Just Asking: So, Um, Who’s Going To Headline Coachella In 2013?

AP080426037604.jpgOver at Hitsville, Bill Wyman responded to my ravings about Coachella–specifically, my love for the sets by Prince, Portishead, Kraftwerk, the Breeders, and the Verve–with the riposte “Didn’t I see this show in 1995? I certainly could have, except for Kraftwerk…” A fair point, and one that I found myself thinking about a fair bit during the course of the weekend (like, for example, when Swervedriver tore into “Rave Down” and “Son Of Mustang Ford” back-to-back–not that I wasn’t thrilled, but you know). But are there any acts who have come up since the turn of the millennium who can headline a 50,000-capacity festival? And what does my having to think long and hard about rounding such a list up to five (1. Jack Johnson; 2. Hmmm….) mean for the future health of the festival circuit?

My initial answer: It’s not good. And further thinking about this looming crunch has made me wonder if the current festival bubble we’re seeing now isn’t dissimilar to the housing bubble that’s been deflating over the past 18 months or so–festivals are in the “unsustainable growth on the backs of depleting resources” part of the cycle, with the big reunions and big names that draw in people now being sort of analagous to “exotic” mortgages in that there’s a payoff now (Prince appearance that results in Saturday night being a sellout/smaller mortgage payment that allows you to spend money on frivolous items like Coachella tickets) that will turn into a liability later unless people get creative (reunion shows coming around for the second time and losing their “special” luster/whopping increase in mortgage payment). In the case of avoiding the high mortgage payment, “getting creative” meant flipping the house before the market went tits-up, but how are organizers of festivals this year going to do the same? Forcing Prince and Roger Waters to engage in a dance-off to figure out, once and for all, whose house each festival site actually is? Getting Jay-Z and Stephen Malkmus to do a half-assed version of “The Slack Album” live? Or maybe, in an effort to maximize crossover potential, having T-Pain on hand for run-ins during every single set of the entire weekend? (At the very least, imagining what My Morning Jacket will sound like with Teddy Pinned-Her-Ass-Down glommed onto their sound has made me giggle for the past five solid minutes.)

The best show of the year? [Hitsville]
[Photo: AP]

  • Rob Murphy

    Who’s going to headline Coachella in 5 years? Why, a reunited Black Eyed Peas, obvs.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Rumor has it that 2023 will bring a special appearance by the
    chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Devendra Banhart

  • joe bananas

    I completely agree with everything you’ve said here. I was looking over the lineup for every festival recently for a piece i was working on, and i was *astonished* at how many of them relied on headliners who made their names ten or more years ago. I think a lot of this has to do w/ the fact that culture wasn’t nearly as fragmented then, so there were these “shared” bands, which help constructed a kind of legacy. I cannot imagine what this is going to mean for future festivals. Arcade Fire reunion, maybe? I cant figure any bands from the ’00s, really, that will generate the necessary “heat.”

  • chaircrusher

    Coachella is the festival for people who came of age 15-20 years ago and only now can afford to take off a weekend, pay for lodging and a stiff ticket, in order to see all the acts they couldn’t see when they were actually current.

    There are plenty of places to see interesting music — often for $5 and all the $2 PBRs you can drink, but you have to actually learn something about your local music scene, and occasionally sit through someone who’s complete shite.

    Me, I splurge on going to Detroit for the Electronic Music Festival every Memorial Day Weekend. $40 for 3 days this year, and that comes with a chance to heckle Moby and Benny Benassi. And who doesn’t love beautiful, sunny Detroit?

  • Rob Murphy

    Is this a blind item? well then…

    A SuperGroup composed of members of: Abba; post-Syd-Barrett Pink Floyd; Velvet Revolver; and Miley Cyrus.

  • OJS

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing yesterday morning when everyone was gushing about Prince and Portishead. I feel like I’ve missed the boat with these music festivals. I guess there is always a chance G’NR could headline. Some year.

  • AL

    Nickelback reunion.

  • NickEddy

    2013 = Prince, Portishead, Kraftwerk, the Breeders, and the Verve




  • Nicolars

    I just hope there’s more Roger Waters! Got to keep the basement dwelling sci-fi shut-ins happy…

  • dog door

    just stop already with the Roger Waters hate. it really just makes you look ignorant.

  • Rob Murphy

    Feist featuring Soulja Boy?

  • AL

    Tay Zonday, Riskay, and Samwell

  • Thierry

    A reunited Dru Hill?

  • joe bananas

    @dog door:
    On the contrary, I would say excessive praise of the same is far more embarrassing. Do not get Pink Floyd, nor will I ever.

  • Maura Johnston

    @dog door: was that directed at me? i was merely referencing the two headliners’ competing claims that they ‘owned’ coachella.

  • Anonymous

    Only 1 group can headline coachella in 2013

    N Sync.

    i will totally die if they are there lol.

  • janine

    @dog door: I think it makes him look cool.

    Anyway, not that i was totally sentient then, but my understanding is not that Kraftwerk was a big-stage, festival act in their original heyday. I think that chaircrusher is probably right that it would be whatever was popular with the cool kids 15-20 years before. Plus R. Kelly, just out of prison.

    However, he/she’s completely wrong about PBR. That shit is no better a deal than government cheese. It’s not worth the money you save. Better to bring a flask from home or watch a show sober if you’re seriously contemplating PBR. Genesee Cream Ale, however…

  • Rob Murphy

    Heidi Montag, Audrina Partridge, Lauren Conrad, Whitney Port, and Nicole Scherzinger featuring Yung Joc & Cledus T. Judd?

  • Thierry

    @Rob Murphy: Is there any way that we can make this happen RIGHT NOW?

  • Anonymous

    @Rob Murphy: Beat me to the Miley Cyrus joke, except I actually think she’ll be the headliner of your Heidi/Audrina/etc. show. Bets on whether she’ll be topless for said show start in 3…2…1…

  • science vs romance

    given the crush in the sahara, maybe a big dance-crossover act is bound for mainstage. Could someone like M.I.A. or Daft Punk fill the lawn as well as they cram a tent?

  • Tauwan

    Da Band, Dream, Danity Kane, and Day 26?