Is this the year to visit the Coachella music festival?

3 January 2018, 14:52

Beyonce, Eminem and The Weeknd have been announced as headline acts for what has become the most fashionable festival in the world.

The Coachella Music Festival, set in the rich hills of Palm Springs, California, has swapped indie groups and rock stars for pop and R&B;, responding to the will of the masses.

The event started in 1999, six years after grunge band Pearl Jam headlined a concert at the Empire Polo Club which attracted 25,000 people and showed the field's viability as a festival venue.

Back then, bands like Rage Against The Machine, Tool and The Chemical Brothers were headliners. Looking at the history of the festival, analysing its headlines, you get a sense of how its audience has mutated.

:: Coachella: Where have all the rebels gone?

From hard rock and techno music, it tried out old school rock 'n' roll like Roger Waters and electronic group Depeche Mode, later moving on to the indie music scene with band likes The Black Keys and Arcade Fire.

But Coachellers are no longer headbangers, or even music lovers. They are mostly instagramers who spend more time picking up flowers to put on their heads than listening to the bands' latest albums.

This year, the festival seems to have finally give up on any attempt to celebrate music. Not one, not two, but all three headliners are all mainstream acts.

Beyonce will headline on 14 and 21 April, and it will be her first live show since her Formation world tour, where the politically relevant met the musically numb.

The crowd who listens to Beyonce and Eminem is not the same crowd that visited for Radiohead and Phoenix, and festival organisers know that.

What the line-up for 2018 means is not a change of heart at Coachella, or of audience, but the certainty that fashionistas will finally have someone playing on the main stage who will make them leave festival stands offering to cut your hair "the Coachella way".

Now, instead of just instagraming themselves and their clothes, they might actually take a couple of decent selfies with Beyonce singing in the background.

For those who just happen to be in California and have between £500 and £1000 to spare, there are still a couple of decent acts this year.

Fleet Foxes, alt-J and Vince Staples will be there, as will Jamiroquai and David Byrne.

But if you decide to go, do bring your phone - or no one will believe you were ever there.