Coachella 2012: Line Up Highlights

Sunset at Coachella 2011. Photo courtesy of Sarah Jorgensen

By Sarah Jorgensen

Southern California’s favorite festival, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, otherwise known simply as Coachella, dropped its line up a few weeks ago. A few days later, tickets for the festival sold out in only a few hours, even though the 2012 festival is spread over two weekends to accommodate its massive explosion in popularity over the past few years. What could have been so appealing about this line up that nearly 100,000 people (myself included) snapped up these tickets so quickly? A scan of the line up reveals some obvious superstars alongside hidden gems. If you were lucky enough to snag a ticket, here are the top eight artists whose sets you should be most excited to see this year’s Coachella:


  1. Bon Iver: Since the band’s self-titled sophomore effort last spring, Bon Iver has been selling out shows all over the country (I should know – I tried to get tickets for two different shows, in two different cities and failed). Justin Vernon’s soulful voice and lyrics will surely translate into a completely heartbreaking set. I know I’ll be in tears when he plays anything off of For Emma, Forever Ago, his debut album.
  2.  Justice: I do not fancy myself an electronic music expert by any means, but even I can tell you that Justice’s hit “D.A.N.C.E.” will definitely be fun to dance to in the Sahara tent at Coachella this year. I love this group’s energetic sound, and I can only picture how this music will translate in such a fantastic setting.
  3. The Head and the Heart: I’m a sucker for any band that prominently features a violin. After seeing this band play at San Diego’s House of Blues last fall, I have not been able to turn off their self-titled debut album. Check out their earnest, folksy tone on “Rivers and Roads,” my personal favorite track on the album, or on “Lost in My Mind,” the catchy, popular single.
  4. GIVERS: Although the days in the Indio desert are notoriously hot, I hope this band plays during the day. Their sunny, reggae-tinged sound is perfect for dancing and is pure fun. It’s not too overwrought with technical effects, so I have a feeling that the band will deliver on the promises the band’s new album In Lights delivers.
  5. Yuck: This band is far from what its name implies. Yuck’s highly distorted, hard-rocking sound is in the same vein as Coachella headliners the Black Keys, with a bit more grunge. Whether that is a good or a bad thing in your book is up to you to decide, but it should be one heck of a high-energy set.
  6. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg: I’d venture to say that this pair is what sealed the deal for many people to purchase Coachella tickets.  Not only am I excited to hear them together on songs like “Kush,” but also I’m stoked to see each hopefully perform some solo songs. A rapping and producing legend, tracks from Dr. Dre’s long-rumored and anticipated album Detox could possibly be featured during the set. Guest appearances from some of Dre’s protégés, like Eminem, wouldn’t be out of the question. And, really, who doesn’t want to hear famed middle school dance jam “Drop It Like It’s Hot” live? In the haze of fantastic artists at Coachella, this duo stands to make some music history and close out the weekends in style.
  7. Beirut: I mentioned earlier that I love violins in bands – expand that to include accordions, too. Influenced by all sorts of interesting world music, there are few other bands making music as intriguing or unique as Beirut’s. This indie rock gem of a band definitely deserves high billing it received on this year’s line up.
  8. Radiohead: One band that has always made interesting and unique music is Radiohead. Honestly, this is the band that made me totally committed to going to Coachella this year. Tickets to Radiohead’s regular tours are highly elusive, so an opportunity to see them on a stage as grand as Coachella’s was not an experience I could miss. If you aren’t listening to this revolutionary group already, you should be.

This was a tough list to compile, since the line up this year is absolutely stacked. Honorable mentions include the Black Keys, St. Vincent, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Real Estate, Florence + the Machine and many, many more.  If you couldn’t snag a ticket to this year’s Coachella, have little fear – with the rate this year’s two weekend festival sold out, we could land up with a whole month of Coachella next year.

What do you think of this year’s line up? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! Check USDRadio again soon for more coverage leading up to Coachella 2012!