Guns N' Roses perform on the main stage at Coachella in 2016
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Coachella's influence on the modern music festival
Coachella is this weekend. Are you going?
Whether you'll be attending or not, chances are favorable that you'll interact with the festival by way of news coverage over the next two weeks. If you wish you could attend, but can't, you'll be able to live stream more than 50 artist sets from this year's festival to the comfort of your living room or mobile device.
Launched in 1999, Coachella holds a singular relevance in the development of the modern music festival, and its influence in shaping the aesthetic and popularity of other contemporary American festivals is undeniable. Where once it may have been true to claim only a certain faction of artists would be booked to play, or only fans of certain genres would choose to attend Coachella (versus, say, Bonnaroo), that distinction no longer holds water. Case in point, this year's diverse lineup features headliners Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga on down to the likes of the Allah-Las, Eli & Fur, Red Axes, and Zipper Club.
"There is no underground anymore. It's all kind of pop, in a way," said Coachella founder Paul Tollett regarding the dissolving borders between targeted genres to book for the festival each year. His recent interview with The New Yorker gives a fascinating recount of the journey that took him from passing out flyers for Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar in the late '80s to strategizing plans to expand the scope and reach of his iconic two-weekend festival, which is now approaching its 20th anniversary.