Music lovers, hold on to your flower crowns. This year’s Coachella Valley Arts & Music festival, held in Indio, California, boasts a diverse, high-quality lineup that should delight fans of any genre. Over the weekends of April 10-12 and April 17-19, the Empire Polo Club will host a mix of big names, classic favorites and critically acclaimed smaller acts. Whether you’re an EDM devotee, a hip-hop enthusiast or a discerning indie listener, this year’s festival will have something for you.
The headlining acts are an excellent reflection of Coachella’s prestige and aesthetic scope. AC/DC, who will play both Fridays, is somewhat of a surprising choice. Despite their relative maturity, they should provide a great live performance. Jack White, who headlines Saturday, is coming off a string of excellent appearances at other high-profile festivals. His turn onstage should be memorable thanks to his virtuosic guitar work and selections from his widely lauded 2014 album, “Lazaretto.” Drake, one of the festival’s biggest names, will be playing Sunday. Expect tracks from his wildly successful recent release “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” and potential previews of his forthcoming album, “Views from the 6”.
In the past, the festival has been criticized for shifting towards the mainstream. This year’s lineup has its fair share of recognizable acts – think Hozier, David Guetta and The Weeknd – but they are balanced by a wealth of smaller artists with cult followings and excellent reputations. Listen for the spunky, vulnerable vocals of former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis, whose latest solo effort has drawn raves. Mac DeMarco, a Canadian artist famed for his eminently chill brand of “slacker rock,” is also set to play. On Saturday, don’t miss Father John Misty, the cynical, introspective folk project led by former Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman, or The War on Drugs, a guitar-driven group whose instrumental mastery and uncanny ability to translate emotion into sound are nothing short of magical. If you’re a fan of that genre-defying grey area between indie and electronica, check out Glass Animals, Chet Faker or Toro Y Moi. Thanks to the sheer depth and quality of this year’s lineup, it’s more than likely that you’ll end up falling in love with an act you’ve never heard of.
This year, Coachella offers ample opportunities to broaden your musical horizons. But if you’re simply looking for a good time, you’ll have no trouble finding one. A selection of buzzed-about rap and EDM shows should prove to be barn-burners. Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, Ab-Soul, Tyler the Creator and Action Bronson round out a strong hip-hop/R&B cohort led by Drake and the Weeknd. If raging is your primary objective, DJ Snake, Flosstradamus, Clean Bandit, What So Not and RAC are the shows to see. The name “Coachella” carries with it a good amount of prestige, but it’s also synonymous with “party of epic proportions.” Over the festival’s two weekends, festivalgoers will get many chances to let loose to the tune of some excellent music.
In comparison to years past, the 2015 lineup is particularly strong. Its blend of big names, lesser-known darlings and overall aesthetic breadth will make this year’s festival one to remember. Whether you’re a neon-clad, flower-crowned raver or the most discerning critic, make your way to Indio this April. The scene, the experience and, most of all, the music will not disappoint.
Contact Clare Flanagan at ckflan ‘at’ stanford.edu.