JAN. 6 Update: The official word from Coachella organizers arrived this morning with AC/DC, Drake and Jack White headline the 2015 edition of the festival. Read more here.
NOV. 14 Update: It’s never too early to speculate about the Coachella lineup, especially when potential acts have already announced tour schedules that align with the West Coast or have giant gaps during the two Coachella festival weekends in April.
Using process of elimination, industry sources and some educated guesswork, we put together a list of artists and bands that might make the Coachella 2015 on April 10-12 and April 17-19. Potential acts have been dived into categories: potential headliners, nearly confirmed, strong possibilities and wild cards.
We’ll continue to update this post as we hear more. Share your ideas in the comments section.
Potential Headliners: Headliners are always difficult to predict, but based on current artist activity and a few hunches, the favorites for the biggest names on the poster at the top of each day of the festival could be one or multiple of the artists listed below.
Dave Grohl and his crew have been making the rounds lately on late night TV talk shows and performing unannounced concerts at intimate venues. Their new album Sonic Highways was released and there’s an accompanied HBO series about that pairs some of America’s most musical cities with the making of the album. The band is also celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. The band should be road ready for Coachella with preparations for its 20th anniversary concert on July 4 in Washington, D.C., with a full lineup, including Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Heart, Joan Jett, LL Cool J and many more.
Jack White first played at Coachella in 2003 with Meg White in The White Stripes, followed by The Raconteurs in 2008, and with the Dead Weather in 2010. Jack likely wants a crack at the main stage all to himself. He’s on the bill for Lollapolooza Chile, similar to Coachella performers Muse last year. Maybe that’s a sign he’s tuning up for a grander festival? His early 2015 tour stops are in the U.S., which makes it more than likely that he’ll touch down in Indio.
U2 still owns the title for highest grossing tour all-time. The band also said another album is coming out sometime next year, so it might make sense to align that effort around the two-weekend desert party. Maybe U2 won’t even be on the official lineup, but will just appear unexpectedly—kind of like that album that appeared (with a few groans) in everyone’s iTunes library earlier this year. Bono also supposedly told a reporter that he attended Coachella as a fan and would like the chance to play there, adding, “We don’t usually play festivals, but that’s definitely on our radar.”
UPDATE: Bono had a nasty cycling accident that required surgery, and as a result U2 has canceled their scheduled residency on The Tonight Show and their upcoming gig at KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas, December 13-14 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. U2 did however announce a gigantic ‘Innocence + Experience’ World Tour with four dates at the LA Fourm. This might violate the Coachella radius clause preventing acts from performing in Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, or San Diego months before and after the festival. Since the accident, Bono has revealed that the injuries he sustained has meant he may never play guitar again.
Queen B previously joined Jay-Z on stage for his encore at Coachella 2012 and the premier hip-hop couple killed it during their “On The Run” tour. She could easily close out the desert festival in dramatic style.
Coldplay previously played Coachella back in 2005, in support of their record X&Y. Front man Chris Martin has since re-invented the band’s sound on their latest album with more electronic elements. Their lengthy music catalog of hits could prove powerful for a 90-minute set or longer.
UPDATE: Chris Martin spilled the beans that Coldplay is already back the studio working on their seventh album titled A Head Full of Dreams. Martin considers it the band’s final chapter and said they plan to tour behind the new record, which they did not do for their previous record, Ghost Stories, released just this past May.
Coachella always finds a way to squeeze in a major electronic artist for one night on the main stage. Given that Avicii has already conquered closing out the Sahara tent, it’s only a logical next step to move him to an even bigger environment. The only factor that could prevent him from appearing is his poor health, which has been a struggle in recent months.
The Chemical Brothers
These guys have an extensive history playing Coachella, having performed six times (2011, 2009, and 2005, 2002, 2001, and the first festival in 1999). We haven’t heard much from them lately, which makes us suspicious. However, it’s unlikely they could headline with Avicii as Coachella promoter Goldenvoice is likely to include only one big dance act as a headliner. We could throw in Deadmau5 here too, but he’s been banned from the festival along with Motley Crüe.
