If there was ever a signal that Coachella needed to move on from its role as America’s biggest alternative/indie rock destination, it was during the headliner sets from last year’s festival. Pop firecracker Lady Gaga drew a horde that nearly filled the main stage viewing area, with hip-hop titan Kendrick Lamar attracting nearly the same amount of revelers. And Radiohead? Rock’s most respected outfit barely filled half that space with bodies—a remarkable drop in enthusiasm from its Coachella audiences in 2012 and 2004. It also underscored the generational shift in musical interests as the festival entered its late teens.
Now, for its 19th edition, the country’s biggest recurring music event—which will take place 20 minutes southeast of Palm Springs on April 13-15 and April 20-22—has dispensed with a rock headliner for the first time ever. Instead, it will top its substantial 2018 program with R&B phenom The Weeknd, hip-hop veteran Eminem—his first official appearance at Coachella (he guested during Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s 2012 headlining performance)—and pop powerhouse Beyoncé, who will make up last year’s cancellation due to pregnancy.
They’ll be joined by hip-hop heavy hitters such as Vince Staples, Tyler the Creator and Migos; pop favorites like SZA, Miguel and Haim; and electronic/dance giants like Kygo and Odesza. And yes, higher up on the poster are some choice alternative-rock acts, such as St. Vincent, Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs and A Perfect Circle.
Critic favorites like King Krule, Angel Olsen and Big Thief also appear on the bill, as do the usual complement of underground DJs—The Black Madonna, Chris Liebling, Black Coffee and Jamie Jones, among others. Jazz enthusiasts score with Kamasi Washington, Latin music fans get Los Ángeles Azules. And for the throwback crowd, veterans Jean-Michel Jarre, David Byrne and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers add some depth to the lineup.
Passes for both weekends of the three-day festival go on sale at noon Friday, January 5 at coachella.com, priced at $429 for general admission and $999 for VIP.