The three-year wait is over. After the pandemic canceled Coachella in 2020 and ’21, the festival will return to the sunny confines of the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio. It’ll be business as usual when the gates open for both weekends of the California fest, with nearly 200 acts heading to the desert. That is, outside of Ye, who dropped out of the Sunday night headlining slot for reasons that are still being speculated on. (No matter — organizer Goldenvoice tapped the Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia to close out the final night of both weekends.)
For fans and artists alike, Coachella 2022 will serve as somewhat of a return to normal days, before we knew what a subvariant was and had to factor in masks and social distancing at live shows. While those anxieties will still loom over the fest — especially after organizers decided against implementing a vaccine requirement — there’s also a ton of great music to be heard. Here, we’re highlighting some of the acts to get excited about, whether you’re getting sweaty in the crowd or watching from the comfort of home via livestream. From headliners with something to prove to one of the many undercard billings who might some day graduate to the biggest slots, there’s plenty to fill up your Coachella schedule.
2022 marks the first time Styles is performing at Coachella, and it’s a safe bet he’ll use the headlining slot to unveil some of his upcoming album, Harry’s House. Very little is known about his third solo LP; the only tastes we’ve gotten so far are a 40-second teaser and the lead single “As It Was.” So, expect to hear a bunch of new tunes during his Friday night set, which will also double as a preview for the second half of his Love on Tour (kicking off in June).
No disrespect to Swedish House Mafia, but it’s pretty clear the Weeknd is the more direct replacement for Ye. And we’re expecting A Show, given both the circumstances and the fact that Abel’s tour behind Dawn FM — one of the best albums of 2022 thus far — and 2020’s After Hours has been postponed twice. Coincidentally, he’ll be performing on Sunday right after his upcoming opener Doja Cat, who’s also a must-see — especially if you believe her promise to quit music after the tour wraps.
We’re putting the siblings together here, even though Finneas has his own Coachella slot on Sunday, the day after his sister headlines. Don’t expect her to address that odd beef Ye started with her over a perceived shot against Travis Scott — rather, you can plan on seeing a souped-up version of her Happier Than Ever world tour, which just wrapped up its North American run of arena dates. Finneas, meanwhile, will look to make his own mark in support of his October-released debut full-length, Optimist, hopefully following through on the promises he made half a year ago on “A Concert Six Months From Now.”
Run the Jewels
It’s been almost two years since the release of RTJ4, and Killer Mike and El-P have yet to really road test the material. In 2020, they were supposed to be on tour with Rage Against the Machine, one of that year’s Coachella headliners. We all know what happened next. Anyway, we wouldn’t be shocked if some of the many guests from their discography pop up this go-round; if not, Run the Jewels’ onstage mix of buddy comedy and hip-hop power is always a guaranteed delight.
On paper, a jazz quartet doesn’t sound like an apt fit for the Coachella lineup, but Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD shouldn’t be overlooked. Their tight arrangements and eclectic influences have made them favorites of the hip-hop world, with collaborators including Kendrick Lamar, Ghostface Killah, and Tyler, the Creator. Also, festivals should be about diversifying your musical consumption, and if you’re not familiar with this band already, you’re in for a terrific surprise.
The Miami rappper’s latest LP, Melt My Eyez See Your Future, is an absolute powerhouse, with features from Rico Nasty, T-Pain, Robert Glasper, and Saul Williams along with production from the likes of Kenny Beats and Thundercat. Regardless of who’s onstage with him at Coachella, Curry is sure to dial up the heat, especially with new single “The Ills” or go-tos like “CLOUT COBAIN” and “DIET_.”
Indio’s close enough to Staples’s native Long Beach for this to count as a sort of hometown gig, right? Either way, this appearance is a fitting way for Vince to celebrate the release of his excellent fifth album, Ramona Park Broke My Heart, which is heavy on California rap influences. It’s a deep record that’s worthy of close listening, but it’s more than big enough to rock a festival.
The dapper masked cowboy is riding high on the strength of his just-released LP Bronco, which he described to Vulture as “untamed and unaffected and unrestrained.” He can break your heart with his baritone and ballads, then chase away any blues you have when he kicks into his exultant single “Daytona Sand” or floor you with the Euphoria-featured “Dead of Night.”
Brazil’s biggest pop star is poised to win over the States with her multilingual hits, which have made a fan out of Mariah Carey and earned her collabs with Madonna, Cardi B, Snoop, J Balvin, and more. She’s planning on making this arrival moment a spectacle, complete with a stage design that’ll feature the set of a Brazilian favela and actual motorcycles. (FYI, her set was moved from Saturday to Friday, so adjust your plans accordingly.)
All due respect to Emo Nite — a party at Coachella we’d also recommend — but we prefer our punk scream-alongs with a live band. That’s where PUP comes in, with the Canadian quintet having just returned to the road in support of their excellent new album, The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND. It reinforces the message that it’s okay to be yourself, no matter who you are. In a festival setting, that likely means finding yourself belting out their tunes with your arm around complete strangers.
If there’s an award for Most Likely to Have the Craziest Pit, Turnstile would be a finalist alongside IDLES. The Maryland five-piece are still flying high on the success of 2021’s Glow On, which saw them obliterate the confines of being labeled a hardcore band. If security permits, expect tons of stage dives during their always-rapturous sets.
Megan Thee Stallion
Take this time to forget about all the recent drama surrounding Megan and let her remind you that she’s one of the best MCs out there. Expect go-to hits (“WAP,” “Savage”) along with some of her recent A-list collabs (“Sweetest Pie” with Dua Lipa). You just might want to stretch your hammies out first, though, as her set is guaranteed to lead to some serious ass-shaking.
Bridgers hasn’t performed much since last fall, so it’s hard to predict what her stage show will be like for Coachella. But don’t be surprised if she mixes the songs off her two stellar LPs with her Bo Burnham cover and brand new track “sidelines,” her first original solo release since 2020’s Punisher.
After finally breaking out in 2019 with her country throwback debut Walk Through the Fire, Yola expanded her sound on last year’s Stand for Myself, which incorporates a range of influences that were fundamental to the England-born, Nashville-based singer. With production by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, she crafted a cohesive blend of soul, funk, disco, and more, held together by her show-stopping voice. She’ll have you in the palm of her hand by the time she walks off the Coachella stage.
It’s a busy year for Rogers — she’s taking a break from studying at the Harvard Divinity School to release her second album, Surrender, this summer. Her Coachella appearance comes on the heels of her David Byrne–featuring single, “That’s Where I Am,” so this will be the ideal time to see how she follows up her 2019 debut, Heard It in a Past Life, which earned her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
A weekend at Coachella wouldn’t be complete without devoting some time to losing yourself during a DJ set. And if you’re searching for a dance party that’s also stuffed full of interesting, complex melodies and transitions, look no further than Tokimonsta. The DJ (real name Jennifer Lee) has a background in classical music and has worked with and/or remixed the likes of Beck, Anderson .Paak, and Duran Duran.
A sunshine-y day with a huge crowd is the perfect way to enjoy the punk stylings of Los Angeles band the Regrettes, with their tinges of riot grrrl and old-school pop. They’re celebrating the release of their third LP, Further Joy, the title of which suggests the feeling you’ll be walking away with after catching them live.