Coachella 2019: weekend one round-up
The first weekend of Goldenvoice’s California-based festival took place from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 April, with headline performances from Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande.
Tickets for weekend one of the 125,00-capacity festival sold out in just forty minutes this year. Here’s what ticket holders experienced over Coachella’s opening weekend…
Ariana Grande broke records as Coachella’s youngest-ever headliner, whereas Blackpink became the first all-female K-pop group to play at the festival.
Grande appeared on stage with a host of guests including *Nsync (without Justin Timberlake), Diddy, Mase and Nicky Minaj. Technical difficulties related to microphones affected Grande’s set, along with that of other performances over the weekend.
Donald Glover, who performs as Childish Gambino, was one among several acts to pay tribute to the late rappers Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller.
Gambino also used the festival to premier the film Guava Island, in which he stars alongside Rhianna. The film is available to stream for free via the Coachella YouTube channel and Amazon Prime for the duration of the festival.
Coachella debuted its new augmented reality (AR) experience over the weekend at its AR-enabled Sahara Tent stage, where acts including Jaden Smith, Kid Cudi, Whiz Khalifa and Diplo performed.
“We want to provide fun and cutting edge experiences for the people who attend the show”
Fans were able to access AR filters through their phones using the Coachella Camera page of the festival app, superimposing outer space-themed objects onto the festival stage and throughout the tent. Festivalgoers could also save photos and videos of the AR experience.
“We want to provide fun and cutting edge experiences for the people who attend the show,” says a Goldenvoice spokesperson. “During sets, attendees can use a number of different AR filters that react to the audio coming out of the speakers.”
Another new addition at this year’s Coachella came in the form of on-site Amazon Lockers, enabling attendees to order festival-approved items including food products, phone chargers and suncream straight to the lockers on the Empire Polo Club grounds.
Health and safety
A fire broke out in a shower block located in the festival’s campsite, causing panic and distress among festivalgoers, many of whom posted videos of the incident on social media.
Firefighters attended the scene to quench the flames, containing the blaze within half an hour. One trailer was damaged and another destroyed. No injuries were reported.
The incident follows the death of the festival’s lead rigger during set-up on Saturday 6 April.
Coachella is back for weekend two from 19 to 21 April.
AI correctly predicts Grammys 2019 song of the year
American data scientists correctly predicted Childish Gambino’s song of the year win at the 61st Grammy Awards, held at Staples Center in Los Angeles last night (10 February).
Using its machine learning platform, Boston, Massachusetts-based DataRobot analysed all Grammy song of the year winners since 1959, identifying common traits – including the genre of the song, amount of profanity, general sentiment, total word count and various audio features derived from Spotify, such as tempo, time signature, key and duration – to determine this year’s most likely victor.
After six minutes, during which the artificial intelligence (AI) generated 140 data models, DataRobot’s Taylor Larkins established the best model, which “performed about 44% better than randomly guessing during my testing period [from 2012–2018],” he explains.
“Machine learning … can have applications well beyond the traditional ones we are used to seeing in fields such as banking or insurance”
This model correctly predicted Gambino’s ‘This is America’ as most likely song of the year candidate, with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s ‘Shallow’, from A Star is Born, as a close runner-up (screenshot courtesy of DataRobot):
“With this experiment, we’re demonstrating that machine learning cannot only be fun but can also have applications well beyond the traditional ones we are used to seeing in fields such as banking or insurance,” explains Larkin.
“The music industry could tap into its potential, studying what makes a song successful and understanding why people listen to the songs that they do. With the volume of great music being produced, having quick insights into song popularity could be another tool to help musicians and music producers to refine their expertise.”
Kacey Musgraves won the Grammy for album of the year, for Golden Hour, with Dua Lipa taking home the prize for best new artist. Gaga and Cooper’s ‘Shallow’, meanwhile, won best pop duo/group performance.
See the full list of winners at the Recording Academy website.
Speedy sell-out for Coachella 2019
Tickets for April’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2019 went on sale at 11 am PST on Friday 4 January. General admission passes for weekend one of the mega-festival had sold out just 40 minutes later, Billboard reports.
A post on the Coachella Twitter account announced that all remaining passes for both weekends of the festival, including shuttle and VIP tickets, had sold out six hours post release.
Event promoter Goldenvoice has since declared that a limited number of additional tickets will be available for purchase by local residents of Coachella Valley, on sale in early February. Buyers must reside in one of a small number of local post codes and will be able to buy just two tickets per weekend.
“General admission passes for weekend one of the mega-festival sold out in just 40 minutes”
Despite seemingly speedy sales, figures are down in comparison with previous years. Tickets for the 2017 and 2018 editions of Coachella sold out in half the time of this year’s batch, with all passes purchased after just three hours.
The festival will take place over two consecutive three-day weekends from 12 April. General admission tickets cost US$429, whereas weekend VIP tickets set buyers back just one dollar short of $1,000.
The 2019 festival will see headliners Childish Gambino, Ariana Grande and Tame Impala perform to fans in the heat of the California desert. It is a year of firsts for the increasingly pop-orientated event, as Grande will become the youngest-ever artist to headline the festival, and the fourth woman to do so.
The subject of headliners has proved controversial this year. Kanye West is believed to have dropped out of the billing in objection to stage restrictions, while Justin Timberlake is similarly rumoured to have backed out of his festival appearance following a persistent vocal cord injury.
Coachella announces 2019 line-up
Goldenvoice has announced the line-up for April’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2019.
Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande will headline both weekends of the 125,000-capacity mega-festival, which returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on 12–14 April and 19–21 April.
Other notable performers include Janelle Monáe (pictured), the 1975, Khalid, Diplo, Weezer, Aphex Twin, Zed, Billie Eilish, Bassnectar and Christine and the Queens.
According to US gossip site TMZ (so take with a hefty pinch of salt), Kanye West pulled out at the last minute after a dispute over the size of the festival’s stages.
“It’s not the boomers’ Coachella anymore”
The 2019 line-up sees Coachella – widely regarded as marking the beginning of the international festival season – continuing the youth-focused booking philosophy demonstrated by last year’s Beyoncé-headlined event, with music industry pundit Bob Lefsetz writing in his popular Lefsetz Letter column that the bill is “an extremely accurate picture of what’s happening in music today, when it’s less about gravitas than social media presence, when the album is secondary to the single – when it’s not about history but today.”
“It’s not the boomers’ Coachella anymore, nor the Gen-Xers,” he adds.
Coachella 2019 tickets are on sale tomorrow (Friday 4 January) from Coachella.com, with single-weekend general admission passes starting at US$429.
See the full line-up below: