When Beyonce was announced as a headliner for Coachella’s 2017 edition, it marked the first time in a decade that a solo female artist took top billing at the festival.
Goldenvoice was sure to replace Beyonce with another female act after the Lemonade singer had to withdraw from the slot to best care for the twins she was expecting in June. After their most profitable year ever in 2017 with Lady Gaga at the helm on Saturday night, Coachella is welcoming Beyonce back to the coveted spot in 2018.
As exciting as Beyonce’s position is at the top of the bill is, Coachella, Governors Ball, and Boston Calling are all featuring standout female acts from the top to the bottom of their 2018 lineups.
While the lack of female performers is still a glaring problem for many festivals, Amplify explored the names on each of the three festivals for notable female artists. Below are six of the standouts that are set to steal the show in 2018.
Playing: Coachella April 14 & 21
Anyone who is wondering why HAIM got second billing on Coachella’s Saturday night has not seen the L.A. band play live before. From a distance, the three sisters from the Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley may seem gimmicky with their stylized middle parts and synchronized dance moves, but the HAIM sisters are all extremely talented multi-instrumentalists who know how to rile up a crowd. Este, Danielle, and Alana all play multiple instruments on their record and on stage and their harmonies could only be achieved by those close enough to have shared a room. While they may have garnered many fans from opening for Taylor Swift on her 1989 tour, their audience has a wide range of diversity from classic rock listeners, R&B lovers, and even rap fans who may have been introduced to the band through their collaboration with A$AP Ferg. Not to mention, country fans might have stumbled across their incredible cover of Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much” which they have been performing live.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Playing: Governors Ball June 1-3
Shortly after the lineup announcements for both Coachella and Governors Ball, former One Direction member Niall Horan took to Twitter to lament that lack of bands present. Horan seems to have glossed over the Yeah Yeah Yeahs top billing at the New York festival. After several years on hiatus, Karen O. and the band returned to the stage in October of last year to promote the vinyl reissue of their debut LP Fever to Tell. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs played three triumphant return shows in Los Angeles, Oakland, and New York with blistering 17-song sets that prove the group hasn’t lost any of its stage presence during their four-year absence. They followed up with a headlining set at the Growler’s Six festival in San Pedro, California and are set to play a double header with Beck on May 23 at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. There is no official word yet on whether the band is working on a follow up to 2013’s Mosquito, so fans will want to be sure they see the New York band while they continue to celebrate their legacy.
Playing: Coachella April 13 & 20 and Boston Calling May 25-27
St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) gave us one of the best rock albums of 2017 with Masseduction. The lyrics are clever and the visuals are stunning, all while being Clark’s most intimate album yet. The lead singles off Masseduction, “New York” and “Los Ageless,” were accompanied by monochromatic videos of St. Vincent burning heads of lettuce, pastel-colored cosmetic surgical rooms, and floating legs in knee-high leather boots. In collaboration with Red Bull Music Academy, Clark put together a transforming stage and strobing screens that borrow from the released videos for her Fear the Future tour that concluded its first leg in December. Her performances at Coachella and Boston Calling this year are sure to feature the same theatrics Clark has displayed on Ellen, The Graham Norton Show, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah where she compared Masseduction‘s visual theme to a dominatrix at a mental hospital.
Playing: Coachella April 13 & 20
SZA’s debut album Ctrl was originally set to be released in 2015, but the New Jersey-born singer struggled with crippling anxiety as she tried to put forth her best possible introduction to the world. By the time Ctrl was finally released in June of 2017 via Kendrick Lamar’s label TDE, SZA had already made a name for herself with EPs that featured Chance the Rapper and labelmate Isaiah Rashad, a collaboration on Rihanna’s Anti album, and co-writing credit on Nicki Minaj and Beyonce’s song “Feeling Myself.” As an artist, the singer has grown exceptionally since her 2012 and 2013 EPs and Crtl, which features guest like Lamar and Travis Scott, landed in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 and achieved Pitchfork’s coveted Best New Music endorsement. To top it all off, SZA closed out 2017 with two stellar performances on Saturday Night Live which are surely indicators of the kind of show she will be bringing to Indio this April as the second billed artist on Coachella’s opening night.
Playing: Governors Ball June 1-3, Boston Calling May 25-27
Maggie Rogers hasn’t even released her first full-length major-label album and yet the Maryland singer isn’t the smallest font on the lineup posters. In 2016, her single “Alaska” visibly moved Pharell Williams to tears and she has since sold out shows in Los Angeles and across the country in support of her 2017 EP Now That the Light Is Fading. The EP was beloved by critics everywhere for its experimental and soul-stirring songs. Afterwards, Rogers went on hiatus to gather herself for next steps that seem destined to come to fruition this year. With spots at both Governors Ball and Boston Calling that hiatus appears to be over and the singer is set to impress even wider audiences in 2018 with her heartfelt and complex music.
Playing: Coachella April 15 & 22, Boston Calling May 25-27
If anything, festival lineups are indicators of artists who are determined to make their mark on the calendar year. With collaborations with Chance the Rapper and a charming NPR Tiny Desk Concert under her belt, rapper Noname seems poised for a breakout in 2018. Her tender and hopeful 30-minute long mixtape titled “Telefone” dealt with themes of addiction, love, and police violence, all over jazz instrumentals that rang of sincerity and a brighter future. There has been no announcement of a full length album but ff her previously released work is even a sample of what she plans to bring to both Coachella and Boston Calling, the Chicago-native will draw mesmerized crowds at both festivals.
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