The headliners for Coachella’s 19th installment have been swirling in rumors for the past couple months. Beyonce was a given, since she had canceled her 2017 appearance due to pregnancy and vowed to return triumphantly in 2018. The Weeknd was also strongly rumored from early on, a choice that makes sense when you consider that Coachella was the first major music festival to book him in 2012, where he made his US debut at the Outdoor Theatre under the blazing hot sun, only to follow that up with a sub-headlining appearance in 2015 where he actually performed after the headliner (Jack White) and invited Kanye West out for a surprise appearance. Lastly, Eminem was a later name to enter the rumored fold, with the festival apparently looking beyond the cold reaction to Revival for a sort of legacy act that will hopefully lean on his older material.
What’s missing is obvious and has been bemoaned by vocal naysayers: Where are the rock bands? It doesn’t take a One Direction member to point out that Coachella’s rock roots cannot be understated. The first year was topped by two of the more burly members of the rock community — Rage Against The Machine and Tool — and this will mark the first year in its history where none of the headliners are rock acts. It’s particularly interesting when you consider the long-standing relationship that the festival had with local radio station KROQ, who would often help promote the lineup announcement and form a noticeable alliance in terms of hyping the event. This time around, the station’s employees were forced to reconcile with the fact that their own brand has lost its foothold into the zeitgeist.