The Coachella 2018 lineup dropped Tuesday out of nowhere, and there weren’t any surprises among the headliners. It was known for the last week or so that Beyonce, Eminem, and The Weeknd would headline this year’s festival on the Polo Grounds.
But one pleasant surprise was the uptick in the inclusion of women on this year’s festival lineup. Of the 165 acts currently billed, at least 55 of them feature women prominently. The only reason that number isn’t 100 percent known as accurate yet is there is an act billed on Friday named Dreams that I can’t dig up any information yet — it could be a side project of someone we don’t know yet. Check out the poster if it only included women below, and read some of the statistics below the image. Forgive my poor MSPaint skills.
Fifty-six of 166 acts means women represent 33.3 percent of that Coachella 2018 lineup. That is a dramatic increase from last year’s 25.1 percent and 2016’s total of 28.3 percent — which until this year was a festival high mark.
Beyonce was set to be the first female Coachella headliner since Bjork did it for the second time in 2007, but her pregnancy caused her to cancel. Lady Gaga instead took her spot, but Beyonce will still be the first woman of color to headline Coachella.
This year’s festival also features women more prominently billed than in past years — of the top three lines on each day under the headliners, women represent 21 of the 67 acts (31.3 percent). Last year’s lineup saw just 11 of 64 acts at the top be women — 17.1 percent.
HAIM and SZA are the first-billed acts on the second lines underneath headliners The Weeknd on Friday and Beyonce on Saturday. At HAIM’s first Coachella appearance in 2014, they were billed the first act on the third line. SZA has made a dramatic leap, going from being billed on the sixth line just two years ago to her current placement. Her album Ctrl is widely regarded as one of 2017’s best. Damn Gina!
Colombian-American indie pop and R&B singer Kali Uchis is making her Coachella debut in 2018 and is featured on the lineup’s third line thanks to her massive popularity. Indie pop singer Alina Baraz and Aussie multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana are two other extremely talented women making their Coachella debuts this year and are featured on the fourth line on Saturday. Both have wowed me with live performances in the past. I predicted Tash Sultana would play Coachella 2018 after seeing her billed on the Hangout 2018 lineup.
Coachella 2018 also sees female DJs Alison Wonderland and REZZ featured on the fourth line of Friday’s lineup — the highest that a female DJ has ever appeared on the lineup to my knowledge. I first discovered Alison Wonderland at Coachella 2015 playing a daytime Sahara set and fell in love with her skills and her energy. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing her play a better time slot this year. Elohim is an electro pop producer and singer that played the DoLaB last year and is now featured on the regular Coachella lineup — she’s blown up over the past 12 months.
Though this lineup doesn’t cater to everyone and the festival seems to be moving in a more mainstream direction, it’s good to see promoter Goldenvoice at least start booking more female-led acts than ever before. That said, 33 percent is STILL not enough.