Since its humble beginnings in 1999, Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival has gone from a few days of desert vibing to a two-weekend extravaganza, headlined by some of the biggest artists in the world. Birthed from the minds of Paul Tollet and Rick Van Santen, Coachella has set attendance records every year, and grossed almost $115 million during its 2017 installment.
Coachella has both allowed artists who have already cemented their status to reinforce their greatness, as well as created a platform for artists flying under the radar to become household names. Nights (and days) in the desert have taken bands like Arcade Fire to heights previously unseen. From bands reuniting for the first time in years, like Rage Against the Machine did in 2007, to artists performing songs from a recent album for the first time live, to frontmen of bands past re-emerging, the festival is known for a number of iconic performances.
This collection of musicians at different stages in their careers has made for some unforgettable moments, from Jay-Z becoming the first rapper to ever headline Coachella to Daft Punk changing how EDM concerts functioned. Even moments met with a whirlwind of controversy, like the appearance of Tupac Shakur in holographic form at the 2012 installment of the festival, are unlikely to fade from the public’s memory any time soon.
With Beyonce set to headline this year’s festivals, and a lineup that features The Weeknd, Eminem, Cardi B, Migos, St. Vincent and many, many others, it feels like the perfect time to look back at some of Coachella’s best performances, from Arcade Fire’s coming-of-age set to Amy Winehouse and the White Stripes’ singular performances, which are forever etched in time. These are the most iconic Coachella performances.