By Eric Gasa
It’s that wonderous time of the year again for festivalgoers, the always highly contested and anticipated Coachella lineup has been announced and with it comes the collective cheers, gasps, and sighs of the hundreds of thousands of people who will be attending in the sweltering California desert heat this April 12-15 and 20-22.
With it comes the hierarchy of headliners, characterized by the big named fonts (the headliners and Beyoncés of this world), the heavy hitters (Post-Malone, Fleet Foxes) until you go all the way down to the bottom of the list and hit the sleeper agents (Mild High Club, Japanese Breakfast, Princess Nokia).
This year’s lineup shows an expectant shift towards hip-hop and R&B. The three headliners, The Weeknd, Beyoncé, and Eminem could’ve been a big hint, along with other top acts like Cardi B, Migos, SZA, and Vince Staples. As the streaming culture shifts in favor of hip-hop we’ll see more and more of this, but this doesn’t mean rock & roll has left the desert festival forever. Alt-rockers like St. Vincent, The War on Drugs, Fleet Foxes, and Angel Olsen still bill high in the lineup, each act featuring dazzling guitar chops and fills.
This year also marks Beyoncé’s first performance since her pregnancy in June of last year as well as the first time a black woman has headlined the event. Eminem also tops the third day as he hits the festival circuit in support of his newest album Revival. His last appearance at Coachella was back in 2012 with Dr. Dre. The Weeknd on the other hand has been touring nonstop since 2016. This year also marks his third and highest-ranking appearance at the festival as the day one headliner.
As the festival grows bigger each year, its often looked to as mainstream music’s tastemaker. Compare to Coachella’s lineup 10 years ago which featured Jack Johnson, Prince, and Roger Waters, 2018 is a year dominated by hip-hop and R&B hitmakers.