What Coachella 2017 Will Mean For Dance Music Moving Forward


Coachella 2017 is still a few months out, but anticipation for its next edition is already running high. With the passing of this year’s festival season follows suit a hunger for a new set of lineups to obsess over, and Coachella is certainly leading the pack in this regard. DJ Snake and DJ Khaled have both leaked their slots on the roster, while a number of alleged headliners like Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyonce have also been hinted at.

If the trend of previous years follows suit, Goldenvoice won’t begin to reveal the official lineup until January, and aside from some fairly reliable predictions, we’ll have to wait until then to get a better idea of what to expect from the upcoming event.

As illustrated by a timeline put together by Billboard, the evolution of Coachella’s lineup over the years has seen great changes, but electronic dance music has remained a permanent fixture at the festival since its inaugural edition in 1999. Coachella’s first ever lineup boasted a number of leading acts from the electronic music realm, including Underworld, The Chemical Brothers and Moby, while subsequent events would see the genre’s popularity wax and wane from year to year. Not surprisingly, dance music’s presence on the Coachella lineup saw a massive surge in popularity starting in 2011, and has competed with indie music to be the festival’s dominant genre ever since.


Over the years, the Sahara Tent, Goldenvoice’s answer to EDC and Ultra, has served as one of Coachella’s top ranking destinations, with a number of the festival’s most historic moments occurring under its canopy. 2006 saw synthpop veterans Depeche Mode acting as headliner, while Daft Punk unveiled the legendary pyramid stage production that same year at the festival.

A few years down the road in 2011, Skrillex scored his first slot on the coveted lineup, signalling the incoming paradigm shift that was taking over dance music. That same year would see the number of dance music acts on the lineup double from the previous year, and by 2014, EDM represented a quarter of the entire Coachella lineup, showing us the lasting impression that electronic music has left on the festival loving public.

In 2015, Kaskade broke records with both of his performances at Coachella, serving as the only DJ to hold down the mainstage while drawing in record crowds along the way. In fact, Kaskade’s presence at the festival in 2015 resulted in two of Coachella’s biggest crowds ever, while aerial footage of the massive gathering at his mainstage set went viral.

2016 marked another landmark occasion for Coachella, as it was the first year to host two electronic acts as main headliners; Calvin Harris and LCD Soundsystem. Additionally, electronic music has been spreading outside its usual boundaries in recent memory. Festival goers can expect to catch top tier electronic acts while venturing to other stages, while the Sahara Tent itself has begun to feature a more diverse cast of performers, branching out to hip hop earlier this year with artists like Vince Staples and Rae Sremmurd.