Newsflash: Coachella Weekend 1 Happened And You Missed It

Emma Neveux

It’s that time of the year again, and sunny California is roaring in the desert with its iconic Coachella festival. While the initial artist lineup and headliners announcement didn’t seem to have convinced people as much as usual, let me tell you that the real highs of this festival are the surprises that come along with it - and this year they did not disappoint. Maybe it all was to compensate for that initial less enthusiastic public reaction to it, but who cares, end result: it was memorable.   

Okay let’s hash out quickly the lows, to end on a high note. I’m saying the lows, but it’s still something you would’ve liked to witness. Grimes' failed performance, which if you want my opinion was borderline funny. The key of a good festival experience, is to also witness the most crazy unexpected events, and this performance was definitely one for the books. In case you missed it: Grimes experienced equipment malfunction in front of thousands of people at the famous Sahara Tent and started yelling into her mic trying to explain her frustration. While she did experience tech difficulties, the story behind them is that she relied solely on outsourcing the process of Rekordbox BPMs and had someone else set up her track list for herself, without apparently trying it out before the show. While this scandal highlighted Grimes inability to match up tempos and readjust her track list on the go, it also shed light on higher issues regarding the over-reliance on tech clashing with artistic process.

Now that this unpleasant, yet distracting moment is passed us, let’s get into the real highs of this first Coachella weekend. From spectacular performances, impressive stage productions and emblematic guest appearances – the 2024 Coachella edition started off strong. 

First up let’s cover some of this year’s headliners’ performances. Lana Del Rey returns to the festival stage after a decade and performed a performance faithful to herself and her grand persona, which left all of her fans wanting for some more. Her surprise duet with Billie Eilish really topped it off and showcased this powerful partnership representing powerful women artists. 

While Lana’s performance was a stunning musical experience, Tyler The Creator turned up the heat with an explosive show that definitely woke up anyone that was exhausted by the end of the night. A complete production stage setup including a canyon, robotic yaks, explosions of sparks and smoke, and more. His epic entry set the tone for his perfectly executed 80 minute performance that combined passionate and intense artistic performance along with humoristic and down to earth intermission talks. In case this was not grand enough, he made sure to bring along with him on stage, emblematic guests such as Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino), A$AP Rocky Charlie Wilson, and Kali Uchis.

Now let me make you really drool on the exceptional guests that blessed the crowd with their appearances. Starting off with Shakira who was brought on stage by the Argentinian DJ Bizzarap.  I mean when is the last time that Shakira made your hips move LIVE. While already shocking the crowd by her simple appearance, she topped it off by announcing her upcoming world tour, so eyes out for those tickets. 

Following up on iconic comebacks to the stage, the return of No Doubt with Gwen Stefani was unexpectedly joined by Olivia Rodrigo. Classic, pop, and fun.

Another unexpected turn to the show was Kesha’s surprise performance with Rene Rapp, giving a whole new spin to her classic hit “TikTok.” Iconic performance as Kesha made a very clear statement to P.Diddy, from who she claims has endured both physical and sexual abuse by changing openly the lyrics to her song to “Wake up in the morning like fuck P.Diddy.” I’ll leave this here, the moment was pretty memorable and I think the message is clear. No need for any further comments.

Let’s close up this roundup with a legendary guest appearance that kept everyone on their toes. Of course I am talking about the unexpected duo of Will Smith and J Balvin that simply crushed anyone’s expectations. Will Smith made an epic entrance during the UFO themed inspired performance, dressed full on “Men in Black,” rapping on the iconic 1997 song while flashing the crowd with a Neuralyzer - the device used by agents in the iconic Men In Black movie, to wipe off the memory of people after encountering aliens. Yes, this happened and the performance was spot on. It definitely lived up to his emblematic character.

The first Coachella weekend definitely brought some heat for people to talk about, so let’s see if weekend two will live up to it.  

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