To see an internet sensation, a reunited Destiny’s Child and the Queen Bey herself all in one place, would be legendary. At this year’s annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, these performers, along with countless other well-known artists, brought their talent and hard work to the stage. The vastly popular festival, held from April 13-15 and April 20-22 this year, was record-breaking in every sense of the phrase. In the heat of the Colorado Desert in California, some of the most prominent artists of today’s pop-culture landscape came to grace thousands of festival fanatics with their presence.
Tickets to Coachella started at a whopping $429 (Time, “What It Really Costs to Go to Coachella 2018,” 03.29.2018), with people planning their outfits far in advance for each event within the festival. Many of those attending make it known by inundating their Instagram accounts with images of their festival aesthetic, while those not in attendance grow increasingly envious each day. Despite the visual appeal and social capital of Coachella, its base allure comes from the music. Here are some of the most talked and tweeted about artists:
The headlining artist was the queen of contemporary music culture, Beyoncé. Her performance has been in the works for months, and it definitely paid off. She hit every note and nailed every move flawlessly. Moreover, the extent to which Beyoncé has worked to revolutionize cultural and musical concepts for Coachella is astounding. Celebrating her newfound status as the first Black woman to headline Coachella in its 19-year run, Beyoncé decided to pay a tribute to Black culture, not only donating a $100,000 to four of America’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), but also designing her entire set to give off “HBCU vibes” (CNN, “After #Beychella, Beyoncé is donating $100,000 to historically black colleges,” 04.17.2018). Attendees and adoring fans remain intoxicated by Beyoncé’s success in bringing cultural significance and historical weight to her performance.
Beyoncé set the tone when she arrived to the stage wearing a regal and dazzling band leader uniform. On the stage, which resembled stadium bleachers, there was the full marching band, consisting of 100 Black band members performing drumline song arrangements, plus a slew of majorettes. Everything pulsed with high energy to the constant beat. Perhaps the most exciting moment, certainly one Beyoncé devotees have waited years for, arrived when Destiny’s Child reunited to sing the 1999 girl group favorite, “Say my Name.” Beyoncé brought even more of her loved ones to the stage: She sang a duet with her talented younger sister, Solange, and performed with her husband, Jay-Z, who rapped alongside her.
Needless to say, this artist brought all the love to Coachella, unabashedly and in style. With her jaw-dropping performance, Beyoncé once again proved her reign over pop culture and what it means to be an icon in the 21st century.
The Yodeling Boy (aka Mason Ramsey)
What would Coachella be without an Internet sensation? What started as somebody filming a young boy yodeling in Walmart quickly went viral. The video of said yodeler, Mason Ramsey, garnered over 50,000 retweets since its March 24 debut on Twitter (Time, “The Internet Has Fallen Hard For This Boy Yodeling at Walmart,” 04.02.2018). After his rise in popularity through social media, Ramsey made a guest appearance and yodeled on the Coachella stage, but not before going on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” For some, the pace at which Ramsey rose to fame can only be described as life goals achieved. However, in the yodeler’s case, the road to fame appears easier than it actually is. Although this is probably an exaggeration, Ramsey says he has performed in Walmart over 50,000 times to prove his dedication to the art. When DeGeneres asked him why he always sings in Walmart, he responded, “Well, because that’s the only store we’ve got” (YouTube, “Kid Yodeler Mason Ramsey Performs,” 04.10.2018).
Moreover, the yodeling boy’s fan base encompasses all types of people, including celebrities. Circulating the internet is a picture of Justin Bieber taking a selfie with him at Coachella. The only question is, who’s the bigger fan of whom? What we do know is that this 10-year-old certainly yodeled his way into the hearts of the nation.
As the woman with the most nominations at the 2018 Grammys, who nevertheless didn’t win a single award, SZA showed her fortitude at Coachella. Her performance was criticized due to technical difficulties and guest performers failing to show up. Worst of all, she lost her voice. In an Instagram post on the aftermath, she wrote, “Couldn’t believe it was all happening on my biggest stage to date” (Uproxx, “SZA Brought Out Khalid At Coachella To Perform ‘Young, Dumb And Broke’,” 04.21.2018). However, once SZA brought out the acclaimed Khalid later in the festival, on April 20, to sing his hit, “Young Dumb & Broke,” I could tell she was back. Khalid didn’t have his own set at Coachella, but he definitely deserved one. It was exhilarating to see both artists performing their best side by side.
This 15-person boy band from San Marcos, TX—now based in California—arrived 15 minutes late to their afternoon set. Even though they were fashionably late, the group did not hesitate to bring hype to the performance. Starting off their new single “Boogie” with a violin solo brought suspense and excitement to those familiar with the song, which is a total bop. The sheer volume of sound and collaboration created by Brockhampton’s rappers, musicians and creative directors is something to marvel at. They provide a sense of teamwork and community for their fans—just from watching a video of them performing at the festival, it’s clear that the group members vibe with one another, laughing and singing as one (YouTube, “Brockhampton – Gold- Live at Coachella 2018 Weekend 1,” 04.17.2018). At Coachella, Brockhampton’s dynamic performance made it evident that sticking together can pay off.