Above: Lorde performing at Coachella 2016. Photo / Getty Images
This Easter weekend, while people are at the bach spending lovely quality time with family or out soaking up the great outdoors, I will be blobbed on the couch watching three days straight of Coachella live-streams.
It's a tradition I have imposed on my family with great enthusiasm for many years. It's even got a name: Couch-ella.
The live-stream goes on, I take my position on the couch and only tear my attention away to deliver snippets of incisive cultural commentary to my enthralled family members.
"That's Jennie from BlackPink" I point out between mouthfuls of marshmallow egg. "She went to ACG Parnell, I could have sat next to her on the Inner Link and be none the wiser, ain't life funny?"
This year though, my beloved tradition doesn't sit so comfortably. After three pandemic postponements or cancellations the live-streams are back but that's about as close as I'd want to get. As the festival says on the website “In accordance with local guidelines, there will be no vaccination, testing or masking requirements at Coachella 2022.”
125,000 unmasked festival goers aside, the festivities fairly cop flak for being problematic in other ways.
In a 2019 article titled Coachella Is For Straight People, Out writer Rose Dommu pinned the festival, which is held at a Southern California Polo Ground as "solely the province of bros, frat boys, Beckys, and biddies".
That's arguably most mainstream music festivals. But add in an influencer heavy crowd, many of whom use the gathering as an opportunity to try on cultural appropriation and the sizeable donations made to anti-LGBTQ+ organisations by Philip Anschutz, the Republican rich lister who owns Coachella's parent company and the vibes from the festival are far from immaculate.
That's without even mentioning the environmental impact that comes from running a music festival in a desert.
If you can manage to put that to the side and do what Dua Lipa refers to as "a full 180", Coachella remains the centre of the zeitgeist, at least for two weekends in April.
It's the stage that brought us Beyoncé's Homecoming, Tupac's hologram and the video of a barefoot Kacey Musgraves yelling at the crowd "I didn't say f-ing yee".
It's the setting for both Frank Ocean's hit Novocane and the 2016 Page Six sighting of Rihanna and Leonardo DiCaprio with "nothing but sunglasses between them”.
The roster of talent that descends on the stage each year is so reliably stacked that the line-up posters themselves are a meme in their own right.
For the past six years DJ Mikey Pop has offered an alternative (and fake) lineup for Gaychella, “the most extra festival you’ve never been to”, including a must-listen Gaychella Spotify playlist.
Beamed into our living rooms, we get to see and hear sneak peeks of future hits from music's heaviest hitters. In 2017 Lorde used her performance to preview three songs from her then unreleased album Melodrama.
Fans will no doubt be hoping we get the same from night one headliner Harry Styles, whose third solo album is due in late May.
At a time where our access to large scale concerts has effectively been turned off at the tap, the razzle dazzle of a full blown festival is almost enough to blind you. Just for a weekend.
How to watch
As it has previously, Coachella will stream the performances from weekend one live on YouTube.
Type A organisers won't miss out on the chaotic scheduling energy you get at a festival by tuning in from home. There is the time and date difference to negotiate (California is five hours ahead of New Zealand, but a day behind) as well as the fact that the streams run across three different YouTube live feeds.
The live-streams start at a very long weekend appropriate time of 11am NZT on Saturday, April 16.
Last week, days before festival goers were due to kick up the Indio dust, Kanye West, who was to headline the closing night, pulled out of the event. It wasn't totally unexpected - West had earlier threatened walk away unless fellow headliner Billie Eilish apologised for a perceived slight against Travis Scott. West's slot has been filled by The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia.
The full schedule for the weekend is yet to be released but here are some highlights from each day:
Day one (Saturday April 16 NZT)
Carly Rae Jepsen
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Day two (Sunday April 17 NZT)
Megan Thee Stallion
Day three (Monday April 18 NZT)
Swedish House Mafia x The Weeknd
Run the Jewels
The Blessed Madonna
Rainbow charities to donate your admission fee to
(See point above about Philip Anschutz...)
OutLine is a rainbow mental health organisation providing support services across Aotearoa.
F’INE is a Pacific focused Charitable Trust that provides Whānau Ora navigational services to to MVPFAFF / LGBTQI+ peoples and their families in the Auckland region.
InsideOUT is a national organisation which works with youth, whānau, schools and communities to make Aotearoa a safer place for all rainbow young people to live and be in.
Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand is the key intersex organisation in Aotearoa. They provide information, education and training for organisations and professionals who provide services to intersex people and their families
Rainbow Path is is an advocacy and peer support group for the rights of rainbow refugees and asylum seekers living in Aotearoa.