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Coachella 2011 Lineup Announced

January 20, 2011

Yesterday, our friends out in Indio, California at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival unveiled their lineup for 2011, which includes appearances by Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire and (hold your applause…no really) Kanye West.

As an attendee of last year’s event, I must say Coachella, alongside Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, is amongst today’s pioneers in bringing you the most complete music festival package. With beautifully cut, green polo fields stretching into a circling horizon, lined with towering palm trees and mountaintops, the scenery is as transcendent as the music.

The 2010 lineup was historically diversified, to say the least, with appearances by Gorillaz, Pavement, Jay-Z, The Dead Weather, Them Crooked Vultures and Sunny Day Real Estate. Many acts were making their first time visits to the desert, while others, such as Pavement and Sunny Day Real Estate, were breaking ground on long-awaited reunion tours only previously dreamed of on internet message boards.

The release of Coachella’s 13th lineup since it’s 1999 inception has me feeling particularly proud of my decision to trek out west last year. As Bruce Fessier of the Desert Sun points out, Coachella v. 2011 looks strikingly similar to it’s 2007 predecessor. Many of the headlining acts are making Coachella encores, rehashing their presence and material.

It was first-time visitors such as Rage Against the Machine (2007), Paul McCartney (2009) and Gorillaz (2010) that dazzled ticket buyers for their rarity and artistic power. Many of tomorrow’s festival-goers will be treated to replays of the same concert stories heard from those before them. It’s true for everyone; there’s nothing fun about coming home from a festival and not bragging about witnessing the ultimate reunion or climactic performance.

Does 2011 have the potential to generate those stories?

To start, Kings of Leon are fresh off their headlining appearance at last year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, while their latest album “Come Around Sundown,” has failed to generate the same hype as their 2008 effort “Only By The Night.” The Kings made an appearance at Coachella in 2007.

Rapper Kanye West could be considered the freshest choice on the bill, considering his 2010 album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was widely hailed as one of the greatest albums of 2010, if not the closing decade. However, West’s live concert resume took a hit in 2008 when his diva personality caused a five hour delay before his performance at Bonnaroo.

On the bright side, the Arcade Fire put on what is considered one of the greatest performances in Coachella history in 2004, which appropriately, earned them a headlining spot in 2007 and once again, in 2011. Why not?

Other encore performances this year include the Black Keys, Bright Eyes, the Chemical Brothers, PJ Harvey, Ratatat and Animal Collective.

Granted, other festivals, including Bonnaroo, Sasquatch and Lollapalooza, rehash numerous artists each year. This past year, Bonnaroo featured Dave Matthews Band as it’s closing headliner, after granting the band main stage treatment in 2004 and 2005. It’s one of the curses in featuring nearly hundreds of bands in one weekend annually.

Deal with it.

However, it’s a main goal of festival planners each off-season, to hunt headlining acts that will generate buzz and rake in ticket sales. It seems that Coachella’s 2011 lineup fell short of making the type of noise it did last year. In the great American Music Festival race, each year’s lineup is crucial to deciding who puts on the greatest celebration of music and arts.

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