Shortly after the Goldenvoice-produced Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival revealed that Beyoncé would become the first woman to headline the fest in about a decade, the world found out she was pregnant — with twins.
How, then, would arguably the biggest pop star in the world handle a major gig in the desert? Turns out she wouldn't. Doctor's orders forced her off the bill at the end of February. She'll headline in 2018 instead.
Ultimately, she was replaced by Lady Gaga, who performed Saturday night (and will take the stage again next Saturday for Weekend 2 of the desert festival).
The relatively rare switcheroo played with some fans' emotions.
"There were very few people I wanted to see perform this year — Frank Ocean, Solange and Beyoncé. I wouldn't have gone for Gaga," said Ronnie Jaymes, a repeat visitor who instead sold his passes to a friend who couldn't nab tickets to Gaga's upcoming arena tour.
Jaymes, like the majority of Coachella attendees, commits to the festival the moment tickets go on sale, without knowing the lineup.
Instead, Jaymes is going to Goldenvoice's other Southern California festival this year, the FYF Fest at Exposition Park. While Coachella expanded acreage and attendees this year, so too has FYF grown, adding an extra day alongside a diverse bill that includes Ocean, Solange, Björk, Nine Inch Nails and Missy Elliott as headliners.
"This year, everyone I would have wanted to see at Coachella is playing [at FYF]— from the headliners all the way down to the smaller acts," Jaymes said.
When Beyoncé dropped out, there was a 12% dip in the pricing of tickets on the secondary market, according to TicketIQ, which tracks ticket sales on the primary and secondary markets. But the demand for Coachella outweighs any single act, as evidenced by the festival's track record of nearly selling out ahead of the announcement of its lineup.
Still, for some, the lack of Beyoncé put a damper on festivities.
"It seemed like everyone was trying to get rid of their tickets, and I think a big reason of that was Beyoncé pulling out," said Rebecca Potzner, a Cincinnati native who struggled to sell her passes; she plans to come next year instead.
"It's quite a trip with the ticket and flying out there and getting a place. Beside her, I wasn't super thrilled with the rest of lineup," the 26-year-old said.
Yet for all those bummed about having to wait till next year for Beyoncé, plenty of fans were ready to attend in their stead.
"Honestly, I was kind of OK with it," said Michael Hernandez. "Me and a few friends had a plan to venture off and see the rest of the festival while she was playing."
The 26-year-old Long Beach native has been coming to Coachella for the last three years and said he was fascinated with the idea of seeing one of the smaller acts programmed against such a huge performance — something he's yet to experience.
That said, seven of his pals bailed due to the lineup change.
"It was well-rounded without her," Hernandez said. "Gaga wasn't a lateral move. I feel like Adele would have matched the star power of Beyoncé. It's a big hit that she's not here … but it leaves a little more dancing room for me."
Despite the switch, Brandon Hayes still made the trek from Atlanta to attend his first Coachella. He wanted the experience, even though he's already counting the days until next year.
"Now that we know a performer who is scheduled for next year and it's Beyoncé, you already know that next year is going to be out of this world," said Hayes, 28.