Coachella turns 15 this year, and has firmly lodged itself in the zeitgeist.
Coachella’s posters provide a wonderful timeline for revisiting festivals past: In its early years, few people even knew about the weird festival being held in the California desert, and fewer still considered it an opportune time to appropriate Native American headdresses. Here is every lineup since 1999 – journey back in time with us.
Observations: Rage Against the Machine, Tool and Beck anchor a very 1999-seeming festival. Sadly, Coachella ’99 failed to turn a profit, meaning the next time the festival was held was 2001.
Observations: A newly reunited Jane’s Addiction headlined Coachella in 2001. We’re not quite sure what Bad Company was doing there, but they probably had a good time.
Observations: Rock seemed to gain a larger foothold at Coachella in 2002, with The Strokes, Oasis, Foo Fighters and goth progenitors Siouxsie & The Banshees among that year’s highest-profile acts.
Observations: Pharrell Williams has come a long way – 11 years ago, he was a third-tier act at Coachella (as part of N.E.R.D.). Also, check out the Black Eyed Peas near the bottom on the first night – in 2003, they weren’t the dominant pop force they’d eventually become.
Observations: Oldies acts continued to do big business for Coachella, with Kraftwerk, Pixies and The Cure anchoring 2004’s lineup. (Oh, and a little band called Radiohead.)
Observations: The 1980s were back in a big way in 2005, with Bauhaus, New Order and Gang of Four performing. And Jem, though regrettably, not the band from the cartoon series.
Observations: 2007 was the first year Coachella expanded into a three-day festival, and featured an appropriately sprawling lineup. Björk, a reunited Rage Against the Machine – even Willie Nelson was there!
Observations: Yes, Jack Johnson headlined. More important: Prince!
Observations: 2009 is also known by Coachella-storians as “the year Paul McCartney showed up and showed a bunch of people half his age how to properly rock a crowd of thousands.”
Observations: The first headlining rap act in seven years.
Observations: Mumford & Sons weren’t quite the world beaters in April 2011 they’d eventually become, but their set during Saturday’s firmly indie-oriented lineup helped spread the gospel of their intense, sweat-drenched live shows.
Observations: How could anyone know that, by the end of Coachella ’12, the words “Tupac hologram” would enter the zeitgeist?
Observations: Established rock acts ruled Coachella in 2013, with Blur, the Stone Roses, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Social Distortion, New Order … the list went on.
Observations: This year, it’s all about OutKast. And also heavy metal legends Motörhead, who have the honor and rare distinction of being both the heaviest and oldest band at Coachella this year, and maybe the only band to ever hold that crown.
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