Coachella
The most popular music fesival of the year has releases a list of performers. (Illustration by Simon Wang, Case Western Reserve University)
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Coachella

The announcement has many excited, but still courts some controversy.

Coachella is back and in some ways, the two-weekend festival is better than others. The release of the 2020 artist lineup has many fans straddling the line of excitement and disappointment. Still, there is a lot to look forward to between reunions, diverse musical acts and more.

As one of the biggest musical festivals in the country, Coachella is expected to pull its weight this year. It has been previously criticized for its relation to a seemingly anti-LGBTQ+ founder, its lack of female representation and ridiculous ticket prices.

Paul Tollett, the co-founder of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, spoke to Pitchfork about some of the recent controversies. For the most part, he agreed. “Everyone needs to do better.”

Despite the festival’s rocky history, tons of fans are looking forward to attending due to this year’s musically diverse and interesting lineup.

This Year’s Headliners Were To Be Expected But Still Exciting

No one can say they are too surprised about this year’s headliners. Frank Ocean, Rage Against the Machine and Travis Scott are to lead the pack of talented musicians on the main stage in Indio, California.

For Ocean lovers, it has been a rollercoaster of hints of his return to the Coachella stage since his debut in 2012. The singer and songwriter will claim his rightful place considering his years of hard work and breaking musical barriers. He is one of few black artists to be so open about his sexuality and incorporating such themes into his songs. The New Orleans native got his big break after uploading his mixtape “Nostalgia, Ultra” on Tumblr and has since grown a loyal fan base of listeners. It has been more than three years since his last album release, “Blonde,” so his return to the stage will be one for the books.

Rage Against the Machine announced that they would be headlining Coachella in November, which is fitting because they performed at the very first installment of the music festival in 1999. The American rock band is known for the political commentary in their music and their involvement in various activist campaigns. Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk formed Rage Against the Machine in the early 1990s and hurled into the music industry with guns blazing. One of the first hit records to propel their career was “Killing in the Name.” However, the band split up in 2000 when De la Rocha left, citing “creative differences” amongst the band. This year, the band will be reunited and take the stage together for an entire set.

Travis, Travis, Travis. The rap artist and record producer has seen a climatic year following his release of “JACKBOYS,” three Grammy nominations and falling out with Kylie Jenner. Not to mention his successful “Astroworld” concert tour. The star was raised in Houston, Texas. He became more popular in the music industry after collaborating with big names like Kanye West. He dropped one of his first hits, “Antidote,” in 2015 and has since further grown into the artist he is today.

Rage Against the Machine, Ocean and Scott are bound to make history at this year’s festival; however, there is one thing severely lacking among the list of headliners:

What Happened to All of the Female Artists, Coachella?

Everyone is aware of the backlash Coachella has faced for not including enough women in the lineup, but there seemed to be more promise for the future after previous years. Huge mainstream artists like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande have all headlined. Yet, there has only ever been one female artist to headline at Coachella at a time.

It is as if the company took one giant leap forward just to take 10 steps back. Just as Tollett mentioned, everyone has to do better. The music industry has been hard enough for female artists to break into. The fact that the king of music festivals hardly acknowledges the situation only perpetuates the behavior, and is one of the biggest problems with this year’s lineup.

Lana Del Rey was considered for the huge festival’s headliner position; however, she is set to perform alongside other contributing musicians. Up and coming artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Ari Lennox and Summer Walker will also perform. The three stars have climbed the ladder of the Coachella lineup position, even if they aren’t headlining.

But there are others who seemed to be just lumped in with the rest despite their iconic star quality, hits and awards.

These High Profile Artists Have Been Underestimated

While every artist cannot be a headliner, it is fair to say there are certainly some who deserve more than being placed lower on the lineup of performances.

One of those musicians is Carly Rae Jepsen. The “Call Me Maybe” star is, arguably, one of the most underrated artists of her time. Yet, she has still landed a slot at Coachella in the first weekend. The placement, however, does not reflect the years of hard work and talent Jepsen has shown throughout her career. The Canadian singer showed what she was capable of with her acclaimed album “EMOTION,” but it was somehow lost in translation amongst the radio airwaves. Since then, Jepsen has grown tremendously and continues to demonstrate her raw talent.

On the other side of the spectrum is Lil Nas X. The unconventional rap artist has known nothing but commercial success since his hit single “Old Town Road,” which makes it all the more confusing why he is not higher up on the list of performers. He has been recognized and awarded several times in the short span of his music career and all with a total song count of eight.

It’s Bound To Be An Interesting Show

The complete list of Coachella performances is good, to say the least. It is always amazing to see the different acts pulled each year and as far as musical diversity goes, this year was no different. There will be an artist for literally everyone. If nothing else, it is a lineup that Coachella should be proud of.

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