Coachella low-key announced its 2017 set times via Twitter last night, which has attendees scrambling to figure out how they're going to navigate between the festival's seven stages. Yes, seven — they added a new one this year, the Sonora Stage, which is heavy on rock and Latino artists. (You can view the full list of set times here.)
With so many sets now happening simultaneously, scheduling conflicts are inevitable — especially if you have the sort of eclectic tastes that put, say, Richie Hawtin and Guided by Voices at the top of your must-see list (you really stuck it to me with that one, Coachella). But these five seem likeliest to cause festivalgoers the most pain. (Times listed below reflect set overlaps only, not each artist's full timeslot.)
Little Dragon/DJ Shadow/Empire of the Sun (Friday, 10:05-10:35 p.m.)
On paper, these acts are all pretty different, but most fans of electronic music rate at least two of these three acts very highly on their must-see lists. So what's it gonna be? Little Dragon's slinky synth-pop, Shadow's sampling and turntablist exploits or Empire of the Sun's big spectacle sing-alongs? Because unless you can sneak in your hoverboard (are those still a thing?), it's gonna be next to impossible to catch all three.
Moderat/Royksopp/Four Tet/Daphni/Floating Points (Saturday, 8-8:35 p.m.)
This one will send electronic fans into an even harder FOMO tailspin. It's bad enough that Norwegian synth-pop veterans Royksopp are on at almost the exact same time as the Apparat + Modeselektor IDM supergroup that is Moderat. But then WTF is up with the 3½-hour set (6-9:30 p.m.) in the Yuma Tent featuring a triple bill of Four Tet, Floating Points and Daphni (aka Caribou's Dan Snaith)? Are they tag-teaming for that whole time? Are their start times all TBD? In any other tent it wouldn't be such a cause for stress, but lines to get into the enclosed Yuma Tent are notoriously long, so it's not like you can just drop by whenever to see who's on the decks. This one is gonna cause dance music fans some pain.
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Chicano Batman/Car Seat Headrest/Slow Hollows (Saturday, 4:30-4:55 p.m.)
Some late lineup additions beefed up this year's rock offerings, but this is still the least guitar-centric Coachella lineup in recent memory. So it seems like an odd choice to make one of Saturday's best up-and-coming rock bands, Slow Hollows, go head-to-head with one of the lineup's best-known indie rock outfits, Car Seat Headrest. Adding insult to injury, the L.A.-based Hollows also are up against one of the lineup's most beloved hometown groups, Chicano Batman, forcing L.A. music fans to choose between two of the festival's best local bands.
GoldLink/Lil Uzi Vert (Sunday, 4:30-5:10 p.m.)
Given the proliferation of hip-hop on this year's lineup, Coachella organizers actually did a pretty solid job of staggering set times to keep rap fans happy. This is the one glaring exception, pitting two recent XXL freshmen against each other with almost simultaneous set times. The Philly-based Uzi is the more commercial of the two, so you could make a case that his fan base doesn't overlap too much with D.C.'s GoldLink and his moodier, more boundary-pushing sound. But in all likelihood, a lot of fans are going to be bouncing between the Mojave and Sahara tents, frantically trying to catch snippets of both.
Kendrick Lamar/Justice/New Order/Tale of Us (Sunday, 10:25 p.m. until close)
Coachella's Sunday night schedule is the clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks, with a raft of great electronic and dance music acts all going up against one another and, more importantly, K-Dot. Assuming you decide to skip most or all of the world's best rapper's set, you're still faced with some hard decisions: Justice's French electro-house or Tale of Us' German/Italian deep house or New Order's classic British synth-pop? I'm not even including the additional potential conflicts of Marshmello (because let's face it, Marshmello sucks) or What So Not (who's awesome, but doesn't go on until 11:05 p.m. — so in theory, you could still catch his dreamy future bass if you're willing to ditch your other closing set early). I suppose such a logjam of top talent closing out your festival is a nice problem to have — but with 125,000 exhausted people stumbling around the polo grounds trying to catch multiple sets, it's going to make navigating Sunday night an adventure, to say the least.