Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Coachella 2024 sees big-name stars triumph and new talent emerge

Illustration by Ziye Wang
Coachella delivered captivating performances from both big-name celebrities and rising stars for two weekends in April.

From college students to A-list celebrities, music lovers came together at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to watch show-stopping performances.

The festival’s two-weekend, 167-artist lineup included established stars like Lana Del Rey, Tyler, the Creator, Doja Cat and No Doubt while celebrating up-and-coming artists like Chappell Roan, Reneé Rapp and Victoria Monét.

Headliner performances place Coachella squarely on the cultural pulse, with lineup announcements promoted months in advance and an anticipated 200,000 fans from across the country in attendance.

Friday headliner Lana Del Rey has always been a scandal-ridden performer, from her ridiculed 2012 SNL performance to being half an hour late to her Glastonbury performance last year.

Her Friday night headlining set, however, shows why the singer-songwriter’s renown persists despite these setbacks — on stage, she is seasoned and moving, despite occasional pitch issues and mic difficulties.

Del Rey was followed on Saturday by Tyler, the Creator, who entered by flying through the air, maintaining upbeat energy throughout the performance with confident dance moves and a soaring stage presence. Impressively, the rapper’s onstage stunts and dance moves never affected the perfection of his vocals while singing his greatest hits.

Coachella perhaps saved its best headliner for last with Doja Cat on Sunday. While most Coachella performers showcase their biggest chart toppers and sing-along pop hits, Doja Cat omitted some of her most well-known songs, like “Say So,” from her setlist.

The artist favored a conceptually and sonically cohesive performance, emphasizing her new R&B direction and rapping repertoire by heavily leaning on songs from her 2023 album “Scarlet.”

The performance paints Doja Cat as a dynamic and powerful artist, unafraid of alienating her audience with her creative vision.

Coachella has always been a festival that celebrates and promotes up-and-coming artists. Despite this, the live audience of the 2024 Coachella perhaps too often seemed like they were only saving their seats for headliners throughout the performances of smaller acts, giving often dull reactions.

Nowhere was this more glaring than the Blur performance in the first weekend, where Damon Albarn, the band’s lead singer, told the silent crowd, “You’re never seeing us again so you might as well f***ing sing this.”

Another less-than-ideal Coachella set was Grimes’ disastrous first weekend performance. Most of the act was Grimes attempting to fix the glitch-ridden DJ set. Later that night, she apologized for “technical difficulties” on X, formerly known as Twitter.

She redeemed herself, however, during the festival’s second weekend with a performance so flawless that it almost begs the question if such a drastic improvement was possible in a week or if it was a genius PR move to set up the perfectly played-out redemption arc.

Sabrina Carpenter’s sunset mainstage performance marked an important step in her years-long rise, finding a larger audience after opening for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” this year and going viral for songs like “Nonsense” and “Feather.” Naturally charismatic, Carpenter effortlessly commands the stage, especially in her bubbly and vibrant performance of her newest single, “Espresso.”

Chappell Roan, a rising star who opened for Olivia Rodrigo’s “Guts” tour, delivered a notable Coachella performance. Her set was an unapologetic embodiment of queer joy with a confident command of an audience — especially in teaching her crowd a new dance move to her new song “HOT TO GO!”

Despite these notable performances, Coachella as a festival still seems lost in its own identity. The festival is struggling to recover its pre-pandemic monoculture momentum. While Coachella remains the largest and most anticipated music festival, its cultural presence is no longer as dominating as it was at its peak.

When 2024’s Coachella surprise guests no longer dominate X headlines, nor do the fans attend the festival to discover and support smaller acts, where does Coachella’s future lie?

Headliner Lana Del Rey told audience members at this Coachella’s opening weekend that she first performed at the festival 10 years ago, almost to the day. In a parallel sentiment, Sabrina Carpenter ended her second weekend at Coachella by singing “Coachella, see you back here when I headline.”

Perhaps this is the magic of Coachella — for two weekends a year, the world comes together to celebrate how far established stars have come and looks toward what newcomers could be.

Email: [email protected]
X: @Lavenderhuang_

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