Outkast, Pharrell Williams top L.A. Times readers’ Coachella picks

You did it. You survived Coachella 2014. Here’s a look back at the festival’s most memorable moments and the most popular musicians there — according to our readers.

While our music staff compiled its list of “must see” talent, we asked you to plot your stage-hopping journey with our interactive schedule. With those results, we’ve narrowed down the acts L.A. Times readers were most excited to see.

L.A. Times readers’ top 10 Coachella picks (multiple bands on a line indicate ties):


1. Outkast
2. Pharrell Williams
3. Calvin Harris
4. Bastille, Disclosure, Lana Del Rey
5. Arcade Fire, Kid Cudi, Nas
6. Chvrches, Empire of the Sun
7. Ellie Goulding
8. Martin Garrix
9. Skrillex
10. Capital Cities, Lorde

So, did the 166-plus performers, an olio of personalities despite a strong EDM presence, exceed expectations or land flat? Weekend 2 saw unpolished acts shine bright with renewed vigor and bands that struck a chord Weekend 1 elicited only louder cheers their second time on stage.

Outkast’s long-anticipated reunion drew mixed reviews, but the duo made major improvements to its production, set and demeanor in Round 2. Pharrell ended his Coachella debut in retreat after losing his voice to nasty desert elements, but he amped up his subsequent Saturday with heavy-hitters like Jay Z (whose wife Beyonce sneaked into the Gobi tent to show sister Solange some love on Weekend 1), T.I. and Usher.

Arcade Fire grew more defiant, pranking festival goers by inviting Daft Punk imposters to aid them in a down-tempo version of “Get Lucky.” And all eyes were on the sultry Lana Del Rey and a lucky fan as she slinked into the crowd and planted a smooch on his cheek, sans the $1,100 leather boots a fashion brand hoped she’d don. The Sahara tent, boasting performances by Empire of the Sun, Skrillex and Zedd, was unmatched in its intensity.

Coachella 2014 also gave way to many firsts. Punky, seventh-grade metal band Unlocking the Truth was by far the youngest band to play in the festival’s history. More female artists got locked in to this year’s lineup than ever before, though just 16 strong. Attendees with extra cash could now indulge in a four-course meal, or avoid traffic with an intimate airplane flight. The L.A. Times taped its first exclusive acoustic session featuring singer ZZ Ward.

As for new festival trends: More audiences went stage-hopping in search of hits, as was the case with Bastille. Fashion-wise, thousands lined up for a Sephora makeover (including our reporter Todd Martens), and everyone brought their best desert concert outfit.

The Empire Polo Club grounds emptied as quickly as they filled, only to get packed again for this year’s sold out Stagecoach Country Music Festival, which runs from April 25-27, 2014. Check back soon for news and photos from Stagecoach 2014.