UPDATE: The duo promise new music and “an intense ride” live show that debuts at Barcelona’s Sónar electronic festival next year. “We hope for finding a new way to make you feel,” said member Tom Rowlands, referring to the album he and longtime collaborator Ed Simons are preparing for release in 2015. A return to Coachella sounds very likely.
Coachella is a great platform for bands to reunite, such at Outkast last year. This SoCal pop-punk band could be a crowdpleaser and plans are reportedly in the works for a new album next month just in time for the holidays. Gwen appeared on one track off Calvin Harris’ new album Motion and tested the Coachella waters last year when she popped up during Pharrell’s set.
UPDATE: No Doubt has been added to the Night Two lineup for KROQ’s 25th annual Almost Acoustic Christmas after U2 confirmed that they won’t perform due to Bono’s bicycle injury. Good chance for Gwen and her ska punk rock band to shake off any potential live show rust before a big show next spring.
Pharrell: Worldwide hit “Happy” elevated this singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, and fashion designer to an elite level. Pharrell probably wants another crack at Coachella, this time on the main stage, after desert wind and dust tore up his normally silky smooth vocals last year during the first festival weekend. He gave a goodbye apology to attendees, but to make-up for it, Pharrell can easily fill up a closing night set with tracks from Grammy nominated album, G I R L, throwback jams from his rock, funk, and hip hop band N.E.R.D, plus some soul and R&B music from his time producing as The Neptunes.
Nearly Confirmed: Despite a gag order requiring artists to keep quite about bookings at the festival, artist interviews are great to find hints for Coachella-bound musicians.
Reverend Horton Heat
Next year’s tour schedule leaked with Coachella listed as a stop for this three-piece psychobilly band from Dallas.
The Gaslamp Killer
Gaslamp Killer revealed plans in a recent interview to play Coachella again next year, after playing last year at the Heineken House, the year before at the Do Lab stage and at the Gobi in 2012.
Belle And Sebastian
This duo last played Coachella in 2004 and rumor has it the UK folk pop band will return.
BBC Radio One’s biggest talents spilled the beans during an ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) interview on Reddit.
The Oxfordshire electronic quartet reportedly shared festival circuit plans at a recent show in LA to a fan backstage.
Strong Possibilities: These are based on artists schedules with West Coast dates during the spring or gaps in upcoming tours.
Sam Smith has been selling out venues across the country in mere minutes, including Madison Square Garden in New York and the Forum in LA. He appeared briefly at Coachella last year with Disclosure to perform “Latch,” but now with a spring West coast tour, he’s highly likely to take the stage on his own next year.
Father John Misty
This folk rocker has a tour schedule with sizable gap around both festival weekends.
Sylvan Esso is a rising duo with wispy vocals and bassy undertones. They just announced a Fillmore show on April 21 next year, and Coachella would be a great platform to showcase their skills during an afternoon set time, similar to ZZ Ward last year.
Wild Cards: There’s no solid evidence that these acts will perform, but there’s a good chance that they will.
Kendrick Lamar’s follow-up to his breakout debut good kid, m.A.A.d city is expected sometime before the end of the year. It’s one of the most highly-anticipated albums of the year and should be a perfect fit for the Coachella stage.
Mumford & Sons
The London folk group last performed at Coachella in 2011. However, their popularity has increased dramatically after releasing their album Babel. They are also working on new material for another record sometime next year so timing could be ideal.
Jack U (Skrillex & Diplo)
Both of these electronic heavyweights have played Coachella in the past. Uniting at the Sahara tent for a super duo set seems like a no-brainer.
The same rules for The Chemical Brothers apply here. They are headlining Australia Future Musical Festival next year with Drake and Avicii.
It seems Drake has enough hits and hooks at this point to fill a headlining set and more. There would be some great cameo opportunities, as well, with his numerous features on tracks by other artists.
All the festival fashionistas could finally meet their inspiration with Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Dust off the flowers and fringe.
Someday this intergalactic duo will land their spaceship in the Indio desert and put the rumors to rest. For now, we’ll keep our eyes to the sky and wait to “Get Lucky.”
Photo highlights from Coachella 2014 by SF Station photographer Stewart Tomassian: