Ahead of Coachella’s highly-anticipated return, we’ve backtracked through the event’s musical evolution. From its early 2000s rock years to more recent pop and rap marquee names, we’ve also included every single one of the festival’s iconic lineup posters.
1999 - Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Tool
Coachella’s inception into the world of festivals perfectly aligned with the post-grunge era, hence, its inaugural headliners of influential rock bands, Rage Against the Machine and Tool. Also on the bill were the experimental sounds of Beck, who rose in popularity in the 1990s with his eclectic combination of hip-hop, folk, and rock.
2001 - Jane’s Addiction
Due to its Southern California locale, a drought brought the festival to a pause in 2000. It made its comeback in 2001, however, with a scaled-down lineup. For its one day event, they invited Jane’s Addiction to head up the bill.
2002 - Björk, Oasis
Cementing Icelandic singer Björk’s overseas success was her invitation to the desert event as the first female headliner. The following day’s massive roster comprised of Oasis, Foo Fighters, The Strokes, and The Prodigy, who kicked off the return of the event’s original two-day format.
2003 - Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Welcoming the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers to the main stage doubled down on the currency of rock music. That weekend jumpstarted the onsite camping ritual too. Fans could now go back to their tents after a tireless day crammed with fan favourites.
2004 - Radiohead, The Cure
The 2004 headliners included Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Radiohead and The Cure, for the festival’s first-ever sold-out event. These appearances would mark the first of many returns to Coachella for both acts.
2005 - Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor performed one of his first sober shows at the desert, shortly after a stint in rehab. Coldplay also made their US headliner debut months before releasing their third album X&Y, solidifying their spot as one of the biggest bands in the world.
2006 - Depeche Mode, Tool
Though Depeche Mode and Tool were the weekend’s primary draw, electronic duo Daft Punk’s elaborate LED pyramid performance made Coachella history.
2007 - Björk, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine
In order to compete with Lollapalooza’s recent expansion from a two-day event to three days, the 2007 Coachella festival mimicked the extension. It brought back previous headliners and Billboard lauded Rage Against the Machine’s return as the group’s second best festival performance ever.
2008 - Prince, Roger WateJack Johnson
As a last-minute attempt to raise ticket sales, Prince was added to the playbill only weeks before the 2008 festival was scheduled to take place. The decision proved successful, as the initial lineup of Roger Waters and Jack Johnson had hindered sales.
2009 - Paul McCartney, The Killers, The Cure
Paul McCartney became the first Beatle to headline the Mojave Tent, with his opening day performance extending 54 minutes over his allotted time. Yet veteran topliner, The Cure, had their Sunday set plug pulled when they surpassed the midnight curfew.
2010 - Jay-Z, Muse, Gorillaz
Instead of selling day tickets, Coachella tested a new strategy of only offering three day passes. Although the response was varied, thousands still came out in droves. Jay-Z became their first-ever rap headliner.
2011 - Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, The Strokes
Despite Kanye West’s current controversy, this headlining act in 2011 indisputably remains one of the greatest hip-hop festival sets among critics. Moreover, his fellow headliners, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, and The Strokes, made for an unforgettable weekend of gargantuan music.
2012 - The Black Keys, Radiohead, Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg
As the festival boomed in popularity, 2012 marked the extension of its original one-weekend run to two weekends and the festival has continued the format ever since. Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg’s joint performance made headlines when they resurrected the late Tupac, as a 3D hologram figure, to perform a couple of songs for the crowd.
2013 - Blur, The Stone Roses, Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Brits ruled with Blur and The Stone Roses, followed by the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s third return to the desert. Lower on the lineup was Wu-Tang Clan, but their outstanding show verified they had big mainstage energy.
2014 - OutKast, Muse, Arcade Fire
In 2014 EDM finally edged out the headlining rock bands. Calvin Harris, Skrillex, and Disclosure all obtained major spots underneath OutKast, Muse, and Arcade Fire.
2015 - ACDC, Jack White, Drake
Tickets were gone within 20 minutes after going on sale, and with good reason. Not only were people presented with a legendary list of ACDC, Jack White, and Drake, but the latter broke the internet when his special guest, Madonna – the queen of pop – planted a kiss on the rapper’s lips live on stage.
2016 - LCD Soundsystem, Guns N’ Roses, Calvin Harris
Coachella 2016 was one of reunification for two of its three headliners; Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose and Slash, made amends after a decade long divide, and LCD Soundsystem reconnected after announcing their disbandment in 2011.
2017 - Radiohead, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar
When Beyoncé became pregnant with twins, she pulled out of her headlining slot, leaving Lady Gaga to take her place. Kendrick Lamar also made his debut appearance before returning the following year in a surprise collaboration with Vince Staples during his set’s finale.
2018 - The Weeknd, Beyoncé, Eminem
“Beychella” was coined after the iconic Beyoncé made history as the first Black woman to headline the festival. Her performance would later be the subject of 2019 Netflix documentary Homecoming. Eminem and The Weeknd rounded out the slate for an R&B and rap-filled event.
2019 - Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Ariana Grande
The year before the pandemic shut down large-scale music events, the top-billed performers covered the musical spectrum with Childish Gambino’s hip-hop, Ariana Grande’s pop, and Tame Impala’s alternative indie. Grande’s guest appearance of Justin Timberlake’s boy band NSYNC made for a notable weekend.
2022 - Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd
Last year’s festival invited the biggest names in music to reawaken it from its three-year interruption. Harry Styles made his desert debut, joined by Billie Eilish and The Weeknd, who replaced Kanye West, after he pulled out last minute.
2023 - Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, Frank Ocean
This year, Bad Bunny makes history as the first-ever Latin American, spanish-language artist to headline the festival, while BLACKPINK also become the first-ever K-Pop group to perform on the main stage. Meanwhile, Frank Ocean makes his grand return, after having last performed at Coachella in 2012.
Coachella takes place 14-16 April and 21-23 April at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.