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2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio

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The first performance slot on Coachella’s main stage isn’t exactly a coveted position at a desert festival where many fans don’t even bother to show up until after sundown.

But Los Ángeles Azules drew a relatively gigantic crowd in that spot on Friday afternoon — perhaps because its position on the bill wasn’t its only first.

Based near Mexico City, Los Ángeles Azules was the first traditional cumbia group to play Coachella, which has boosted its share of Latin music this year with additional bookings for the likes of Kali Uchis and Cuco.

On Friday, the slick but effective dance band — with 18 musicians onstage in carefully coordinated outfits — was welcomed with an enthusiasm that suggested festival-goers had been waiting for Coachella to embrace an important aspect of Southern California’s musical landscape.

Beyonce performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio on Saturday, April 14, 2018.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Beyonce performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio on Saturday.

The Weeknd performs on the Coachella stage during the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival.

Festival goers mill around one one the Etherea structures as the sun sets at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

David Byrne on stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Rapper 6LACK on stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Festival goers relax under billowing sun shades as night falls on the Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

People dance to the musical stylings of Britta Unders while being misted with water in the DoLab at the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival.

Electronic duo ODESZA performs during the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival.

Crowd enjoys Jean-Michel Jarre on stage at the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival.

First Aid Kit's Klara Soderberg on stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Sophia Roth, of Reno, Nev., takes in the sun inside an art piece called "Etherea" by Eduardo Tresoldi during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Sophia Roth, of Reno, Nev., takes in the sun inside an art piece called "Etherea" by Eduardo Tresoldi during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.

L.A. resident Danielle Thomas wears flowers in her hair on the way to a performance by Nigerian singer/songwriter Wizkid at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

Festival goers cheer as Los Angeles Azules starts performing during Day 1 of the Coachella Arts and Music Festival at the Empire Polo Grounds

Electropop artist Kelela, center, performs on the Mojave Stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio

A fan of indie rock singer/songwriter Moses Sumney takes pictures with a Barbie Polaroid camera during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.

People walk by the Palm-3 World Station art installation during Day 1 of the Coachella Arts and Music Festival.

Indie rock singer/songwriter Moses Sumney performs on the Gobi Stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Nahim Quintana, 37, of Mexico City, is a face in the crowd at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Festival fashion at the DoLab during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

The crowd dances to The Regrettes at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Music artist Knox Fortune performs at the Outdoor Theater stage during Day 1 of the Coachella Arts and Music Festival.

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