- The 2020 Coachella lineup was announced on Friday morning, and three male acts are billed as headliners: Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott, and Frank Ocean.
- Many acclaimed women are also set to perform, but fans have criticised the festival for undervaluing them.
- Lana Del Rey, for example, released one of 2019’s best albums – but she’s billed below Ocean, who hasn’t released an album since 2016.
- Coachella has only ever had four female headliners in its 20-year history.
- Other fans have criticised the lineup’s treatment of LGBTQ artists like Kim Petras and gay icons like Carly Rae Jepsen, who are both billed on the poster’s fourth line of names.
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The 2020 Coachella lineup is already courting controversy over its treatment of female and LGBTQ artists.
When the lineup was revealed on Friday morning, many fans were thrilled to see rock band Rage Against the Machine, rap heavy hitter Travis Scott, and the ever-elusive Frank Ocean listed as headliners. Other fans, however, were disappointed that all three headliners are men – a trend that Coachella has been criticised for in the past.
— LA MATAJARI ????️⚧️????️???? (@javsocean) January 3, 2020
Coachella has only ever had four female headliners in its 20-year history, and three of those were in the past three years: Bjork in 2007, Lady Gaga in 2017, Beyoncé in 2018, and Ariana Grande in 2019.
While many women are also set to perform, fans are criticising the festival for undervaluing them
Traditionally, festival lineups are organised in order of importance and acclaim. The smaller and lower a name is on the lineup poster, the lesser known that name tends to be.
According to this logic, there are 18 male artists or all-male bands set to perform on Saturday that Coachella considers more important or acclaimed than Carly Rae Jepsen, one of the defining pop stars from the past 10 years.
As culture writer Zach Schonfeld noted on Twitter: “Carly Rae Jepsen is in smaller font size than King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard on the Coachella lineup.”
Carly Rae Jepsen is in smaller font size than King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard on the Coachella lineup
— Zach Schonfeld (@zzzzaaaacccchhh) January 3, 2020
Arts and entertainment editor Mike Roe voiced a similar critique: “What monsters put Carly Rae Jepsen on LINE FOUR of the Coachella poster for Saturday?!”
What monsters put Carly Rae Jepsen on LINE FOUR of the Coachella poster for Saturday?!
Respect the pop, y’allllll pic.twitter.com/z58A0XwS1Z
— Mike Roe (he/him) (@MikeRoe) January 3, 2020
Other fans reacted similarly.
In what fucking world is Carly Rae Jepsen, the Canadian empress of pop, given medium font billing in a music festival. Have fun in the desert nerds lol
(and coachella is managed and produced by shitty people but a paycheck is a paycheck ????????♂️) https://t.co/wXyxrHGgmm
— Justin (@JcastEyo) January 3, 2020
Carly Rae Jepsen’s name deserves to be bigger on the Coachella line up
— Sydney Swartz (@SyddSwartz) January 3, 2020
carly rae jepsen should be headlining coachella why the hell is her name so small on the poster
— happy hour helm (@whomatthelm) January 3, 2020
Lana Del Rey fans are particularly angry that she’s not billed as a headliner
Del Rey released one of 2019’s best albums (the Grammy-nominated “Norman F—ing Rockwell!”) and has been a major figure in pop music since her debut album in 2012. It would be reasonable to assume she’s reached the cultural and artistic status of a headliner.
But Del Rey is billed below Ocean, who – while an immensely important musical icon in his own right – hasn’t released an album since 2016.
Lana not being the sunday headliner, despite being more commercially successful and having released 2 albums since frank ocean, bc coachella hates women is all you need to know https://t.co/01cy8LuvPk
— hunky dory stan (@thotbryan_) January 3, 2020
Frank Ocean headlining coachella instead of lana makes no sense…i love frank but Lana put out an entire album last year
— j (@gucciandior) January 3, 2020
I’m really sad that Lana did not get top billing, or no woman for that matter. Coachella was doing great with female acts, but unfortunately has regressed. Luckily there are a lot of bomb ass women in the undercard.
— princess pumpkin $pice (@thecityPrincess) January 3, 2020
As Billboard writer Chris Payne simply put, “How is Lana Del Rey not a Coachella headliner at this point?”
While Payne didn’t argue that Del Rey deserved the slot over Ocean specifically, he did note, “I have doubts about how much of the Coachella crowd will show up” to watch Rage Against the Machine perform.
As much as I love Rage being back, I have doubts about how much of the Coachella crowd will show up to that set.
— Chris Payne (@cpayneonaplane) January 3, 2020
Some fans believe the billing is ‘homophobic’
In addition to its male-heavy top billing, others have criticised the lineup’s treatment of LGBTQ artists like Kim Petras, who’s billed on the fourth line of the poster’s names. Gay icons like Jepsen and Charli XCX were similarly shafted.
Charli XCX, Kim Petras, City Girls and Carly Rae Jensen’s names are small as fuck on the Coachella lineup….. Coachella is NOT for the girls and gays people!
— sarah (@sarahtheflop) January 3, 2020
If you didn’t already know that the owners of Coachella are homophobic, just check out the size of Kim Petras & Carly Rae Jepsen’s names. https://t.co/HiqHFTL0Ug
— Michael Wachowiak (@mikewachowiak) January 3, 2020
the fact that carly rae jepsen’s name isn’t bigger is extremely homophobic pic.twitter.com/n3DlKnNbfJ
— cødy (@_codez) January 3, 2020
Coachella has long battled a reputation for homophobia, as its founder, Philip Anschutz – who also owns AEG, the company that organizes the festival – has donated lots of money to extremist anti-LGBTQ groups.
It is worth noting, however, that 2020 headliner Ocean is famously queer.
And indeed, other fans have celebrated the very inclusion of many queer artists and singers who are beloved in the LGBTQ community (others include Brockhampton, Lil Nas X, Girl in Red, and Conan Grey), with some even calling this year’s lineup “for the gays.”
frank ocean, brockhampton, AND girl in red are performing??? coachella 2020 is for the gays https://t.co/KD4HYBlF7W
— lee ✿ (@lesbolizzie) January 3, 2020
Charli XCX, Kim Petras, Carly Rae Jepsen, Hatsune Miku, Yaeji, 100 gecs…. they’re all on the fucking Coachella lineup… gays really won I cannot stress this ENOUGH pic.twitter.com/FFWj5ChoxI
— BadVibesGirl is writing a record (@badvibesgirI) January 3, 2020
charli xcx, kim petras, and carly rae jepsen are all going to coachella, literally the gay holy trinity ????????
— Paolo H. (@supitspaolo) January 3, 2020
Representatives for Coachella did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.