2020 Grammys

Coachella 2020 Lineup: 10 Immediate Reactions

Courtesy Photo
Frank Ocean

On Thursday night (Jan. 2), months of Coachella rumors and speculation were put to rest when the 2020 lineup was revealed in full. Rage Against The Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean will lead what looks like a particularly impressive bill when the double-weekend festival kicks off in Indio, Calif. on Apr. 10.

Trying to parse through the dozens of artist names in order to spot a few trends, surprises and omissions? Here are 10 of our takeaways from a first pass at the Coachella 2020 lineup:

1. Frank Ocean is a Great Get. 

There’s a reason why attendees of last year’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival booed Drake, one of the biggest superstars in the world, when he arrived as Tyler, The Creator’s surprise guest: they were expecting a certain elusive, enigmatic R&B genius instead. Not to take anything away from the two other strong headliners, but since Rage Against The Machine will play a handful of smaller reunion shows before Coachella and Scott has been headlining other festivals in recent months, Ocean’s appearance will be this year’s must-see event. Now let’s hope our hero doesn’t cancel the appearance, as he’s done in the past at other fests.

2. Three Headliners, But No Women.

After night-capping stints by Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Ariana Grande in consecutive years, Coachella will not have any women headlining for the first time since 2016 -- a fact that you will likely see pointed out on social media a few times over the next three months. This is especially noticeable because Lana Del Rey -- a beloved star coming off her most critically-adored album, who’s played the fest in the past and happens to be the living embodiment of its vibe -- is listed in a runner-up slot on the 2020 poster. Will Lana ever be a Coachella headliner? Maybe; hopefully. It won’t be in 2020, though.

3. BIGBANG Will Continue K-Pop’s Coachella Run.

After BLACKPINK’s performance became one of the biggest news stories of Coachella 2019, the influential South Korean group BIGBANG similarly ends up on the second line of the festival’s poster. And this is not just an impressive U.S. booking for the group: after its members (T.O.P, G-Dragon, Taeyang and Daesung) completed their respective military services, the Coachella announcement hints at a potentially substantial 2020 from the reformed collective, soon to be the first K-pop boy group to perform at Coachella. (Also worth noting: hip-hop/pop troupe Epik High, who became Coachella’s first K-pop performer in 2016, will be back in 2020).

4. Latin Music Makes Its Presence Known (Again).

One year after stars like J Balvin, Rosalia and Bad Bunny significantly expanded the representation of Spanish-language music at Coachella, the 2020 lineup includes a diverse array of impressive Latin music talent, from the pop appeal of Anitta to the unique Mexican stylings of Banda MS to the irresistible Brazilian drag star Pabllo Vittar. As popular music becomes increasingly impacted by Latin culture, Coachella has been wise to reflect that encouraging shift.

5. Hip-Hop Makes a Quiet Return To The Front.

Although Childish Gambino headlined last year, the 2019 lineup included a notable dearth of top-line rap talent, with R&B and electronic acts filling in some of those gaps. That's not the case in 2020, which will include a Travis Scott coronation on Saturday night but sets by major artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Run The Jewels, 21 Savage, Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby, as well as promising voices like City Girls, Denzel Curry, Princess Nokia, YBN Cordae, Dave and J.I.D, among others.

6. Danny Elfman? Danny Elfman!

I mean, if Hans Zimmer can rock out at Coachella in 2017 with music from The Lion King, surely Elfman can drop some Nightmare Before Christmas gems in Indio three years later, right? The live performance by the legendary composer -- whose music will once again be featured at your local multiplex later this month, in the score to Dolittle -- will surely be an oddball highlight of the Saturday lineup.

7. Where’s My Chemical Romance?

Coachella has long been a stomping ground for band reunions -- as well as a particularly generous festival when it comes to hard rock and emo acts -- so when Gerard Way and co. announced in late 2019 that their beloved band had gotten back together, a few educated guesses penciled in MCR as a Coachella no-brainer. While the group’s 2020 U.S. touring plans remain under wraps after a successful one-off show in Los Angeles last month, alas, Coachella will not be part of that itinerary. Hopefully rising acts like PUP and IDLES will scratch that particular itch for the post-punk contingent attending. 

8. As Always, Lots of Artists Leveled Up on the Lineup...

Rising stars like Megan Thee Stallion, Summer Walker, Rex Orange County, Ari Lennox and DaBaby have to feel pretty pumped about their Coachella poster font size right now. And even though they’re performing on separate days at the festival, let’s hope Megan and DaBaby coordinate schedules so Indio can experience “Cash Shit” in full during one of their sets.

9. ...While Other Artists Can Cry Foul.

Lil Nas X, who has the Hot 100’s longest-leading No. 1 single of all time and may very well dominate the Grammy Awards later this month, couldn’t crack the top two lines on Sunday? And Carly Rae Jepsen, 100 gecs, Lauren Daigle, YUNGBLUD and Doja Cat are among the artists that seem curiously low with their listings, right? Such are the trappings of the yearly Coachella poster reveal: some acts walk away feeling newly minted, while others are inevitably busting out magnifying glasses.

10. There’s One Artist Per Day For Your Dad!

Once a haven for rock and alternative acts, Coachella has evolved along with generational tastes -- although if a ‘90s-loving father (or mother) is hoping to accompany their teenage son or daughter to this year’s festival, there will fortunately be a single artist up their alley on each daily lineup, with headlining rap-rock godfathers Rage Against The Machine on Friday, Radiohead leader Thom Yorke on Saturday and veteran producer/“Rockafeller Skank” maestro Fatboy Slim on Sunday. Who says there isn’t something for everyone at Coachella?


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