Ahead of its return this weekend, look back on the most memorable Coachella sets so far.


After cancelling a scheduled 2017 set, Beyoncé’s headline slot the following year was one of Coachella’s most hotly anticipated performances – not to mention the fact that she was the first (and very long overdue) black woman to headline.

Of course, she delivered a high-octane performance opening with ’00s classic “Crazy In Love”, including appearances from Solange and Destiny’s Child. The whole set was so iconic the internet renamed the festival “Beychella” and Netflix have made a whole documentary on it, which will premiere on 17 April this year.

For vintage Coachella Beyoncé, look back on her joining Jay Z on stage in 2010, wearing the most Coachella outfit you’ve ever seen (check: fedora, denim short shorts, cowgirl boot wellies…)

Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre resurrect Tupac.

“What the fuck is up, Coachella?”

Tupac Shakur was back. More than 15 years after his death, the legendary West Coast rapper was reincarnated as a hologram to join Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s headline set.

The digital recreation performed “2 of Americaz Most Wanted” with Snoop, in a performance that inevitably garnered mixed reviews and apprehension about the powers of technology, but will undoubtedly go down in history.

The Pixies sell out the desert

Having performed at the festival in 2004, American alt-rock band the Pixies had taken an 11-year hiatus before they reunited at Coachella in 2014, concluding a 16-date North American Club tour.

The festival had already earned a reputation for staging epic reunions – remember that Rage Against the Machine comeback in 2007? – but this time the last minute addition to the line-up resulted in Coachella’s first sell-out event.

The greatest hip-hop set of all time

We could only be talking about Kanye (old Kanye).

In 2011, West became one of the first hip-hop acts to headline the festival. After flying over the audience and working his way through the crowd onto the stage, he closed the festival with a theatrical 26-track set – featuring “Power” and “Gold Digger”, “Stronger” and “Runaway”, “Heartless” and “Good Life” – as well as guest performances from collaborators Pusha T and Justin Vernon.

Rumour has it Kanye will be returning to the festival this year – not as a headliner, an offer he reportedly declined after Coachella refused to build him a dome to perform in – but with his recurring gospel event “Sunday Service”. Stay tuned for North West‘s festival debut…

Daft Punk sparked a new era of electronic music

Back in 2006, elusive French duo Daft Punk performed a now-legendary Sahara Tent set that immediately sent them mainstream in America, as well as catalysing the late ’00s explosion of EDM music.

Over 40,000 people attempted to cram into a tent designed for 10,000 to experience a medley of their greatest hits, as well as the light shows and epic production design that are now so integral to live electronic music.

When you’re Prince, you can sing what you want

In January 2008, Coachella announced its lineup for the year. It was strong as ever – there was Jack Johnson and the Verve, Portishead and Pink Floyd bassist Roger Walters – but many had been hoping for a headline set from Prince, who’d been rumoured to play the festival for a few years.

A few weeks before it took place, Coachella’s organisers sent festival goers into a frenzy with confirmation that Prince would, in fact, be performing. But never one to conform to expectations, Prince suprised everyone with an eclectic range of covers in his setlist including “The Glamorous Life” by Sheila E, who joined him on stage, to Radiohead’s “Creep”, The Beatles’ “Come Together” and three Santana songs.

This weekend…

This weekend, Coachella’s set to provide us with a few more timeless performances – even for those of us (most of us) who can’t afford to witness them IRL.

Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala will headline along with all-round woman of the year Ariana Grande and Childish Gambino – who’s forthcoming film Guava Island will also premiere during the first weekend of the festival, and be live-streamed via Coachella’s Youtube channel.

If that’s not already enough excitement to cope with, remember this: Guava Island features Rihanna. Does this mean she’ll be joining Gambino on stage, or – bless our beating hearts – performing a surprise set?

Dig out your flower crowns and crack open the canned wine – you’re not going to want to miss this.

Featured Image
Rosie Byers

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