Coachella’s organizers have undoubtedly been busy: in a season marred with last minute cancellations, controversies, and inevitable left turns, Paul Tollett and Goldenvoice have definitely been putting in some overtime hours. Hence, one of the latest schedule drops in the festival’s history — nearly 24 hours before the festival begins, to be exact.
Such a late set time release means there’s even less time to make decisions about who to see, especially given the festival’s conflict-heavy time table. There are some traditional surprises with the schedule drop — Ari Lennox has moved her set to Friday and J.I.D.’s set will go down on Saturday, for instance — but no surprise is more intriguing than the news that Arcade Fire will be performing a special set in the Mojave Tent at 6:45 p.m. (sidenote: the run of Carly Rae Jepsen, to Arcade Fire, to IDLES in the Mojave is pretty remarkable).
There are some more creative stage choices by Coachella’s organizers that stick out: legacy space rock act Spiritualized will play a set undoubtedly filled with new songs from their upcoming album Everything Was Beautiful in the cozy, air-conditioned Sonora Tent, 100 gecs will be bringing their gloriously absurd hyperpop to the appropriately massive Sahara Tent, and the buzzy collective 88 Rising will take a prime slot on the mainstage on Saturday evening.
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But with all these unmissable acts come some tough choices. Here are the six biggest conflicts at Coachella 2022. Choose wisely!
Japanese Breakfast vs. Arlo Parks vs. Emo Nite
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
This is a bit of a cruel one, especially for fans of both Arlo Parks and Japanese Breakfast. Both artists had massive breakthrough years in 2021, including nominations for Best New Artist at the Grammys last month (they even took a photo together!). Not only is choosing between these two incredible artists tough, there’s also Emo Nite—which is a DJ set that promises emo and pop punk classics and will certainly include some special, scene-specific guests—around the same time in the Sahara tent.
Our Pick: Japanese Breakfast is truly having a moment right now, and her Coachella set promises to be the victory lap that she deserves. That being said, Arlo Parks’ new track “Softly” is one of her best yet, so you can’t go wrong with either.
Doja Cat vs. Måneskin vs. Fatboy Slim vs. Duke Dumont
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The TikTok Gods are undoubtedly mad about this one. In the same way that Doja Cat’s discography is impossible to ignore on TikTok, Eurovision winners Måneskin have also enjoyed a similar kind of exposure. Though their styles could not be more different, they’re both artists that accurately reflected the melting pot of popular music in 2021.
And then, there’s Norman Cook — AKA Fatboy Slim — playing at the same time as another dance music heavyweight, Duke Dumont. Fatboy Slim’s appearance is undoubtedly more unique, and with a 90 minute set time in the deep house-oriented Yuma tent, his set will likely be worth checking out, if only for a few minutes.
Our Pick: Doja Cat claimed recently that she’s quitting music, and whether that ends up being true or not, her set is sure to be quite the spectacle. It’s unlikely, but there’s also a chance we see The Weeknd show up to perform “You Right” with Doja Cat.
BROCKHAMPTON vs. Flume vs. black midi
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
BROCKHAMPTON’s final show ever against Flume’s first show back from a lengthy hiatus is already cruel, but add in the conflict with black midi, and it’s even worse. BROCKHAMPTON’s set is sure to be a historic, career-spanning celebration, Flume will undoubtedly bring some incredible guests (including Caroline Polachek, who just featured on Flume’s ethereal new single, “Sirens”), and black midi is… well… an absolutely insane live band.
There are some incredible musicians set to perform at Coachella this weekend, but very, very few possess the practically inhuman level of talent that the black midi boys boast. But black midi and Flume will certainly continue to tour, and BROCKHAMPTON won’t.
Our Pick: BROCKHAMPTON was not only an exciting moment in music, it was an experiment that thoroughly paid off, a powerful intersection of hip-hop, pop, and boy-band sensibilities spread across a myriad of identities, equally harmonious as it was aggressive. So, it’s gotta be them — with luck, you can catch the others some time in the near future.
Caroline Polachek vs. Disclosure vs. Turnstile
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Depending on your taste, this conflict is a no-brainer: The dance-oriented fans will flock to Disclosure, the pop lovers will go to Caroline Polachek, and the moshpit starters will be flying high at Turnstile. But if you’re like me, and you think all of these acts are incredible and worth seeing, then this one is brutal. Caroline Polachek’s new single “Billions” and her incredible 2021 single “Bunny Is A Rider” are potential Coachella 2022 anthems, but Turnstile’s Glow On was one of the best albums of last year.
Not only that, Disclosure has put out some great new music in the last couple years, and any opportunity to see the two brothers play “Latch” with some live drums is worth seeing.
Our Pick: This is perhaps the toughest one, but it’s gotta be Caroline — her live vocals are unforgettable, and matching that with Coachella’s blissful evening air is a great way to spend Saturday night.
Phoebe Bridgers vs. The Avalanches vs. Amyl & the Sniffers
Friday 9:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.
While dozens of attendees will flock to the Outdoor Theater to see Phoebe Bridgers, we can’t dismiss how great The Avalanches and Amyl & the Sniffers will be. Amyl and her fellow Aussie rockers are sure to perform a blistering, electrifying set in the Sonora tent, while the sample-heavy Avalanches will be bringing their eclectic vibes to the Gobi. It’s one of the toughest choices on Friday night, and regardless of which act you choose, there will be different kinds of cathartic energies in each set.
Our Pick: Phoebe Bridgers is about to drop a new song “Sidelines,” and debuted it at her show in Phoenix, Arizona last night — plus, she’s skyrocketed in popularity since her 2020 LP Punisher, and her prime Coachella slot is a deserving victory lap.
Harry Styles vs. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Friday 11:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Conflicts with headliners are always inevitable at Coachella, but this one feels particularly cruel: with so few guitar bands on the lineup, putting King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard against the undeniable Harry Styles is a bit of a tough choice. King Gizz are gearing up to release their new double LP Omnium Gatherum, and every show they play has an air of excitement and jam-rock energy.
And then, there’s Harry Styles, fresh off the release of “As It Was.” Styles’ show is certainly a unique, rare festival appearance, and as he prepares to release his new LP Harry’s House, there’s a good chance we’ll get some new tunes.
Our Pick: We’ll be seeing Harry, but we’ll definitely be dreaming about the psych rock explosion happening right next door on the Outdoor Theater.