Coachella is now just hours from its twentieth year, and set to take place over two weekends beginning this Friday. But the anticipation got real yesterday with the release of its set times. Now attendees can start planning who they will see and who will have to be skipped.
Some first impressions from the schedule: Friday is the most stacked day of the event, but they’ve managed to offer up a docket that has remarkably few major conflicts. Plus, the run on the main Coachella stage of Kacey Musgraves > Anderson .Paak > The 1975 > Janelle Monae > Childish Gambino might be the best five-artist run of any festival this year. Saturday finds no replacement for Solange, but still plenty to see across the day, with Kid Cudi’s late night set in the Sahara particularly intriguing, as you have to think there is still the chance that Kanye West appears. And Sunday is the most conflict-ridden, with tons of tough choices to be made across the day. Notably, the Sahara has less of an EDM focus than ever, with tons of hip-hop and even international pop stars like Blackpink set to appear in the tent.
Below we’ve outlined out selections for navigating some of the most difficult scheduling conflicts at the 2019 edition of Coachella. See you out on the polo fields.
Friday: Diplo vs. Janelle Monae
Diplo playing Coachella is hardly a rarity, between his many projects and his solo DJ sets. But anyone that’s ever seen him at the festival knows that he loves to bring major guests, with artists like Kanye West among the notables that he’s brought out. His prime positioning at the Sahara tent seems like a can’t-miss moment, if only sub-headliner Janelle Monae wasn’t playing the Coachella Stage at the same time. She’s riding high on an Album Of The Year Grammy nomination, and this is the biggest show of her career thus far. Plus, it’s rare that a woman of color is put on the biggest stage after dark, and Monae will surely rise to the occasion.
Our pick: Diplo might provide the star power, but Monae has the possibility to create a transcendent, important moment, and that makes her the choice.
Friday: The 1975 vs. Blackpink vs. U.S. Girls
Just before Monae and Diplo perform, Friday has even a tougher decision. On one hand you have The 1975, supporting one of 2018’s best albums with a Coachella Stage set. On the other, you have the buzzy Blackpink, coming all the way from Korea in a move that paves the way for Coachella landing more Asian artists. Just over the last few days, Blackpink set a Youtube record for the quickest song to 100 million plays. You have to feel sorry for indie band U.S. Girls, who also released one of the best albums of last year, and have to perform at the same time as these juggernauts.
Our pick: Go with partial sets. Watch the beginning of Blackpink and then make your way over for The 1975 at about the halfway point. Both of these sets should be essential.
Saturday: J Balvin vs. Maggie Rogers vs. Four Tet vs. The Roots
Sunset at Coachella is a magical time. The weather cools, the scenery looks gorgeous, and some unforgettable sets take place. Saturday offers a tough choice between reggaeton star J Balvin, rising pop star Maggie Rogers, late night legends The Roots, and extraordinary DJ Four Tet. The former two are both making their debuts on the polo fields, and are playing tons of other fests, so this one will likely come down to personal preference, while the latter two are more for the old school heads that have become something of a rarity at the fest.
Our pick: Balvin could likely have guests appear and his set is the only of these that will take place outside of a tent, but Maggie Rogers is an undeniable force right now. We’ll probably be at Rogers, but there isn’t a bad call between the two.
Saturday: Weezer vs. Juice WRLD vs. Aphex Twin vs. Smino
When Weezer appeared on the Coachella poster in January, their “Africa” cover was still a big force and they had a new album on the way. But the band hasn’t been able to keep that momentum going. Still, they are playing right before the headliners on the Coachella Stage, but not without plenty of other options. Fans can choose between the emo-rap of young star Juice WRLD, the rare appearance of electronic legend Aphex Twin, and the exciting hip-hop of Smino.
Our pick: Juice WRLD is gonna be packed and feels like a must-see, and with a 90-minute set, stop by Aphex Twin for a little bit, because you might not ever get another chance to see him.
Sunday: H.E.R. vs. CHVRCHES vs. Dillon Francis vs. Jon Hopkins
Just before Ariana Grande offers up what might be the set of the festival, Sunday night is pretty damn crowded. H.E.R. is coming off a riveting performance at the Grammys, where she was nominated for Album Of The Year, while Chvrches, Dillon Francis, and Jon Hopkins all provide their own spin on electronic music. All are known as great live artists, and none deserve to face such tough odds for attracting fans.
Our pick: Jon Hopkins might be the sneaky choice here, but this one should come down to just who you like more and who you haven’t seen. Chvrches has become a great live band, but with H.E.R., you just might be seeing one of music’s next big stars ascending to her throne.
Sunday: YG vs. Zedd
In one corner is Zedd, who could easily bring out some big guests (like Marren Morris) in the Sunday night Coachella Stage sunset slot that has seen legendary moments from other EDM artists like Kaskade, Calvin Harris, and Odesza. In the other corner is YG, whose set is likely to be a massive tribute to his fallen friend, Nipsey Hussle. One might be the most attended set of the festival, the other might be the most talked about.
Our pick: Sunday sunset EDM sets have long been the record-breaking for Coachella, but YG has a chance to make a truly special moment for Nipsey. We wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Sunday: Bad Bunny vs. Playboi Carti vs. Lizzo vs. Soccer Mommy
A little earlier on Sunday, four incredibly buzzy artists do battle. Bad Bunny is one of the Coachella artists that feels like a true get, Playboi Carti is one of the most rapidly rising stars in the hip-hop world, Lizzo feels poised for a huge breakout, and Soccer Mommy is one of the most critically acclaimed new indie stars of the last year. This one feels almost impossibly cruel that many will have to miss most of these artists.
Our pick: Go see Lizzo. Her narrative right now has this set primed to be something people will be talking about for a long time to come.
Sunday: Gucci Gang vs. Khalid
Billie Eilish may have the No. 1 album in the country right now, but that is likely to change next week with Khalid’s new release. Still, his Sunday night sub-headlining set has a big conflict with Gucci Gang, the debut of the project featuring Gucci Mane, Lil Pump, and Smokepurpp. It’s unclear whether they will be debuting new music or just delivering a tripleheader of their own material, but it still seems like essential programming.
Our pick: Khalid has so many past collaborators, that special guests seem highly likely at his set. That pushes him over the edge.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.