The 15th annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicked off Friday, April 11, in Indio, and a weekend full of surprised guests and cutting edge performances solidified another year of the festival’s reputation as the go-to concert event for music fans and celebrities alike.
Ninety degree heat, dust storms and gusty winds continued throughout the weekend, but did not seem to put a damper on the spirits of the crowd or performers.
Friday night saw one the most highly anticipated acts, and by far the biggest reunion of this year’s festival with OutKast taking over the main stage. Opening with the spastic “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad),” the newly reunited duo ran through a set of crowd-pleasing hits including “Rosa Parks,” “ATLiens” and “Elevators” before bringing out special guests Future and Janelle Monáe.
Girl Talk, the mashup driven project from producer Greg Gillis, had the crowd in a frenzy with his set that included guest appearances by E-40, Too Short, Juicy J and concluded with Busta Rhymes performing his verse from the hit “Look at me Now.”
Saturday saw a continuing trend of special guest performers with Pharrell Williams’ set on the festival’s Outdoor Theatre stage. Williams brought out Gwen Stefani to perform her hit “Hollaback Girl,” which was produced by Williams’ production team, The Neptunes. In addition to Stefani, Williams was joined on stage by Nelly, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes to perform a cavalcade of hits spanning the iconic producer and burgeoning solo artist’s career.
Muse headlined the night with a solid set including their hits “Knights of Cydonia,” “Madness” and a cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium,” which singer Matt Bellamy dedicated to “a man who died 20 years ago.”
Nas closed out the Outdoor Theatre stage with a special set. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the New York rapper performed his historic 1994 debut album Illmatic in its entirety to the California desert crowd, before bringing out Jay-Z to perform “Dead Presidents II” and “Where I’m From,” in what will surely become a classic Coachella moment.
Sunday saw inspired performances by Beck, Calvin Harris and Neutral Milk Hotel before Grammy Award-winning Arcade Fire closed out the festival.
The celebrities were not only found on stage, but also many roamed the polo fields checking out their favorite musical acts. Paul McCartney was seen dancing on stage during Girl Talk’s set, and Beyonce joined her little sister Solange on stage to dance to Solange’s song “Losing You.”
This first weekend of the festival was being live-streamed on YouTube, while the second weekend can be seen on the AXS channel.
The sold-out Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival continues next weekend, April 18 through 20, with an identical lineup. While Goldenvoice, the festival’s promoter, tries to keep the two weekends as alike as possible, it remains to be seen whether or not the second weekend will have the same star-power as the first.
According to weather forecasts, patrons of the festival’s second weekend should see similar temperatures to the first weekend, without gusty winds.