Nine days before Coachella returns, the festival has confirmed reports that Kanye West has dropped out of one of the event’s three headliners and been replaced by Swedish House Mafia with the Weeknd.
No explanation has been officially given for the departure of West, who was booked as the best performer on the third night of the festival, which repeats its lineup over two successive weekends. (Harry Styles and Billie Eilish lead the first two nights.) But the change, noted only in a revised range leaflet posted to the festival’s social media accounts on Wednesday, followed West’s ban from performing at the Grammy Awards, after weeks of unpredictable and disturbing behavior online.
News of West’s apparent withdrawal was first reported on Monday by TMZ, and was quickly followed by reports in the music press that the festival was looking for a replacement. Swedish House Mafia had been announced months ago as part of the festival, although the band’s position in the lineup was unclear. In October, the band released a track, “moth to a flame“, featuring the Weeknd on vocals.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which was one of the first major events to be canceled by the spread of the coronavirus in 2020 – and was subsequently postponed several times as the pandemic continued – will be held April 15-17 and April 22-24 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. It is being watched closely by the music industry as a symbolic moment for the full-scale return to the multibillion-dollar touring business. In February, the festival announced that attendees would not have to show proof of a Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test to enter; masks are not mandatory.
West, who now goes by Ye, was nominated for five Grammys at Sunday’s ceremony, including album of the year for “Donda.” He won two non-televised rap categories, bringing his career total to 24, but did not attend the show.
The subject of a new Netflix documentary that coincided with the release of an ongoing new album exclusively on a $200 proprietary speaker, West had begun posting intensively and combatively online about his divorce from Kim Kardashian. , his love life and their ongoing child custody battle.
When Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show,” who was to host the Grammys, said in a segment last month that West’s behavior veered towards harassment and abuse, West responded in a post referencing Noah with a racial slur. West was then banned from Instagram for 24 hours and has not posted online since.
The 2020 Coachella event would have featured headlining performances from Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean. A wave of crowds at Scott’s Astroworld festival last October left 10 people dead and many others injured, leading the rapper to withdraw from most public appearances. West indicated in an Instagram post in February that he planned to bring Scott, his former protege and former brother-in-law, to the Coachella stage as a special guest during his set.
Coachella is expected to host up to 125,000 attendees per day.