Coachella 2022: 15 things we’ll remember about the festival

View Original Notice ? Coachella 2022: 15 things we’ll remember about the festival

After returning for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival brought hundreds of artists and an expected 250,000 or so fans to the Empire Polo Club in Indio over two weekends.

The Southern California News Group Team crisscrossed the fields April 15-17 and April 22-24 to see music, art and more. These are the memorable moments we’re taking back with us.

1. The historic Coachella and Stagecoach crossover

Sure, Yola and Orville Peck both played Coachella and are on the books for next weekend’s sister event the Stagecoach Country Music Festival, but Shania Twain made history on Friday of Weekend 1. When she showed up to sing “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “Still the One” with headliner Harry Styles, she became the first performer to appear in a headlining set at both festivals.  — Vanessa Franko

Karol G performs during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Sunday, April 24, 2022. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Contributing Photographer)

2. The passing of the reggaeton torch

Colombian singer Karol G included a celebration of the influence of Latin artists and the No. 1 songs that influenced global music during her Sunday set on the main stage. She performed snippets of hits in chronological order from Selena’s “Como la Flor” and Ricky Martin’s “Maria” to Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie.” (And we’ve forgiven her for putting the “Macarena” back in our heads.)  However for Weekend 2, Karol G was joined by J Balvin, another fellow Colombian reggaeton star, who said he was happy and proud to know the star who he remembers meeting when she was in college and taking music classes. It was a heartwarming moment to watch one successful reggaetonero who played the festival and shared the stage with Bad Bunny in 2019, welcome another star on the rise. — Peter Larsen and Charlie Vargas

Danny Elfman performs at the Outdoor Theatre during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Saturday, April 16, 2022. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Contributing Photographer)

3. Best theatrical experience

Former Oingo Boingo frontman and famed film composer Danny Elfman was ferocious during his Coachella debut and played a career-encapsulating hour-long set that included a mix of classic Oingo Boingo songs, new music from his industrial Goth double album “Big Mess” and a variety of pieces from his work on films like “Batman,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.”It was his first true solo show in more than 27 years and it was sonically and visually wild and weird, with Elfman leading the charge and fellow Oingo Boingo member Steve Bartek directing the orchestra and choir.  — Kelli Skye Fadroski

Tom Higgenson, middle, from The Plain White T’s, performs with Emo Nite on the Sahara Stage during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio on Saturday, April 16, 2022. (Photo by Rodrigo Pena, Contributing Photographer)

4. Best place to bust out your band T-shirts from Hot Topic

Few emo bands have played Coachella (Jimmy Eat World and Sunny Day Real Estate played so long ago there weren’t twin weekends), so for everyone who has ever needed to have a cathartic scream-along to My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise),” there was the late Saturday afternoon Emo Nite set in the Sahara, which included guest spots from Tom Higgenson of Plain White T’s and Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach over the weekends. However, a close second would be the main stage on Weekend 2, where Hayley Williams from Paramore joined Billie Eilish to sing the emo punk hit “Misery Business” and Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever.” — V.F.

Fans scream as Grupo Firme takes the stage during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Friday, April 22, 2022. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Contributing Photographer)

5. Best dance party at the main stage

Once the trumpet solos began to blow, and the tubas joined it with their deep tones, it was nearly impossible to stay still and not dance to Grupo Firme, the Tijuana-based rising kings of banda music. They danced on stage, took what looked like tequila shots and got the crowd dancing. Some fans were draped in Mexican flags and cowboy boots, others seemed like they’ve never heard of the band, but couldn’t help but hop along to the catchy beats. — Richard Guzman

Duck Sauce perform on the Sahara tent during Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Sunday, April 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

6. Most popular stage prop

If you didn’t bring an inflatable set piece to your performance at Coachella did you really even Coachella? Brockhampton had a giant gorilla for its final shows as a band. Duck Sauce had, you guessed it, a giant duck in Sahara and on Weekend 1, Arcade Fire had an army of those inflatable dancing figures you see outside car lots to join the already crowded stage of the Mojave at the end of the band’s surprise set. — V.F.

Maneskin performs in the Mojave Tent during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio on Sunday, April 17, 2022. (Photo by Rodrigo Pena, Contributing Photographer)

7. Wildest European rockers

The Italian rock quartet Måneskin brought their raunchy, raucous rock ‘n’ roll to the desert in Mojave on Sunday. Winners of the 2021 Eurovision contest, at Coachella’s first weekend singer Damiano David arrived on stage in a ruffled lace dressing gown over knee-high boots, fishnet stockings, and, well, bondage gear. They played their Eurovision winner, “Zitti e Buoni,” a handful of other originals, and a cover of Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ “Now I Wanna Be Your Dog.” — P.L.

