The 15 best things we saw at Coachella 2024

Sabrina Carpenter performs at Coachella on Friday, April 12.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
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The first weekend of the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivalhas wrapped after a wild closing set from Doja Cat Sunday night.

Whether you want catch up on the biggest moments of the weekend or you’re planning to head to the Empire Polo Club to catch the festival’s encore this upcoming weekend, these are the things worth noting from the latest edition of the long-running festival.

Check out the best images from L.A. Times staff photographers on the ground at the first weekend of the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

April 15, 2024

Strangest set of the weekend: Doja Cat

Doja Cat’s set began with her in a hazmat suit rapping furiously over a sample of 10cc’s soft-rock classic “I’m Not in Love” and it had her dancing in an extremely long blond wig amid a tribe of Yetis; it featured a giant dinosaur skeleton operated by puppeteers and it climaxed with her mud-wrestling with a troupe of female dancers wearing safety goggles as she rapped her song “Wet Vagina” in the finale where you might’ve expected her breakthrough pop hit “Say So” (which she never actually did).


This had to go down among the strangest sets ever to happen at Coachella — and that’s including last year’s Frank Ocean meta-spectacle. — Mikael Wood

Tyler, the Creator headlines on the second night of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Saturday.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Craziest stage set: Tyler, the Creator

What did one of the wildest live performers of his era do for his headlining set Saturday night? How about fighting with a giant sheep puppet, getting ripped across the stage in a fake windstorm and delivering A-list guest performers for a career-spanning set that proved his singular place in L.A. music history. — August Brown

The 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is underway in Indio. Saturday’s highlights include a headlining set by Tyler, the Creator, a No Doubt reunion.

April 14, 2024

Best way to beat the long walk to and from the parking lot: Lana Del Rey

Ten years after her last visit to the desert, Lana Del Rey headlined Night 1 of this year’s Coachella festival with an almost radically languid performance that reminded you how singular a figure she is in modern pop music: a slow-mo balladeer with a high, fluttering voice and a deeply bookish lyrical approach. Roaming a stage designed to look like a “Sunset Boulevard”-style mansion in disrepair — after arriving at the stage on the back of a motorcycle. She departed the same way. — M.W.

No Doubt performs at Coachella.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

Best ‘90s reunion we expected: No Doubt

No Doubt— the beloved ska-punk band from Anaheim that exploded with 1995’s “Tragic Kingdom,” making Gwen Stefani a major pop star, before eventually drifting apart in 2015 — returned to a hero’s welcome at Coachella Saturday night. Repertoire-wise, the band stuck to the classics — “Hella Good,” “Ex-Girlfriend,” “Underneath It All,” “Spiderwebs” — and reached back for the thrashing “Total Hate ’95” (originally a duet with Sublime’s Nowell) and for a cover of Madness’ “One Step Beyond.” — M.W.


Gwen Stefani and No Doubt reunited at Coachella on Saturday night for the first time since 2015. Olivia Rodrigo joined the band onstage.

April 14, 2024

Ms. Lauryn Hill makes an appearance during YG Marley's set at Coachella on Sunday.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

Best ‘90s reunion we didn’t expect: Fugees at YG Marley

It’s not surprising that YG Marley brought his mother, Ms. Lauryn Hill, to join him on stage, but the addition of Wyclef Jean and a handful of Fugees hits that follow create a frenzy among the crowd, who effortlessly recite every word of “Killing Me Softly,” “Ready or Not” and “No Woman, No Cry.” —Danielle Dorsey

E for effort: Sabrina Carpenter

The sun was still up Friday when she performed, but Carpenter already had put more effort into her set than some past Coachella headliners. She took the stage in front of the facade of a blue roadside motel with one room destroyed by an errant car crash, plus a dozen backup dancers, a full rock band behind them and a platform riser worthy of an arena set denouement. Clearly, she learned from the best as a recent opener on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour. — A.B.

