two tracks (“Bamboo” and “Trippy Gum”), was so popular that it attracted the attention of established music magazines like NME. Since then, they’ve toured internationally and put out their debut full length album—Leave Me Alone—in 2015. They’ve just begun production on a new album, so expect them to play some new tracks, as well as popular ones from Leave Me Alone, like “Garden.”
Mitski - Saturday, April 15th & 22nd
During her time studying music at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, Mitski released her first two albums, but it was after graduating that she released her third album—Bury Me at Makeout Creek—which earned her much acclaim from publications like Pitchfork, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone. In June of 2016, Mitski released her fourth album Puberty 2, which featured standout tracks like “I Bet on Losing Dogs,” “Your Best American Girl,” and “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars.” Her music deals with love, depression, and racial identity, and mixes a variety of genres, from tracks trending more towards dream pop to surf punk to folk.
Mac DeMarco - Friday, April 14th & 21st
Mac DeMarco is from Canada, but his music sounds much more like California slacker rock, blending influences from guitarists of all genres (folk, glam rock, indie, etc.). He’s one of the hottest indie rock acts of the decade with hits like “Ode to Viceroy” and “My Kind of Woman.” His most recent album—his Old Dog—hasn’t come out yet, but two singles—“My Old Man” and “This Old Dog”—have been released. Expect him to play more tracks off the new album at Coachella. Playful and charismatic, Mac DeMarco is infectious on stage. His act is one I wouldn’t miss if you’re into indie rock.
Tacocat - Friday, April 14th & 21st
Tacocat is the feel-good pop punk band of Seattle. They use catchy riffs and sarcastic lyrics to address themes like catcalling, menstruation, and seasonal affective disorder. Although founded in 2007, they gained popularity following their second full-length album NVM and hits like “Crimson Wave” and “Bridge To Hawaii.” A domestic and international tour quickly followed, and the band was tapped to record the theme song to the 2016 Powerpuff Girls reboot. Just last April, they released their third album Lost Time, which features the characteristically quirky tracks like “I Hate The Weekend.” I’ve been to their live shows and I can tell you: they love to have a good time and make sure their audience is having a good time.
S U R V I V E - Saturday, April 15th & 22nd
Have you watched Stranger Things, the Netflix original series about a group of kids who stumble upon a government conspiracy concerning another dimension? If not, rectify that now. Go watch Stranger Things. Or at least watch the Stranger Things opening credits. Does it give you the chills? That music was composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, the founders of SURVIVE—an instrumental synth band from Austin, Texas. Ever since Stranger Things debuted in 2016, SURVIVE has been gaining popularity around the country. As such, they’ve been booking shows across the U.S., from Joshua Tree to Atlanta, Buffalo to Seattle.
Crystal Castles - Friday, April 14th & 21st
In 2014, I thought Crystal Castles were dead! The electronic duo of vocalist/lyricist Alice Glass and instrumentalist/producer Ethan Kath, after three critically-acclaimed albums, split due to creative differences. Then, like a phoenix out of ash, Ethan Kath put out a new track—“Frail”—with a new singer Edith Frances. Crystal Castles released their album Amnesty (I) in August, but there’s a distinct Alice-Glass-shaped hole in the tracks. And while I’m not sure if Edith Frances can dominate a live show like Alice Glass could, the tracks Ethan Kath has produced for Amnesty (I) are still of the highest caliber. If you’re in the mood for some aggressive electronica, check them out!
Whitney - Sunday, April 16th & 23rd
The Chicago indie rock band formed in 2015, but have quickly risen to acclaim with the release of their first full length album Light Upon the Lake in June. They’ve since toured domestically and internationally. Described as “Bon Iver, with elements of folk and country, only given a Chicago soul makeover” by Paul Lester of the Guardian, Whitney blend psychedelic rock with country soul in a way that is unique and captivating. Check out their singles “No Woman” and “No Matter Where We Go.”
There are over a hundred and fifty acts at Coachella this year! This list is a mere smattering of the awesome music you’ll hear if you’re out there. It’s impossible to see all the acts, but that’s the beauty of a music festival: all around you is music. Walk and discover musicians you’ve never heard before. If you’re going, check out some of these acts and let us know how they are!
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About Liberty Park Music
LPM is an online music school. We teach a variety of instruments and styles, including classical and jazz guitar, piano, drums, and music theory. We offer high-quality music lessons designed by accredited teachers from around the world. Our growing database of over 350 lessons come with many features—self-assessments, live chats, quizzes etc. Learn music with LPM, anytime, anywhere!