The new year doesn't officially start until Coachella and Governors Ball release their lineups! The two major East and West coast festivals typically share their anticipated posters a day apart, and for 2018 their artist picks reflect the current state of music bigger than in year's past.
In America, we've come to know festivals as being very rock-centric with classic bands usually fronting the bill, but over the years there has been a gradual shift in these lineups. Not just the two mentioned, but almost all other major festivals around the globe—like Bonnaroo, Voodoo Music Experience, Sasquatch!, Glastonbury, among others. And with the recent unveiling of these two 2018 lineups, it is clear that the R&B and hip-hop trend will continue to make more waves than rock, pop or country.
The Coachella 2018 headliners include The Weeknd, Eminem and Beyoncé, who is back to rule the festival after she dropped out last year per her doctor's orders (she was heavily pregnant with twins at the time). The three acts, while all considered pop in the mainstream sense, are all rooted in R&B and rap. As for Governors Ball? Eminem, Travis Scott, Jack White and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are set to headline. This roster is more of a balance, as two of the acts are rock-oriented while the others are purely rap. But La Flame is an interesting choice, as he mirrors younger artists like himself who proved their worth in 2017.
Other artists on the Coachella bill include SZA, Vince Staples, Daniel Caesar, Kali Uchis, Kelela, SuperDuperKyle, Belly, Skip Marley, Tyler the Creator, Post Malone, Alina Baraz, Wizkid, Jorja Smith, Migos, Cardi B, Miguel, French Montana, 6lack, Russ, Aminé, Kamaiyah, Lion Babe and more. Yes, there are artists of other genres dotted within the lineup. But the amount of R&B and rap acts is overwhelming...so much so that people like Louis Tomlinson are (inexplicably) not having it.
"Just seen the Coachella line up .... Where the fuck are all the bands !? It’s a festival !?" the singer tweeted.
His fans quickly responded by saying his former band One Direction should've been booked. But let's get real: even if the guys were to get back together, fans are generally more excited to see Cardi B than another rock/pop act in this new wave of music.
On the flip side, Governors Ball's lineup is a bit more well-versed. Yet the influence of urban music based on the artists the organizers selected isn't hard to ignore. The festival's bill includes: Halsey, N.E.R.D., Khalid, Chvrches, The Gaslight Anthem, Post Malone, Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson), Lil Uzi Vert, Damian Marley, Cut Copy, Sylvan Esso, Galantis, Maggie Rogers, Dirty Projectors, Russ, Manchester Orchestra, 6LACK, DRAM, 2 Chainz, Japandroids, Kelela, Vic Mensa, Third Eye Blind, Aminé, LANY, Kali Uchis and GoldLink.
Rock fans may not like the change, but the shifting lineups is a direct correlation to what's being loved on radio. Just look at the Billboard Hot 100! The artists who have been ruling the charts are mainly people of color: Post Malone, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, A$AP Rocky, Lil Pump, Migos, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Mariah Carey, 6ix9ine, Khalid...and that's just in the Top 20.
Hip-hop acts have also been trickling in the Coachella bill over the past decade. Jay-Z headlined alongside Muse and Gorillaz in 2010; Kanye West was the only black headliner the following year, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg ruled next to The Black Keys and Radiohead in 2012; in 2014 we saw Outkast, Muse and Arcade Fire; the next year Drake sat next to AC/DC and Jack White; and in 2017 Kendrick Lamar headlined with Lady Gaga and Radiohead.
The pattern is continous and shows no signs of slowing down. So whether or not you're a fan of R&B and rap music, it seems like we all have no choice but to buckle up, sit back and enjoy this exciting change. Next up, check out this classic interview where Eminem and Royce Da 5'9" reflect on reuniting at Bonnaroo 2011 when hip-hop acts were still a relative rarity on the festival scene: