Coachella 2016: 10 Things We Can't Wait For

Coachella Astronaut 2016
 Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella

Escape Velocity art installation by Poetic Kinetics is seen during day 3 of the 2014 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 20, 2014 in Indio, Calif. 

In the increasingly stuffed music festival market, Coachella still reigns king. The Indio, CA, desert fest sets the mark for headliners, fashion and temperatures very high.

With the first of two weekends of Coachella 2016 nearly upon us, these are 10 of the things Billboard is looking forward to.

Guns N’ Roses 

Big-ticket reunions are the theme with 2016's Coachella headliners. First off, there’s the “classic” Guns N’ Roses lineup -- Axl, Slash and Duff -- playing just their fourth show back together. They tested out their sound at a 500-capacity club show in L.A. earlier this month, but as smoothly as that went, rocking the sprawling Coachella crowd Saturday (April 16) night will be a different beast entirely. To complicate matters, Axl Rose recently broke his foot and will be performing from the same rock star throne Dave Grohl used with Foo Fighters last year. 

Guns N' Roses Rock Las Vegas Reunion Show Despite Axl's Broken Foot


Considering its proximity to Los Angeles, Coachella attracts hundreds of scenesters who are there as much to see music as they are to be seen. And there's nothing wrong with that! Half the fun of the fest is keeping a running Fashion Police commentary going in your head. There are those who dress up, those who dress up and then proceed to get covered in dust and mud, and those who wear the bare minimum of clothing and the maximum amount of body paint. Plus, given the amount of dust blowing through the air, Coachella is one of the few places you can wear a bandanna across your mouth for hours and not look like an a-hole.


Ice cream-stuffed donuts, grilled cheese stacked with mozzarella sticks, deep-fried Oreos, fries topped with crab -- if you want to destroy your beach body before it's even summer, Coachella has got you covered. If you're looking for healthier eating options, though, don't worry -- it's a California festival! Of course there are vegan, gluten-free and other generally healthy options. That being said, one monster s'more probably won't ruin your life.

LCD Soundsystem

If you got your Coachella ticket thinking you’d be seeing LCD Soundsystem’s first reunion show, well, you’ll have to settle for fourth. The New York City dance punks played a pair of surprise hometown club shows (and one in Pomona, Calif., on April 11), but Coachellians are still in for a treat. The seven-person band really needs a massive stage and…er…sound system to do it justice, and the Friday night crowd will get to hear standards like “All My Friends” and “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” in all their analog synth glory. And frontman James Murphy has promised new music for 2016; perhaps they’ll get to hear some of it?

Calvin Harris

After Kaskade drew record crowds with last year's main stage set, the dance music world is eager to see how Calvin Harris will wear the mantle of the festival's first DJ headliner. Expect plenty of pyrotechnics and surprise guests. There's a conspicuous hole in Rihanna's touring schedule, so could an onstage "We Found Love" reunion be in the works? Ditto for Ellie Goulding, with whom the Scottish artist has a collaboration in the works.

Celebrity Spotting

Coachella has it all. Whether you're looking for reality TV stars (Bravolebrities and Kardashian-Jenners are usually there) or pop stars (Katy Perry and Rihanna have both attended before) to gawk at, the fact that the fest is driving distance from L.A. ensures you'll have plenty of opportunities to surreptitiously Snapchat celebrities over the course of the weekend.

Neon Carnival

Per the previous point, there's nowhere better to spot member of the A-list than the annual Saturday night carnival bonanza. The exclusive, all-night after-party regularly draws a diverse band of celebrities, such as Rihanna, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber, with its festive atmosphere and ceaseless dance beats. It's one of the hardest doors in Palm Springs that weekend though (reportedly denying Kendall Jenner last year), so good luck getting on the list! 

Bat For Lashes

After a couple years away, Natasha Khan revives her mystical gypsy persona as Bat For Lashes. A new album called The Bride is due July 1, and Coachella will be the first chance for U.S. fans to catch new songs like “In God’s House” in a live setting. The album finds Khan telling the story of a woman embarking on a honeymoon alone after her fianc√© is killed in a car crash en route to their wedding. Knowing her penchant for spellbinding alt-pop storytelling, this is one worth marking the schedule for. 


From the Do LaB to aerialists to past favorites like that massive floating astronaut, Coachella does a great job of commissioning art each year that's interactive and unusual. Most of the 2016 artists haven't fully revealed what they're planning for Coachella this year, but you can get a sense of the minds behind the fest's trippy, colorful art here. 


We've been following this gifted R&B up-and-comer for quite some time now, so we're excited to see his coming out party on the Coachella stage. In what could be a defining performance for the ascendant singer, expect plenty of soulful offerings from his recently released debut album Ology, as well as the potential for marquee special guests. After all, he counts the likes of Elton John, Seal and Sufjan Stevens among his admirers and collaborators.

Coachella 2016


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