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Who Could Possibly Replace Beyoncé at Coachella?

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Music group Daft Punk performs onstage during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

Yesterday, the news broke that Beyoncé will not perform at this year’s Coachella, due to her recently revealed pregnancy, as doctors have recommended she stay at home. (She will perform in 2018, however.) The announcement must’ve thrown some ticketholders a loop, as Beyoncé is exactly the type of artist who prompts people to go all-in on Coachella. Assuming most fans won’t be angry at Beyoncé for wanting to ensure the health of her babies, it’s still a hair-pulling situation for the festival organizers: How exactly do you replace the most beloved musician in the world?

You don’t really. But there are some options that might not cause fans to riot, as opposed to if they booked, like, Halsey.

Jay Z

The easiest transfer of power, as Beyoncé would just have to hand off the phone to her husband while Coachella’s people are on the line. (This is not how concert bookings are negotiated, I know, but savor the image.) Jay Z is a little past his prime as a recording artist, but he still has an entire greatest hits collection to make for a festival set. Plus, maybe Beyoncé could make a cameo for a single song. A strenuous, hour-plus festival set wouldn’t be good for her health, but what about “Drunk in Love”?

Lady Gaga

Probably the only pop star alive with the conceptual ambition to match Beyoncé’s live performances. She’d perform in a Green Man costume; she’d spackle silver paint over her face and run around stage, dripping glitter with each step; she’d zipline from parts unknown onto the stage, and fly around like it was a production of Peter Pan. Coachella seems like a breeding ground for a pansexual makeout party, and Gaga is the spark to light that fire.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers

More than just music, Coachella signifies “California,” that land of perfect temperatures, convertibles, sun-kissed beautiful people, and healing crystals. No artist captures that vibe more than the Chi Peps, who parlayed Californication into an automatic association with the Golden State. They could play an entire set solely composed of songs that mention California in the lyrics, and the antic energy of Messrs. Kiedis, Flea, and company needs no introduction.

The Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl and his band are touring this year, and are still the torch bearers for mainstream rock approved by fathers. Thousands of people will find themselves singing along to “Everlong,” conscious or not.


Coldplay got Beyoncé to sing on their last record, and while the collaboration didn’t set the world on fire, it did remind everyone how purely popular the band is. Who gets Beyoncé to sing a hook on a throwaway track? The guys who headlined the Super Bowl and made your heart ripple every time Chris Martin sat down at his piano to start “Clocks,” that’s who. Coldplay are probably the lamest possible replacement—they’ll never be cool, especially now that they’re collaborating with the Chainsmokers—but they might have the broadest appeal, weirdly enough. Who doesn’t want to stand in a field of thousands as Martin taps out that iconic piano line?


Probably the only other R&B-adjacent artist with enough star power to hold people’s attentions, thanks to her radiant charisma and prolific catalogue of hits. Also, she would most definitely smoke some weed on stage, which is very cool.

Kanye West

Now that Yeezy is no longer trying to make friends with Donald Trump—wonder which friend had to break the news it was ruining his image—he could try to recapture some of that lost good will by taking his Saint Pablo gig to Coachella. Daft Punk made themselves iconic by plopping a neon pyramid on top of the Coachella stage; surely, Kanye’s band of technical geniuses could come up with a similarly indelible image to remind everyone why he’s the most creative pop star alive, questionable political associations and all.

Daft Punk

Of course, they could just try to get Daft Punk for a reprisal of their legacy-making Coachella set. A story places them as leading favorites to replace Beyoncé, and we still never got an answer as to what that mysterious “Alive 2017” video was all about. As one of the forefathers of the modern EDM scene, they’d certainly be treated as royalty by the teens. That said, Daft Punk haven’t toured since 2007, and it seems unlikely they’d make their live return as pinch hitters for a bigger star.


He’s taken Beyoncé’s spotlight before. Security would be posted at all stage entrances, wary of Kanye bursting onto the stage to give his opinion.


Kurt Cobain? Michael Jackson? Tupac? The Notorious B.I.G.? Some fucked-up super-group of all deceased superstars? The options, sadly, are endless. But smoke enough weed, and the hologram novelty begins to seem like a must-see. Why not go for the goofiest option possible?

None of these people are Beyoncé, which is why ticket prices are allegedly being reduced by 12 percent, and probably won’t come back up. Unless, say, she’s replaced by a live DJ set by Barack Obama.