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Looking Back At Coachella: From One Day In The Desert To Two Weekends

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has produced some timeless musical moments over the years, from a larger-than-life performance by Beatle Paul McCartney in 2009 to the Tupac Shakur hologram in 2012 and the OutKast reunion last year.

This year could continue the trend with surprises from legendary rock stars AC/DC, Jack White and hip-hop superstar Drake, which can include guest appearances and more.

But let’s not get ahead of yourselves and instead look back at some of the lineups and special moments of Coachella of years past.

“I remember when Madonna was on the bill. It was a huge deal,” said Adrienne Scherer, a floor manager for Rhino Records in Claremont, of the 2006 bill.

From Madonna to Kanye West, Scherer is amazed at how diverse Coachella’s lineups have been over the years.

“Now it’s not mainstream indie, it’s mainstream now,” she saud. “They have AC/DC and Drake. It’s really widened up.”

The first Coachella lineup for the original two-day festival on Oct. 9-10, 1999, featured alternative rock headliners Beck, Rage Against the Machine and Tool.

After taking a year off, the festival came blazing back on April 28 — this time for a single day — with a stacked lineup featuring the reunion of Janes Addiction, Iggy Pop, hip-hop legends The Roots, Gangstarr and Mos Def, before going back to two days in 2002 with headliners Bjork and Oasis.

The fourth installment of Coachella on April 26-27, 2003 had a lineup for the ages, with the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers as official headliners with some new and tried and true rock, hip-hop and DJ flavored acts, before trying the spring time festial in May in 2004. That edition drew a lot of attention with alternative rock superstars Radiohead, the reunion of the Pixies and the revolutionary electronic band Kraftwerk.

Year six took place April 30-May 1, 2005 and featured a landmark performance from the young band known as Arcade Fire in what some say is one of the best performances ever at the festival. The band has come back three more times, most recently in 2014 when the band Daft Punk’d thousands of its fans.

Coachella finally made the move to three days for the April 27-29, 2007, with returning headliners Bjork, Red Hot Chili Peppers and a reunion of Rage Against the Machine as well as more acts than ever before.

A year, despite a lineup featuring Prince, Roger Waters and Jack Johnson as headliners, the festival did not sell out. And yet, Jelani Kimble, who works the hip-hop section at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, described this year as the best he’s seen in his five Coachella years.

“I thought that was the best list of headliners overall to me, just as far as what they hadn’t had in the past and diversity,” Kimble said, adding that Prince, Portishead and Roger Waters were his biggest highlights that year.

Long Beach Fingerprints manager Chris Baker agreed.

“When it was Kraftwerk, Portishead and Prince — that was a highlight for sure,” Baker said. “I had been wanting to see Prince for a long time. As people left, I was able to get closer and closer.”

In 2010, Jay Z was the first hip-hop artist to headline Coachella. But as if that wasn’t enough, he brought out his superstar wife Beyoncé.

Since then, Coachella has continued to incorporate more hip-hip and rap to its mix, featuring Kanye West in 2011 and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg — as well as their many guests from Eminem and 50 Cent to Kendrick Lamar — in 2012.

The same year Goldenvoice, producers of Coachella, resurrected Tupac via hologram, it also upped the festival game by adding a second weekend in 2012 as well, changing the worldwide festival circuit forever.

“Now people travel in to go to this,” Scherer said of the global appeal of Coachella. “We’ll see where it ends up or if it ever ends.”

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