J Balvin performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Most out-of-this-world set: J Balvin

What could make J Balvin’s intergalactic set full of neon lasers, alien heads and chrome spaceships feel even more out of this world? How about a cameo from Will Smith coming out to rap along to the song “Men In Black” like it’s 1997? — Nate Jackson

The Aquabats perform during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Saturday.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Best use of pool floaties: The Aquabats

The Aquabats’ Saturday turn in the Sonora Tent just may rank as one of the most fun in the festival’s history. The costumed ska-punk band kicked things off with “Pool Party,” complete with beach balls thrown out into the crowd. Then the creatures of “Yo Gabba Gabba” showed up. And when the band played “Pizza Day,” at least four giant pizza slice pool floats were tossed into the crowd. — Vanessa Franko

These are some of the festival outfits we saw on the field at the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

April 14, 2024

Most unexpected guest appearance: Paris Hilton with Vampire Weekend

The band’s set mixed crisp Vampire Weekend oldies and a few knottier new tunes from its just-released fifth album, “Only God Was Above Us.” An unlikely guest appearance during the set: Paris Hilton, who popped out to play a round of cornhole as the veteran indie-rock band did a countrified take on its “Married in a Gold Rush.” “I haven’t played this game since ‘The Simple Life,’” the reality-TV personality said, referring to her mid-2000s series with Nicole Richie. — M.W.

The celeb sighting everyone predicted: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce at Bleachers

Taylor Swift turned up — not as a performer but as a fan — to take in a set by her longtime producer Jack Antonoff’s band. The pop superstar and her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, were standing (and singing and clapping) at the side of the stage in the Mojave Tent as Bleachers ran through a characteristically exuberant set of its post-Springsteen rock. — M.W.

Peso Pluma performs at Coachella on Friday.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

The unexpected Mexican music history lesson: Peso Pluma

Toward the end of Peso Pluma’s set, he moved beyond old-fashioned acoustic corridos to draw from thumping reggaeton and muscular Latin rap. But he finished the show with a kind of historical primer, celebrating the names and faces of some of Mexican music’s greats — among them Chalino Sánchez, Joan Sebastian and Ariel Camacho — in front of Coachella’s massive audience. — M.W.

The 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival began Friday in Indio with sets from Lana Del Rey, Peso Pluma, Justice, Chappell Roan, L’Imperatrice.

April 12, 2024

The set that reminded you that at its core, Coachella is about the music: Jon Batiste

The singer’s set harked to the early days of Coachella, before it was experienced as a series of Instagram moments — when it was more about just about letting ourselves be moved by music. Batiste morphed the grade-school chant “If You’re Happy and You Know It” into “When the Saints Go Marching In,” then brought hip-hop legend Juvenile onstage for “Back That Azz Up.” Batiste also debuted a new song with Willow Smith, a fun, breezy, Afrobeats-tinged single that shows off Smith’s youthful soprano ahead of the release of her just-announced “Empathogen” project. —D.D.


The surprise guest who could headline Coachella 2025: Shakira

She may not have headlined Coachella this year, but judging by the roars for her surprise set with the Argentine DJ Bizarrap in the Sahara Tent, she may as well have been. His churning trap and hard house was already a dance music highlight of the night, but his cut with Shakira — “BZRP Music Sessions Vol. 53,” an all-time torching of her ex, who will never recover — was a phenomenon, and she performed it here with a vengeance deserving of the main stage soon enough. — A.B.

Chappell Roan performs during the first day at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Best flex we heard this weekend: Chappell Roan

“This one goes out to my ex because, bitch, I know you’re watching.” That’s how Chappell Roan — long red hair spilling over a T-shirt reading “EAT ME” — introduced “My Kink Is Karma” near the end of her electrifying set in the Gobi tent. And she was probably right: This proudly theatrical pop singer is on a serious come-up right now, having just dropped her acclaimed debut album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess,” and wrapped an opening gig on Olivia Rodrigo’s current tour. — M.W.

Most interesting new addition: Quasar Stage

Quasar is 55 feet tall, 235 feet wide and its screens have 660 LED panels and was designed for longer DJ sets.

Late in Michael Bibi’s set Saturday night the screens looked like kaleidoscopic insect wings as he dropped Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Then they morphed into a beautiful stained glass pattern that was almost church-like, but still pulsing to the beat. — V.F.