The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Coachella 2024 Recap: Cooked or on the Comeback?

AP Photo / Amy Harris

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is arguably the most popular music festival in the world and takes place each year in the Colorado Desert in California. The festival, which spans two weekends, wrapped up its 2024 dates last Sunday, April 21.

The festival industry is undeniably declining, and Coachella is no exception. However, the top music event of the year is putting up a good fight. The dedication of the performers is keeping the dying art of Coachella alive, even as the culture around the festival dries up in the desert heat.

The headliners this year did not disappoint. They each made some bold choices but brought the energy that was otherwise missing from the music festival. Lana Del Rey is the epitome of Coachella’s brand and her chance to headline was long overdue; she sang “Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – But I Have It” via hologram. Tyler, the Creator exploded through a trailer to open his set and was swept away by wind at its closing, giving the audience their daily dose of theatrics. Doja Cat bit back at criticism toward her shaved head and wore an outfit draped in long blond hair, accompanied by dancers in ambiguous yeti-like hair-suits. Doja Cat’s set was perfectly on brand – weird, off-putting and yet enchanting.

First-year Martyn Dahl praised artist Doja Cat’s performance and authenticity.

“I think it’s cool how Doja Cat was the first female rapper to headline at Coachella. And in doing that, she didn’t conform to what society thought or what the public thought she should perform as,” Dahl said. “She was true to herself while also making history, which is really great.”

As usual, there was no shortage of epic crossovers. The list is long, but highlights include Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish and Camila Cabello; Gwen Stefani and Olivia Rodrigo; Tems, Wizkid and Justin Bieber; Renée Rapp and Kesha; Childish Gambino, A$AP Rocky, Kali Uchis, Charlie Wilson and Tyler, the Creator; and Doja Cat and 21 Savage.

First-year Grace Zhang reflected on Lana Dey Rey and Billie Eilish’s collaboration, which brought together two of the defining female voices of modern music.

“Billie Eilish and Lana Del Rey were both my top artists in high school, so it was exciting to see this collab. I loved hearing Lana sing ‘ocean eyes’ in her own style, [with] Billie’s ad libs supporting her,” Zhang said. “Both of them have different aesthetics, too, so it was exciting to see them mesh so well on stage together. I also love how they chose ‘ocean eyes’ because not only is it one of Billie’s most iconic older songs, it also suits Lana so well.”

First-year Bella Nalli commented on the unlikely pairing of Renée Rapp and Kesha, who sang Kesha’s hit “TiK ToK.”

“I hadn’t imagined Kesha and Renée Rapp ever performing together, but I think they worked really well together overall. Their movements were similar and their voices blended nicely. I think it’s nice to see the way that they supported each other, too,” Nalli said.

Sabrina Carpenter released her new single “Espresso” in anticipation of her appearance at Coachella, which was perhaps the smartest marketing move of any performer. Coupled with sightings of her boyfriend Barry Keoghan bopping along to her set, Carpenter drew lots of attention from both attendees and fans on social media.

Canadian musician Grimes went through a surge in popularity earlier this year, but fumbled an opportunity to cash in on her momentum after a disastrous set during Week 1. Due to “a technical difficulty,” Grimes failed to mix her songs live.

“Just don’t blame me! It’s not my fault. Well, it’s partially my fault,” Grimes said, per USA Today, according to footage shared on social media.

Additionally, Shakira announced a world tour, No Doubt reunited and Blur revealed that they would not be returning to the stage. Chappell Roan, Suki Waterhouse, Ice Spice, Bleachers, Vampire Weekend, Deftones, Peso Pluma and other fan favorites performed their hits.

Arguably the biggest let-down was the attendance; crowds simply didn’t give the energy called for at Coachella — and this extends to the outfits. In the wake of a western revival, influencers had every opportunity to embrace the trending rodeo-chic style that would be perfect for the desert festival. Though controversy has spawned from her “revealing” outfit, Charli D’Amelio was perhaps the only influencer who succeeded in attaining the boho-kitschy Coachella look. Dahl commented on the reputation Coachella has earned.

“The concept of [Coachella] is great — this crazy music festival with all of these amazing artists. But then in execution, I feel like the culture around it is so bad,” Dahl said. “Are the people going to Coachella actually there for the music or are they just there because they are influencers? All these brands have stakes in Coachella and are deciding who to bring there. The people who are there are just influencers repping their brand.”

Coachella is at a strange stage in its lifetime. The festival will probably have to make some major innovations to stay relevant and maintain its unprecedented popularity, but a new question arises: Will the festival lean into the heart of it all — the music — or embrace the iconic influencer culture that made it so popular in the first place?

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