L’Imperatrice performs in the Gobi tent during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Saturday, April 23, 2022. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Contributing Photographer)

8. Best French disco

L’Impératrice had a moment at Coachella with a set that packed Gobi with fans dancing to their chic French pop, funk and disco. Dressed in costume Pierre Cardin outfits, the smooth grooves drew an overflow crowd that left sweaty and ecstatic after a swinging dance party on Saturday. – P.L.

9. Weirdest performance of the weekend

The English post-punk noise rock band Black Midi is unusual on its own. But when the band played the song “John L” and brought out four red bodysuit-clad colorfully bewigged dancers to perform during a song that is apparently about cult members turning on their leader? Think of it as Pee-wee Herman crossed with Teletubbies on acid and that’s about as close as we can get to it. — P.L.

Giselle Woo & The Night Owls perform in the Sonora tent on weekend two of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio on Friday, April 22, 2022. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

10. Most charismatic performance

It was a dream come true for Coachella Valley locals Giselle Woo and the Night Owls to play the festival. On Friday afternoon of Weekend 1 the Cathedral City natives stepped onto the Sonora tent and performed a bilingual set that included songs from their new album “Everything.” But there was one guy on the side of the stage that nearly stole the show from the band thanks to an incredibly passionate performance by an American Sign Language interpreter. He sang the words to nearly every song, danced along to all the beats, and with his eyes closed and rhythmic movements it seemed almost as if the hand signs he was doing were part of a choreographed dance. It was hard to keep your eyes off him. — R.G.

11. Do say gay!

Rina Sawayama, the Japanese pop singer based in London, wrote the song “Cherry” about her coming out as queer, and with her Lady Gaga-esque messages of self-empowerment and living your true life, her set in Gobi was a lovefest for LGBTQ pride on the first weekend of the fest. At one point on Saturday, she asked the crowd to follow her in a chant: “When I say, ‘say,’ you say ‘gay,’” Sawayama asked after talking about some of the recent U.S. laws that have targeted gay rights. The result was a several rounds of the entire tent shouting “gay!” loud enough to be heard in Florida. — P.L.

Festival-goers take in the art installation Circular Dimensions x Microscape during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Friday, April 22, 2022. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Contributing Photographer)

12. The stage hidden in plain sight

Large-scale art is part of the fabric of Coachella and this year many of the pieces were designed to encourage people to come together and connect with each other during the festival. But one installation turned into its own dance tent where even the local artist who designed it all ended up DJ-ing. “Circular Dimensions x Microscape,” created by Palm Springs-based artist Cristopher Cichocki, was made up of three tunnels and a five-story-tall rainbow-shaped wall all made out of 25,000 feet of PVC tubes. In the daytime, the middle tunnel acted as the pavilion’s “nucleus” where artists created video images using digital microscopic manipulation of water, salt, barnacles and algae taken from the nearby Salton Sea. But at night it turned into a dance club as the artist sat behind a laptop playing a series of rhythmic sounds that had people dancing as if they were in another performance tent. — R.G.

13. Best secret bar

Every year, people search for Coachella’s hidden tiki bar, where they can go chill out under the shade and away from the big Coachella crowds. This year the bar was back and not really trying all that hard to hide, since the entrance, which was a tiki shack with a straw roof, was plainly visible between the Gobi and Mojave tents. There was no need for a VIP pass or any other sort of credential to get in. You just had to be at least 21 and once you walked pass the rope and down a hallway decorated with artificial green plants, you entered a tropical oasis filled with trees, a volcano, tables made from barrels and even a fake red parrot in a cage. The whole place made you feel like a VIP with a secret. — R.G.

14. Most meaningful tribute

Jamaican singer and rapper Koffee represented her homeland with her main stage sets at the fest Sunday. She also paid a subdued yet powerful tribute to Jamaica’s greatest music legend Bob Marley when she performed a cover of “Redemption Song.” As a guitarist played the opening chords, some people who had been walking by the set heading to another stage turned around to hear her heartfelt cover as images of Bob Marley were projected on the big screens. A few people near the front of the stage raised their Jamaican flags as the young Grammy-winning rising reggae star payed homage to a hometown hero. — R.G.

Turnstile’s Brendan Yates performs on the Mojave stage during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Saturday, April 16, 2022. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Contributing Photographer)

15. Best place to work off the calories from post-festival fast food runs

There was no shortage of punk-oriented bands playing this year at the festival, including The Chats, Idles, and Viagra Boys, which were all great. But if engagement is measured by who had the biggest pit, it was without a doubt Baltimore, Maryland’s Turnstile. The hardcore band had fans headbanging, slam dancing and running through circle pits. You did it wrong if you walked out of their set without a single sore muscle. — C.V.

See all of our the photo galleries from Coachella 2022

See our complete Coachella 2022 coverage.

Mittens & Max - Personalized Pet Urns-Keepsakes-Jewelry