The Good. The Bad. The Highlights. The Overlap.
East Coast or West Coast? Drop a lineup a day before or day after? Diversity or book the top players in one genre? Fight over an overlapping headliner? Or maybe it’s a not a competition at all.
Either way, the verdict is out on Coachella’s and The Governors Ball’s lineup announcements. Let’s face it, criticizing a lineup can come down to your personal preferences: if you’re someone who likes musical discovery, is an old school rocker at heart, dancing is your main priority, or if you prefer hip hop to influence your weekend. So without saying a roster completely sucks like many lineup drop first reactions, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the two largest festival announcements that went down this past week.
The Goldenvoice/AEG Live promoted event Coachella to populate Indio’s Empire Polo Club again through April 13-15 and April 20-22, already had thousands of fans financially committed before any lineup announcement, meaning either 1) the fans trust Goldenvoice to not let them down, or 2) surprise, it’s not all about the music, anyway. Once again, the festival is at the top of Pollstar’s newly released Year End Worldwide Festival Grosses chart, with a record-setting gross of $114,593,000, due partially to the increase in attendance (99,000 per weekend in 2015 and 2016 to 125,000-capacity in 2017).
And just like the music industry as a whole, it always comes down to money over soul…
Does money equate to better music? Does radio play mean a more influential artist? Is a lineup better because every person in large to medium font have trending music videos?
Let’s break down the sold out festival’s music…
[+] For the first time in its 20 year history, Coachella will not have a rock band as one of its headliners. This certainly goes back to securing the highest grossing slot… living in a time where hip hop gets more airtime than instruments.
[+] This year, the festival didn’t seem to care about reuniting any artists, supporting interesting collabs, or providing a stage for an unusual act, like they did in past years with The Pixies, Rage Against The Machine, and Jane’s Addiction, just to name a few.
[+] Another startling fact, Coachella has only deemed three women to be worthy of a headline slot… three.
[+] Thankfully all hope is not lost for rock or women on the Coachella lineup, with their supporting genres having strong and successful female leaders from HAIM to Cardi B to St Vincent to Alison Wonderland.
[+] However, the lineup is not surprising. Name some of the most popular electronic, rap, and R&B artists on the radio, and you’ll find them on the Coachella lineup. Clever.
[+] In our opinion, without Kamasi Washington or Jamiroquai on the bill and random surprises like X Japan, this would be a predictable lineup. Yet, predictable for most people is going to be a lot of fun, and hey, there’s always a headlining artist that invites out some surprise guest last minute. We can count on Coachella for that.
So what about the East Coast fest…
Simply put, if you want to attend a festival to hear an array of talented artists in literally every genre, discover some surprisingly talented bands you aren’t as familiar with, and see artists that haven’t graced the stage in years, hit up The Governors Ball presented by Founders Entertainment held on Randall’s Island June 1-3. In short, Gov Ball presented a thoughtfully crafted lineup with headliners and supporting acts in rock, country, electronic, rap, R&B, and indie.
[+] The release of the lineup was strategically the day after Coachella, to steal some of the spotlight. Also, you have to admit that leaving a headlining spot a mystery is a pretty rebellious and clever tactic, keeping Gov Ball on our mind until the reveal. (Cardi B, perhaps? Another overlap?)
[+] The headliners are evenly split between the hip hop world and rock to make every fan satisfied.
[+] They are hosting N.E.R.D’s return back for the first time since their 2010’s Nothing album with their latest No_One Ever Really Dies release.
[+] In addition, they are hosting interesting collabs and unexpected music: Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson) and The Gaslight Anthem will perform their 2008 album The ’59 Sound.
[+] The electronic music on the bill are not just DJ performances but includes duos and live elements.
[+] Even the way the roster is presented, Governors Ball lays out all the artists, outside of the key headliners, in the same size font clearly showing their respect for all the talent involved.
So while Coachella’s grossing numbers and lineup critic are trending, Gov Ball is cruising by with a small hiccup from 2 Chainz whining about his spot on the festival’s poster. (Get over yourself.) There will still be those people that say Beyonce is everything and the rest of the bill doesn’t matter, others that say Eminem is on every bill this season so it’s not exciting, and music connoisseurs fighting that Jack White on any roster makes it a festival worth attending.
All in all, West or East Coasters, we provided you the highlights of both festival roster’s and clearly stated the overlap artists so you can make the decision for yourself. Our vote? Coachella has the vibes but will always be more commercial. Governors Ball has the music. Both completely different experiences. So pick one or both, and stop complaining because you can’t see everyone on the lineup, anyway.
The Weeknd, Beyoncé (as promised), first-timer Eminem, & the record breaking Cardi B
R&B & RAP
Eminem, The Weeknd, Cardi B, Migos, Post Malone, SZA, 6lack, Tyler The Creator, Migos, Miguel, NoName
HAIM, Portugal. The Man, BORNS, Fleet Foxes, A Perfect Circle, Magic Giant, The War on Drugs, X Japan
OTHER: Soul, Jazz, Cultural
Kamasi Washington, Jamiroquai, Kali Uchis, Los Ángeles Azules
FAVORITE SMALL-FONT-ON-LINEUP PICKS
Tank and the Bangas
[+] GOVERNORS BALL
Legendary Eminem & Jack White, five-time Grammy-nominated Khalid, & pop sensation Halsey
Jack White, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Chvrches, The Gaslight Anthem, Dirty Projectors, The Struts, Tash Sultana, Manchester Orchestra, Wolf Alice
RAP & R&B
Post Malone, Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Belly, Brockhampton
Galantis, Cut Copy, Silk City, Sylvan Esso, The Glitch Mob
Maggie Rodgers, Margo Price
Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley
FAVORITE SMALL-FONT-ON-LINEUP PICKS
Rap + R&B: Post Malone, Eminem, Travis Scott, 6lack, Moses Sumney
Pop: Kali Uchis, Kelela
Electronic: Russ, Cuco, Belly
Rock: War on Drugs, Lany, Tash Sultana, Aurora, The Regrettes, Alvvays, Sir Sly
FAVORITE SMALL-FONT-ON-LINEUP PICK:
Lineup comparison made easier using the FestEvo app
that curates playlists per festival with all the artists’ latest music and social channels.