It is no secret that Coachella is booking fewer rock bands than they used to. However, after a lot of questionable math and google searching, Coachella’s current lineup shows significantly less rock and metal bands than in their debut in 1999.
Judging from Coachella’s lineup in 1999, roughly 30 to 35 percent of the acts would have been widely regarded as rock. While the genre didn’t come close to the number of house or electronic acts, rock was still a big part of the festival’s draw.
However, only about seven to 13 percent of this year’s lineup would be argued as “rock.” Even with that being said, many of the artists that we counted as “rock” could also easily fall under indie, pop-rock, or some other subgenre.
In a tweet from Consequence of Sound, the change is actually very visible.
Are rock and metal dead in the desert? Coachella 1999 v. Coachella 2019 pic.twitter.com/Ta0lB725LY
— Consequence of Sound (@consequence) January 5, 2019
Of course, Coachella’s lineup has more than doubled in size since 1999, so rock’s representation may seem even more sparse than it actually is at first glance. However, the genres that seem to be dominating the festival this year are clearly rap, pop and hip-hop.
Upon a closer look at the lineup, we found that most of the rock bands on today’s lineup aren’t even coming close to headlining. Aside from Weezer and the 1975, most of the other rock bands are the little guys in the tiny font, such as Turnstile.
With that being said, many rock and metal fans don’t seem too happy with Coachella’s direction.
Coachella never had its finger on the pulse; always, finger on the purse. In 1999, they were booking based on MTV, Spin and college radio. In 2019, they are booking based on Youtube and Spotify.
Who cares? Support local rock clubs like @casbahsandiego, @alexsbar or @CafeNela.
— Merrdith Hunter (@MerrdithHunter) January 5, 2019
*Sees Coachella 2019 Lineup*
Indie Fans Pop Fans EDM Fans
Hip-Hop Fans Latin Music Fans
Rock Fans: 😤🤬
— dynin (@matwhodinein) January 3, 2019
Given Coachella is entirely about posting pics on IG, and hasn’t been about the music in years, this just continues in the exact same vein. Weezer could perform a set entirely of Toto covers and no one in the audience would even notice.
— Stephane Dubord (@StephDubord) January 3, 2019
You can check out Coachella’s full 2019 lineup here.
What do you think Coachella’s lineup has to say about the future of rock music in festival culture, if anything? Sound off in the comments below.