Coachella 2024: 5 takeaways from the lineup and one crazy prediction

Coachella 2024: 5 takeaways from the lineup and one crazy prediction

The lineup for the 2024 edition of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival finally arrived Tuesday, delivering a trio – or maybe a quartet? – of headliners with deep Southern California ties one year after the festival featured artists from Puerto Rico and South Korea at the top of the bill.

Singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey headlines both Fridays of the festival held this year April 12-14 and April 19-21 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. Originally from the East Coast, her music has long had a hazy Southern California vibe, and she’s been based here for years now.

Rapper-singers Tyler, the Creator, who headlines Saturdays, and Doja Cat, who tops the bill on Sundays, were born and raised in Los Angeles and its surrounding communities.

ALSO SEE: Coachella 2024 lineup: Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator, Doja Cat — and No Doubt

And then there’s No Doubt, the much-loved Orange County band, which announced just before the lineup dropped that it would be reuniting to play for the first time in nearly a decade. When and where No Doubt plays isn’t yet clear – the lineup poster simply lists them in headliner-sized font at the bottom as “… and No Doubt.”

That’s a spot where Coachella often lists a late-night performance that takes place after one of the official headliners is finished, so stay tuned for more on that.

Dozens of other artists fill out the lineup as usual. We quickly scanned the names for highlights and trends for 2024 and soon settled on these 5 themes for 2024.

It’s a little smaller

Among the many hot takes on social media after the lineup dropped was this: The lineup poster didn’t look nearly as robust as it has in past years.

So we did what journalists try to avoid at all costs: Math.

In 2023, there were 166 acts on the Coachella poster. This year, the poster lists 147.

Which, assuming our math is correct, and there isn’t a late rush of additions to the lineup, means Coachella has approximately 11 percent fewer artists performing this year compared to last year.

Maybe more acts get added – Sunday looks particularly light – but performers also drop off the poster, too.

Still a big world

Last year, the booking of K-pop girl group Blackpink and Puerto Rican rapper-singer Bad Bunny as headliners drew, well, headlines. But just because Coachella is back to its Southern California roots for 2024 doesn’t mean the lineup is chockful of artists from around the globe.

Latin artists hold the significant second-billed spots on Friday – Mexican singer Peso Pluma, who’s career has soared over the last year – and Sunday – Colombian superstar J Balvin, who at Coachella in 2019 played the highest profile set of any Latin artist at the festival at the time.

ALSO SEE: The 2024 Coachella lineup has the internet divided

Asian and Asian American artists are also scattered across the lineup. The K-pop boy band Ateez plays Friday, and on Sunday, there’s a listing for 88Rising Futures, which might be a showcase for emerging acts from the 88Risiing label that also puts on the annual Head In The Clouds festival in Pasadena of artists of Asian backgrounds from around the world.

The Japanese duo Yaosobi, who were one of the biggest draws at Head In The Clouds in 2023, play Friday at Coachella. Atarashii Gakko! is on my early must-see list. The Japanese quartet have also played Head In The Clouds a few times, and their highly choreographed and very energetic sets – performed in Japanese school uniforms – are pure fun.

Other corners of the world also slipped into the lineup again this year. The French electronic disco group L’Imperatrice was a delightful surprise at Coachella in 2022. The French DJ Gesaffelstein has a has a prominent spot on the lineup, too, and the deeper you dig, the more the world is revealed.

 Under the rock

Coachella will never again be the rock festival it once was, but if you look closely, there are a good number of bands that fit that genre in 2024, especially if you’re willing to stretch rock’s boundaries a little.

Brittany Howard, lead singer and guitarist of the roots rock band Alabama Shakes, plays Fridays, as does the alternative metal band Deftones. The emo-ish Taking Back Sunday play on – well, c’mon, what other day could they possibly play?

The Brit-pop heroes Blur are back again, holding down the second-billed slot on Saturdays. I’m excited to check out the Scottish group Young Fathers, who opened for Depeche Mode in 2023 and mix together rap, electronic and rock into their work. The English female rock band the Last Dinner Party, which just played ALTer Ego fest is also a rising act worth checking out.

Hermanos Gutiérrez are an Ecuadorian-Swiss instrumental rock duo. And if you want to know what Jimi Hendrix might have sounded like if he’d been raised on the Tuareg guitar music of Northern Africa, well, don’t sleep on Mdou Moctar on Sundays.

Hip-hop, ya don’t stop

At first glance there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much rap in the lineup as in years past.

Sure, Doja Cat and Tyler, the Creator both are headliners, and Ice Spice and Lil Uzi Vert are third-billed on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

ALSO SEE: No Doubt hints at reunion just before Coachella announcement

But after that, well-known hip-hop artists aren’t that easy to find. Kevin Abstract of Brockhampton is back for a solo set on Saturdays, and given how packed the Coachella crowd was for Brockhampton’s farewell shows in 2022, he should draw well.

Then you’ve got Lil Yachty on Sunday,  and … well, there are a few more, here and there, but none of the fame of those already named here.

Strange and beautiful

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One of the joys of each Coachella is spending time with performers who don’t fit neatly into boxes. The Houston trio Khruangbin, for instance, play mostly instrumental rock, but it’s transcendent in a floating-in-space kind of way.

New Orleans pianist and singer Jon Batiste is not a particularly expected choice for Coachella, but I’m betting he’ll be fantastic, and you’ll be glad you caught his set.

Hatsune Miku will be equally special, at least as long as there isn’t a power outage. Miku is a 16-year-old Japanese pop star who is – let me check my notes – virtual. As in not a real person, but a simulation.

Pop singer Sabrina Carpenter might be the first Disney Channel star to be booked to play Coachella. Which raises the question why have haven’t Miley Cyrus or Justin Timberlake or, heck, even Britney Spears, made it there yet?

And then there’s Clown Core, two guys who wear bad clown masks, play the drums, keyboards and saxophone, and recorded their music video for “Hell” inside a Port-a-Potty. These are the weirdos I am looking for, and I’ll be there with on Friday afternoon.

A bold prediction

Taylor Swift is gonna be at Coachella this year.

Stop laughing.

The theory works like this: Coachella falls during a break in her Eras Tour. Her frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff is playing Coachella on Saturdays with his band Bleachers. She also collaborated with Del Rey on the song “Snow on the Beach” off her 2022 album, “Midnights.”

And Ice Spice, with whom Taylor collaborated on a remix of “Karma” last year, and she also brought out for a guest spot at three Eras shows, too, is also playing Saturdays.

“We talk all the time,” Ice Spice told People magazine last summer.

So, c’mon, it has been foretold. By me, sure, and I ain’t no Nostradamus. But the opportunity is there.

Maybe she doesn’t perform. But she’s gonna be on the grounds. Write it down.