The Electronic Reign: Coachella to embrace a nearly 50% presence of dance music artists this year
Whether you’re sad or glad about Drake’s headlining position on Coachella’s 2015 line up, there’s no debating that Goldenvoice’s premier festival caught the entire world’s attention on Tuesday morning with their line up unveil. Over 160 of today’s most coveted talents will join AC/DC, Jack White and Drake in Indio, California this coming April for two weekends in a row. And while dispute over how this year’s roster compares to expectations is a normal reaction the festival faces every year, one particular complaint is beginning to shine above the rest of the Coachella banter.
Though born in roots of rock and indie folk, Coachella has always openly welcomed all genres including hip-hop, pop, and electronic music. This year, Coachella still remains true to their pledge of delivering diversity, but surprisingly have found themselves latched particularly tight to one genre in specific. Out of the approximate 160 announced artists, nearly 70 of the artists released fall under the electronic and EDM category, making it a standout representation of the festival with nearly a 50% presence amongst other hip-hop, folk, pop, and rock acts. Compared to the the mere 15 rock artists and scathingly low approximation of 13 hip-hop acts, 2015’s Coachella will be heavily dominated by the likes of Cedric Gervais, Kaskade, Axwell V Ingrosso, Kygo, and others this coming year.
Five years ago, Tiësto was the only electronic representative to debut past the festival’s traditional poster’s second headlines, and less than 20 of his fellow DJ and producer peers performed alongside him in 2010. Steadily, the number of electronic acts added to Coachella’s roster have increased in the past five years: 2011 had 30, then 36, 39, and nearly 45 just last year.
Though the title honor of being named a main headliner has yet to be awarded to any electronic name (not even Daft Punk earned a top billing), there’s no denying that electronic kingpins are already making waves on their own accord: 2014 attendees may recall the indignant remark that came from Arcade Fire during the show’s first weekend: lead singer Win Butler shouted out “all the bands still playing actual instruments” while Calvin Harris pulled what was later noted as the second largest crowd in Coachella history (behind Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s reveled performance with the Tupac hologram in 2012).
Following the close of the festival’s first weekend, we questioned the anxiety behind dance music’s “takeover” that was palpable in the crowds of Coachella and determined that the genre had made its grand arrival as more than just an underground niche. Coachella – largely admired as one of the leading festivals to set precedence for the year in music to come – is providing proof that indeed, electronic music has remained not only influential, but widely popular and demanded by the masses for a festival as large-scale as Coachella in the imminent festival season.
As we enter into 2015 – and more importantly, festival season – be ready to see embrace dance music as it arrives more prominently than ever before.
But the question remains – is a bigger dance music presence good for the festival? Or will it result in Coachella losing its identity amidst bleeps and bloops? For now, only time and a romp in the Southern California desert will tell.