To Coachella's credit, it's always been relatively broad-minded in its bookings, a place where Kraftwerk, Prince and Portishead can play one after another in perfect, wondrous harmony. Specifically, the festival embraced electronic dance music alongside rock and hip-hop from the first festival in 1999. Tastes have ebbed and flowed, but in 2014 the overarching "electronic dance music" genre reigns.
Though it's never advisable to label such inventive creators with clumsy genre tags, it's possible. To wit: Rock features guitar (and includes so-called singer-songwriters such as Courtney Barnett and Tom Odell), EDM focuses on synthetic beats and instrumental grooves and includes such subgenres as commercial dance music, dubstep, house and techno. Pop/rock is a kind of gray area that features acts such as Lorde, Chvrches and Washed Out that craft synthetic pop music that is neither rock nor EDM. Hip-hop is hip-hop, R&B is R&B, jazz is jazz.
By these measures, EDM, long an emphasis of Coachella's, has eclipsed rock to become the focus of the festival, and the resultant thump-fest confirms a culture firmly shifting away from guys with guitars (two of the best guitar bands, Haim and Warpaint, are female-only) and toward guys (and the occasional woman) with mixers and computers.
TIMELINE: Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals
Unfortunately, hip-hop and R&B are lightly represented at the festival, and the two jazz artists suggest a genre outside the tastes of the festival's bookers. Both acts, Trombone Shorty and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, will be traveling from New Orleans.
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