Coachella returns to rock roots with veterans and rising stars

Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:01pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the summer festival season kicks off on Friday with Southern California's annual music event Coachella, the event has side-stepped the chart hitmakers to this year return to its rock music and taste-maker roots.

While the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival in Indio, California, secured top-selling artists such as Paul McCartney, Prince, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Jay-Z and Kanye West in the past, this year's headliners include two recently reunited Brit-rock bands and a rising French band.

Veteran British bands The Stone Roses, who reunited in 2011 after 15 years apart, and Blur, who reunited in 2008 after a six-year hiatus, will headline Friday, marking both bands' first performance in North America after their respective reunions.

French rockers Phoenix will play primetime on Saturday and California's funk-rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers will close out the festival on Sunday.

The headliners show the festival moving away from the electronic dance music acts that they featured prominently in recent years, with EDM artists such as Calvin Harris, Kaskade and Swedish House Mafia's Alesso at 2012's festival.

Coachella, which began as a two-day festival touting rock music in 1999, has expanded into a three-day festival with more than 150 bands performing on six separate stages, with the same line-up featured across two consecutive weekends in April.

This year's line-up sees significantly less dance acts among top acts, with Bassnectar, Paul Oakenfold, Eric Prydz and Robert DeLong lower down on the roster.

"The lineup seems a little more rock-ish than last year, but it's still really hip, and would attract the same sort of crowd who usually attend," Ray Waddell, executive director at Billboard covering touring and live entertainment, told Reuters.   Continued...

People dance on the final day of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California April 15, 2012. REUTERS/David McNew