Five EDM performances that made Coachella history
Few events in the music industry resonate as loud as Coachella; it’s the music festival of music festivals. Hosting the most phenomenal artists across a wide range of genres, the annual Indio Valley mega-festival has welcomed 99,000 attendees each day and now hosts double weekends every April. It’s also a global stage played by the most iconic DJs of all time. Here, we take a look at some of the most outstanding performances that will forever go down in Coachella history.
Daft Punk (2006)
In 2006, Daft Punk took the stage and gave us what is now dubbed the best electronic Coachella set of all time. The duo, made up of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, were not just hit makers at the time, but were also budding filmmakers, having just recently entered their first directed film “Electroma” at the Cannes Film Festival sidebar Director’s Fortnight. So it wasn’t a shock at how breathtaking and ahead of its time the now-iconic Pyramid Stage was, nor the sound produced. What really set this apart was the level of visual production. Ultimately, the set raved up the entire 40,000-people tent and altogether elevated the standards of performance at the festival.
After Daft Punk’s iconic performance, EDM took a backseat at Coachella up until Tiesto’s main stage closing performance in 2010. Sure, it was relatively simple in production. But following rock-worshipping stages played by bands like Muse and The Dillinger Escape Plan, it was a thrill watching a disk jockey like Tiesto. He managed to stir up the huge crowd by playing recorded music in front of two screens — a stark contrast to the slam and clang of rock bands festival attendees were used to at that point. This performance cemented the fact that EDM was to become a mainstay in the festival and rave scene.
Zedd ft. Kesha (2016)
A-list electronic artist Zedd responsible for hit album “Clarity” took Coachella by storm in 2016. But it was especially memorable when Kesha entered the set, performing Zedd’s title track “True Colors”. At the time, the pop artist was in the middle of a heated legal battle against her then-producer Dr. Luke, inciting fans around the world to begin the “Free Kesha” movement. The one-song performance sent a strong message about the plight of women amid a male-dominated music industry, and the fact that music is and should always be for and about freedom.
Nina Kraviz (2019)
Along with high-profile performances of Childish Gambino and KPop sensation BLACKPINK, superstar DJ Nina Kravis took us into a more intimate live stage when she recreated her Russian apartment as part of her Coachella set. It was a nuanced act more about artistic expression in a time dominated by popular mainstream music performances. Behind her, pre-recorded videos were played that featured bizarre clips of her daily life — including her rolling on her carpet – garnering polarized reactions from fans and critics. Whether you loved it or hated it, the performance thrust her into the Coachella spotlight and made way for avant-garde artists in the festival scene.
Thomas Wesley Pentz is famously known as Diplo, one half of Jack Ü with Skrillex and founder of Major Lazer, made his stage truly special by performing solo on weekend one of Coachella in 2019. Prior to this Pentz has kept himself busy with not just one, but two labels of his own: Mad Decent and then-in-the-works Higher Ground. We can’t really blame him. As an artist, starting a record label has plenty of benefits — from full control over your own creative decision to sharing fresh sounds from new artists you sign on. This experience showed in Diplo’s creative and original performance in 2019, effectively establishing his place in the music festival scene both as a producer and as an electronic music icon.
The face of EDM has continued to evolve throughout the years, and Coachella has brought us something new each time: from House to Trap, fast beats to bass drops. It leaves many critics, fans, and enthusiasts alike holding their breaths and thinking one thing: what phenomenal and eccentric sounds can we expect in the years to come