Arts & Entertainment

10 Coachella performances worth watching on YouTube this weekend

Coachella promo video
Coachella promo video
Coachella (via YouTube)

The Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival, now in its 18th iteration, is a commitment — blowing a small fortune on tickets, parking and novelty food, bathing in dry heat and residual sweat in wait of Top 40 royalty, catching a glimpse of the Wal-Mart yodelin' kid. It's a whole thing.

Selling out tickets months in advance and drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees — last year's event brought 250,000 folks in tow — Coachella is an unavoidable entity. And yet, it's a vital roll call of popular music at its eclectic, grandiose best.

Coachella's live streams have become something of their own appointment viewing experience. I, for one, remember yelling along to Kanye West's 2011 set the first year Coachella loaded up its official live streams on YouTube. They're even rolling out some of its streamed performances in sweet, sweet VR this year, inching us closer and closer to the anodyne, goggle-optic future that WALL-E predicted.

Here's a primer of 10 acts worth streaming during this fine Coachella weekend. And, yep, definitely turn on Beyoncé's long, long-overdue Saturday night set.

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Channel 2:

Channel 2 embed

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Channel 3 embed

Coachella VR channel:

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10 Coachella Sets We're Watching This Weekend

  • Kelela

    Getty Images

    Day: Friday

    Time: 7:55 p.m. ET / 4:55 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 2

    The digitally-set romances tucked into Kelela's phenomenal 2017 debut Take Me Apart should translate particularly well to the solitary blue light of your laptop monitor.

  • Vince Staples

    Getty Images

    Day: Friday

    Time: 10:40 p.m. ET / 7:40 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 1

    Snappy, whip-smart and savage as all get out, Vince Staples will likely pull off one of the more effortlessly entertaining sets of the weekend. If nothing else, catch Vince Staples calling out NPR if he performs the crude, ingenious "GTFOMD."

  • St. Vincent

    Nedda Afsari/Courtesy of the artist

    Day: Friday

    Time: 12:30 a.m. ET / 9:30 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 1

    In the past, Annie Clark's Coachella stints (one in 2012 and one in 2015) have established her dominance as this generation's most sublime guitarist. This year, we're more likely to bear witness to a steely, synth-flared set of tracks from her avant-garde, pop-leaning MASSEDUCTION. It'll be a treat either way.

  • SZA

    Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for HBO

    Day: Friday

    Time: 1:30 a.m. ET / 10:30 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 1

    Since the release of last year's CTRL, SZA's bumped up from small font in the 2016 schedule to trailing Coachella headliner The Weeknd on this year's lineup. She's made big, enthralling moves; her second go at Coachella will likely reflect that.

  • Nile Rodgers & Chic

    Adam Kissick for NPR

    Day: Saturday

    Time: 7:15 p.m. ET / 4:15 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 1

    It's a disgrace that the architects of disco are relegated to an afternoon slot. In any case, an onslaught of slick, salacious grooves isn't a bad accompaniment to whatever Saturday plans you have.


    Ashlan Grey/Courtesy of the artist

    Day: Saturday

    Time: 9:15 p.m. ET / 6:15 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 2

    The self-professed hip-hop "boy band" (which just signed to RCA off the clout from its SATURATION trilogy) puts on a hell of a show, corralling hordes of devoted teens and twentysomethings into raps about hunky pop stars and the joys of found brotherhood.

  • Beyoncé

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Day: Saturday

    Time: 2:10 a.m. ET / 11:10 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 1

    No need for an introduction to Beyoncé, whose post-Lemonade set was cancelled last year due to her pregnancy. Rumor has it, though, that Queen B has been rehearsing 11 hours a day in preparation for her coronation this year.

  • Noname

    Claire Harbage/NPR

    Day: Sunday

    Time: 6:35 p.m. ET / 3:35 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 3

    The mellifluous Chicago MC and poet put on a honey-sweet Tiny Desk last year. Now, nearly a year later, she's gracing the Coachella stages for an afternoon set that should be just as close-knit as her visit to NPR.

  • Kamasi Washington


    Day: Sunday

    Time: 11:20 p.m. ET / 8:20 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 2

    Pop music's favorite jazz polymath put out a pair of singles this week in anticipation of his follow-up to The Epic. He'll likely pull out more new cuts in his Sunday set. Some heavyweight collaborators might just roll up on stage, too.

  • Kamaiyah


    Day: Sunday

    Time: 2:15 a.m. ET / 11:15 p.m. PT

    Where: Channel 2

    The Oakland rapper's time slot is competitive — the world's biggest rap trio Migos and U.K. phenom Jorja Smith are on at the same time — but it'll be a Sunday slot worth keeping tabs on. Kamaiyah puts on a hell of a show, and with the protracted release of her yet-to-be-released major-label debut, she has plenty to prove. Hopefully, her end-of-Coachella set will be a star-making pivot.

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