Coachella 2012

Can it really be that time again? Yes, it seems that it’s true – it’s April, and just as we were brushing the winter blues away, Coachella is back to force us back into the desert with our dancing shoes on.

For the first time since the festival started back in 1999, Coachella is expanding its original three-day weekend experience to take place over two consecutive weekends – with identical lineups. Though some critics have said the second weekend will just be a poor copy of the first, Coachella’s ticket sales say otherwise, with both weekends completely sold out (and considering the festival attracts 75,000 people a day, that’s a lot of party-goers).

The festival usually enjoys hot desert weather, but this year there’s a 70 percent chance of rain to dampen spirits at the first Coachella weekend, with temperatures looking like they will only reach into the 60s with wind gusts of around 40 mph, although Saturday and Sunday are looking warmer and dry. Music lovers will no doubt be hoping to avoid scenes of mud baths that are fairly regular fixtures at events like Glastonbury Festival.

Line up

The headliners for this year’s festival are about as diverse as you can get when it comes to mammoth events these days. Friday will be headlined by The Black Keys, Saturday by Radiohead, and Sunday by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Radiohead’s last performance at Coachella was in 2004 (the first year that the festival sold out in advance, as it has done since).

The Black Keys will undoubtedly remember 2012 as the year they crossed into the mainstream with their first year as Coachella headliners (despite having played numerous times before as a support act). When asked what sets the Coachella festival experience apart, singer Dan Auerbach said: “It’s got palm trees first of all. That’s the biggest difference. I’ve never been to another festival with palm trees!”

Besides the headliners, there are a number of performers that have been picked out as ‘ones to watch’ for this year’s festival: look out for Florence and the Machine, Miike Snow, Azealia Banks, M.Ward, Gotye and Pulp.  There are rumours afoot of special guests for the Sunday headlining slot, with some saying Eminem, Warren G and Wiz Khalifa are set to make appearances. And if your thing is celeb spotting, there’s never any lack of A, B, or even C listers hanging around at the celeb parties after the festival. So watch this space…

If you’re going to Coachella and looking for something to do while you’re not at the festival, the LA Times have published some activities you might undertake when the festival is over, like take a rock’n’roll pilgrimage, find U2′s Joshua Tree or go day tripping (not that kind of tripping!). If you need convincing to get yourself to the Coachella Valley in the first place, the LA Times blog has come up with a nifty Ten Reasons to Visit the Coachella Valley (including offbeat lodgings, gigantic dinosaurs, outlet malls, the great outdoors, film festivals and modern art!).