Coachella moves further away from its rock roots. What are we to make of this?

If we’re to use Coachella as a barometer for the health and popularity of rock music, things look pretty dire in 2019.

The festival has been moving away from its original rock-based focus (I examine that here) into a realm featuring more pop, hip-hop, and R&B. Why? Owners Golden Voice think this is where America’s musical zeitgeist currently lies.

Fine. But I do have a couple of questions.

  1. Exactly how many rock acts can you count? HINT: Get a magnifying glass so you can read the small font. Once you get beyond Weezer, your eyes start to blur.
  2. Since when is Tame Impala a headliner?
  3. Remember when Coachella used to be known for spectacular reunions? Not anymore.
  4. There seems to be a lot of acts known for a couple of singles rather than a body of work consisting of albums. That tells us a lot about the current state of music, doesn’ tit?
  5. Note the appearance of people like Billie Eilish who achieved stardom via YouTube and other social media.
  6. The generation gap between the late Gen Xers/early Millennials who went to the early incarnations of Coachella and the kind of fan who attends today.
  7. There are those who really, really, really love this year’s lineup.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

7 thoughts on “Coachella moves further away from its rock roots. What are we to make of this?

  • January 3, 2019 at 11:12 am
    Permalink

    I want to see exactly ZERO of those bands!

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 11:51 am
    Permalink

    Put it this way, talent costs at this years Coachella will be the least expensive, ever and ever.

    Ahhh, but the Big Question is, will the real HEADLINER for this years event and future ‘Chella’s be the Big Smoke, CANNABIS INDUCED Masses¿, which I believe last year, even though recreationally legal for 21+ in CaliState, Goldenvoice instituted a leave Your Stash at the Gates before entering policy. Just seems to me this years musical lineup lends itself more to That of Discovery… and to assist in setting the Tone, it makes sense that there would be a plethora of Branded Smoke, Vape, and Edible Laced Kiosks and VIP Smoke Pits dotting the Landscape along with the Beer Tents.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 12:43 pm
    Permalink

    I went in 2007 which was a fantastic lineup, even on the “small font” bands. I have absolutely zero interest in this lineup. Ahhh the good ol’ days…..

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 1:32 pm
    Permalink

    Will FOMO bring the masses?

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 9:22 pm
    Permalink

    Perhaps start a Festival that is everything Coachella was and call it something different. Sure, I’m out of touch, but I wonder if people will show up. If they do, it’s probably not really about the music, more about the scene I suspect. To me, this is something to avoid.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2019 at 1:07 am
    Permalink

    OK it’s established people are mad, So where’s all the anger towards the mainstream? I don’t see any, and this has me concerned. Very concerned.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2019 at 2:58 am
    Permalink

    I could care less that Coachella has no rock bands, as long as there’s an all-rock festival somewhere. I’ve had Montebello Rockfest for the past 5 years, but that might be over now because they filed for bankruptcy.

    Reply

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.