Battle Of The Music Festivals 2015: We Compare Coachella, Governors Ball And Lollapalooza

Bianca Gracie | April 8, 2015 11:41 am
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From Björk to Fifth Harmony to Madonna, you are bound to find a fave!

The first quarter marks the start of music festival season, and the madness has already begun! With so many options to choose from, it is often hard to tell which festival will give you more bang for your buck. Let’s face it, some are not worth their increasingly dramatic ticket prices!

We at Idolator are here to nitpick three of the biggest festivals in the country — California’s Coachella (April 10-12 and April 17-19), New York’s Governors Ball (June 5-7) and Chicago’s Lollapalooza (July 3-August 2) — to guide you in your musical joyride decision for the upcoming months. But if you missed out on the sold-out tickets, there is always a live stream!

Check out our comparisons, from the lineup to the overall vibe, below.


COACHELLAThis year brings headliners like hard rock veterans AC/DC (both Fridays), Jack White (Saturday) and Drake (Sunday). Other performers include Florence + The Machine, David Guetta, The Weeknd, Axwell, Kiesza, Marina And The Diamonds, RAC, and Gorgon City. If you’re not into those selections, don’t fret! Coachella is known for bringing a ton of acts that span across almost all genres — so you’re bound to find an artist you love or discover someone new. The festival released their set times today (April 8), which is infamous for having a multitude of scheduling conflicts. The biggest ones are Jack White, Tyler the Creator, FKA Twigs on Saturday, and St. Vincent and Jamie xx on Sunday. Choose wisely!

GOVERNORS BALL — The good news about these festivals is that many artists will perform at multiple ones. So if you missed someone like Florence + The Machine at Coachella, for example, you can also catch her at both Governors Ball and Lollapalooza. The NYC fest is bringing artists like Drake, Lana Del Rey, Björk, Charli XCXMarina And The Diamonds, Clean Bandit, Gorgon City, Kiesza and even Weird Al Yankovic. Are you noticing a pattern here? The official press release points out this festival will mark the first time that Lana, Florence and Björk (talk about girl power) have performed in New York City since 2012. So that may be an important decision-making factor.

LOLLAPALOOZA — When it comes to this festival lineup, the acts are a bit more legendary and lean towards the rock spectrum — but it doesn’t come as a surprise. Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell had this to say about last year’s lineup: “We don’t look to stylize our lineup so much as we just stay away from pop garbage.” Paul McCartney is this year’s headliner and will be making his first appearance at Lollapalooza, while Metallica is taking the stage for the first time since 1996. If you’re into more of the pop spectrum of music, Sam Smith, BanksRyn Weaver, WALK THE MOON, The Weeknd, FKA Twigs, Chet FakerTove Lo, Charli XCX and Sheppard are all booked to perform.


COACHELLA — This event takes place in April every year (it kicks off this weekend, by the way) — which means the Cali desert will be scorching hot, but not enough to the point where it’s unbearable. So you can rock that scantily-clad outfit hiding in the back of your closet and no one will blink an eye The more ventilation, the better! Just be sure to stay hydrated, passing out in the middle of the fields is not cute.

GOVERNORS BALL — The festival is on Randall’s Island in New York City. So if you live in any of the five boroughs (or New Jersey), the local train and bus service will give you an easy enough access to the isle. But it does tend to rain a lot in the city during that time of year, and it’s very unpredictable. So be prepared for a downpour (or two) over the festival weekend.

LOLLAPALOOZA — Like the other festivals, Lollapalooza is subject to sweltering heat and heavy rainfall. That being said, don’t be afraid to rock your mom’s fanny pack filled with everyday necessities or carry an army-approved canteen.


COACHELLA — When it comes to shocking moments, Coachella definitely has it on lock! Last year alone, surprise performers included Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Slash, Jay Z, Debbie Harry, Gwen Stefani, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Diddy and more. Also, who could forget that kind of scary but totally awesome Tupac hologram performance during Snoop’s set in 2012? Or when Pavement reunited in 2010, or when Blur returned to the states in 2013, or…you get the point! So if you live for anticipation and want to be one of the first to tweet about all the highlights, then this festival is for you.

GOVERNORS BALL — There has not been many notable “OMG” moments at this festival when it comes to bringing out surprise guests on stage, but you may rub shoulders with people like Madonna in the crowd!

LOLLAPALOOZA — As with Governors Ball, this one has had its fair share of surprises — but that is not the basis of the festival. Last year, Eminem brought out Rihanna for his set and Malia Obama was spotted in the audience enjoying the shows. Another highlight was back in 2010, when a nearly-naked Lady Gaga crowd-surfed during Semi-Precious Weapons’ set. If you just want to see your favorite acts play their hearts out with no extra frills added, Lollapalooza may be your best bet.


COACHELLA — The festival is very well-known for attracting celebrities — from socialites to actors. But that is where the conflict comes in. Many have complained over the years that Coachella is becoming more of a “who’s-who” Hollywood event rather than focusing on the music. So expect the air to be thick with not just heat, but snobbiness and petals from various flower crowns as well. Yet they (along with Lollapalooza) recently banned the use of selfie sticks, so that should cut out about a quarter of the pretentious show-goers who were planning to ruin your view of the stages. Their website keeps it short and sweet: “No selfie sticks/Narcissistics.” But Lollapalooza’s website is a bit more specific: “GoPro attachments like sticks, selfie sticks & monopods.”

GOVERNORS BALL — Unlike Coachella, Governors Ball is quite reasonable on the festival grounds. You don’t have to worry about shelling big bucks for something simple as a beer. They also bring out local food vendors, which is a nice touch. Though it may be a music-filled party, one must remember they are still in New York. The festival attendees probably won’t be the nicest (we’re sorry in advance), so if you’re not used to the infamous attitude embedded in almost everyone in the state then it may not be for you.

LOLLAPALOOZA — Out of the three music festivals, Lollapalooza is most likely the more laid-back option. The snobbiness is not to be expected as much, yet you may still see a bevy of out-of-town sorority girls donning flower crowns like it’s still 2013 (thanks, Lana Del Rey!). Yes, you might get shoved and a little muddied — but that’s the fun of it all, right?

Which music festivals are you planning to attend this year? Sound off in the comments below!

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.