Who is playing Coachella 2016? What we know so far

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Ellie Goulding performs at the Staples Center in December. She may perform at Coachella 2016.

(Christopher Polk / Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Over the holiday break a flood of speculation about possible Coachella headliners breached the otherwise impenetrable wall of silence that normally surrounds the annual music festival.

The 2016 installment will likely be announced in the coming days, and as such those who follow the yearly comings and goings have been gathering evidence. Fake lineup posters have been posted. Viable candidates have been vetted on various message boards. Tour schedules have been scrutinized.

Coachella 2016 lineup

The roster for this year’s event, which will occur over two consecutive weekends, April 15-17 and April 22-24, is gradually coming into focus. Here’s what we know, or what we think we know.


Likely headliners

Gun N’ Roses. Slash is reportedly reuniting with Axl Rose and unconfirmed other former members to perform with some version of Guns N’ Roses for a 2016 tour. A coy marketing campaign has teased the news, one that will likely be confirmed on Tuesday night when Rose appears on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The first reunion gig will reportedly be at Coachella. 

LCD Soundsystem. The New York band broke up five years ago. Or maybe it was a hiatus? Anyway, James Murphy’s great dance-rock concern released a new single over Christmas, and will reportedly headline in the desert. 

Buzz-worthy headliner possibilities


Kanye West. In the days leading up to the Goldenvoice-affiliated FYF Fest 2015, West stepped in at the last minute when singer Frank Ocean canceled. Will the promoter repay the favor with a headliner slot? (And did Ocean disqualify himself from an appearance?)

Kendrick Lamar (and/or Black Hippy). The Compton rapper is nominated for 11 Grammy awards and didn’t play Coachella last year. In the interim, Lamar has dedicated himself to transforming “To Pimp a Butterfly” for concert performances. Will he do it at Coachella? Or, if not, will he and the Black Hippy collective take over a stage?

Adele. The superstar announced her massive 2016 tour, and it commences in the spring. Notably, the entirety of April is blocked off. Which is to say, she’s available.

Tool. Tool played only one show in 2015, but they’ll commence the year with concerts in San Francisco, San Diego and parts of the Southwest. One place they’re not slated to perform? Los Angeles. Why is that, do you think?

Ellie Goulding. Goulding played the festival in 2014, but in the interim she’s ascended to become one of future pop’s brightest stars. The singer is embarking on a 2016 American tour, the Coachella dates are open and she’s performing in the Southwest throughout April. 

Chic/Nile Rodgers. Thanks in large part to Daft Punk, the influential disco and funk producer Nile Rodgers has had a late-career renaissance. He and Chic are touring in 2016.

Missy Elliott. Over the past few days the visionary rapper, whose return-to-form single “WTF” was a 2015 highlight, has been posting Instagrams of rehearsals, so she’s up to something. 


Eminem. The last time Eminem was on the main stage, he shared it with Dr. Dre and a Tupac Shakur hologram. Isn’t it about time he do it on his own?

Jack U/Major Lazer. All signs point to a grand Diplo and Skrillex arrival as Jack U, and while he’s there Diplo is rumored to be reconvening his Kingston-fueled electronic concern Major Lazer. If Jack U performs, also expect a surprise guest: Justin Bieber. He’ll be in the middle of a solo tour, but a few Coachella dates remain open.

Some likely undercard acts, based on information gathered through sources, holes in tour schedules and online message boards.

Of Monsters & Men
St. Germain
Wolf Alice
Leon Bridges
Animal Collective


D’Angelo & the Vanguard
Two Door Cinema Club
Infected Mushroom
Jean Michel Jarre

Very unlikely
The Beatles
The Smiths
David Bowie
Frank Ocean

Got any quibbles or inside information? Feel free to share it in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter: @liledit


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