It's the most wonderful time of the year — the time when we all get to wildly speculate about who will play Coachella next April. (What time of year did you think we were talking about?) The possibilities are endless! The potential for crushing disappointment bottomless! The odds they'll book Run the Jewels for a third consecutive year improbably high!
The main rumor swirling around so far is a widely reported claim that the 2017 headliners will be Beyoncé, Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar. All of whom sound totally plausible, but more on that in a moment. In the meantime, let's take a moment to get our expectations unrealistically high about some names being floated for the smaller fonts on that iconic lineup flier — which will likely be plastered all over our social media feeds sometime next week.
Most of the rumored acts listed below come from an otherwise obscure travel website called TravelGrom, which claims to be the internet's most accurate predictor of Coachella bookings, with a 64 percent success rate. TravelGrom lists more than 140 potential performers for Coachella 2017 (including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, so that 64 percent success rate's gotta be, like, totally legit), but we've narrowed that down to the ones we'd be most excited to see (apart from Bey, Radiohead and K-Dot, all of which would indeed be pretty epic — but again, more on that below).
Beyoncé's kid sister played the relatively tiny Gobi Tent just two years ago, but that was before this year's luminous A Seat at the Table finally brought her the acclaim she's long deserved. Hearing her provocative, sensual new songs on the Outdoor Stage just after sunset would be almost as great as watching Queen Bey light up the mainstage as one of 2017's possible headliners.
Anyone predicting a Daft Punk appearance at Coachella in 2017 is likely cruising for disappointment. But the robots' less celebrated fellow Frenchmen would be a welcome addition to a lineup that's probably going to be otherwise dominated by the usual dodgy EDM acts. (Please, Coachella, no Chainsmokers or Marshmello, OK? Pretty please?) This would be Justice's fourth Coachella appearance and first since 2012, when they played one of the best mainstage dance music sets in the festival's history. Here's hoping they return. Even without a pyramid, their festival sets can be just as entertaining as Daft Punk's.
3. Frank Ocean
R&B's most mercurial star this side of Maxwell hasn't performed in the United States since 2014, and even abruptly bowed out of a scheduled FYF Fest appearance in 2015, forcing FYF promoters Goldenvoice — the same company behind Coachella — to book an unlikely last-minute replacement in the form of Kanye West. Even though he's burned Goldenvoice before, these days Ocean is a safer bet than Kanye to show up to a gig, and his long-awaited Blonde (along with its oddly slept-on companion video album, Endless) was one of the most celebrated and talked-about releases of 2016. He's already announced several other 2017 festival dates and his April calendar is clear. His first Coachella appearance since 2012 seems like a no-brainer.
2. Aphex Twin
Speaking of mercurial artists: Glitch/IDM superstar Richard D. James played his first live set in the United States in eight years (the first, in fact, since his one-and-only Coachella appearance in 2008) at Houston's Day for Night festival earlier this month, and by all accounts he left a pile of happily twitching, swirly-eyed fans and new converts in his wake. He seldom plays live, so his appearance is still a long shot, but if Goldenvoice can promise a time slot and sound system that will make him happy, his presence alone on the lineup will be enough to have old-school electronic music fans scrambling for tickets.
TravelGrom didn't list the beloved Brit-pop band among their lineup rumors, but NME reports that English bookies have put the odds of a 2017 reunion for the famously contentious Gallagher brothers at 5-to-4, apparently based on the recent release of the Oasis biopic Supersonic and a 20th-anniversary reissue of their 1997 album Be Here Now that will need some flogging. All of which sounds more like wishful thinking than solid intel, but hey — if any event can put enough money on the table to convince Noel and Liam to share the same stage a couple times, it's Coachella, which has scored more surprise reunion booking coups than any other U.S. festival by a wide margin.
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Bonus round: What's up with the headliners?
Oh, right, the headliners. We predict that the popular Beyoncé/Radiohead/Kendrick rumor is one-third right:
Beyoncé is a lock. There's a tiny chance she'll want too much money and they'll go with either Lady Gaga or Rihanna instead, but there's so much upside for both the Bey and Coachella brands in this pairing that they'll almost certainly work something out.
Radiohead have announced no U.S. dates in 2017 and Coachella don't want no sloppy seconds — the band already played Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Austin City Limits last year. On the other hand, Coachella has a long history of successfully booking hard rock and metal headliners, going all the way back to its first iteration in 1999 when Tool and Rage Against the Machine closed out the mainstage and carrying through to last year's extremely successful Guns N' Roses reunion. Translation: Metallica will be this year's obligatory Big Rock Headliner.
And finally: There's zero indication that Kendrick Lamar has any plans to tour in 2017. But A Tribe Called Quest are available and the sort of OutKast-like hip-hop reunion Coachella can't resist. Look for them to headline with a ton of special guests — including, quite possibly, Kendrick.