Coachella 2020 Lineup

Regina Cerasuol, Author

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Ah, Coachella. That overpriced music festival that every millennial dreams of going to, with headliners such as Paul McCartney, Tame Impala, Eminem, and lineups such as Mac Demarco, Rico Nasty, and vocaloid Hatsune Miku?

First, what is Coahcella?

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, commonly known as Coachella, is an annual music and arts festival. The festival is held, funny enough, in the Coachella Valley, which is part of the Empire Polo Club in the Colorado Desert, in Indio, California. The music festival was co-founded by Paul Tollet and Rick Van Santen in 1999, and is organized by Goldenvoice, a branch of Anschutz Entertainment Group. This event includes musicians of different genres, such as: rock, pop, indie, rhythm and blues, and electronica. The musicians perform across several stages throughout the Coachella Valley. The festival also includes different art installations and sculptures.

Coachella’s roots trace back to a Pearl Jam concert in 1993, where they refused to play in Los Angeles and were boycotting Ticketmasters ticket sales over service charges applied to the ticket sales. Paul Tollett booked Pearl Jam at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California through Goldenvoice. Later on, when Goldenvoice was having a financial crisis, Paul Tollett and co-president Ricka Van Santen decided to create a music festival that includes artist that specifically aren’t in the top charts.

Coachella didn’t actually start becoming an annual festival until 2001. The festival started in October 1999, conveniently three months after Woodstock ‘99. After no event being held in the year 2000, Coachella returned to being an annual festival beginning in April 2001 as a single day event. Although, in 2002, the festival ran for two days. Coachella then expanded their festival into a three day event in 2007, and eventually turned into a two-weekend format.

Enough about Coachella, who is Hatsune Miku?

Hatsune Miku, modeled after anime voice actress Saki Fujita, is a blue-haired CGI vocaloid created in 2007 by Crypton Future Media. It was their third collaboration with Yamaha and “blew their previous projects out of the water,” Crypton says. According to dictionary.com, Hatsune Miku, roughly translates to “first sound from the future.”

Hatsune Miku is best known for her turquoise twintails, silver vest, black miniskirt, and a tie that matches her hair.

“It enables you to make a song completely from scratch with a simple computer, so many people bought the software, made songs,” Guillaume Devigne, the global marketing director of Crypton says. “It was also when YouTube started its service in Japan, so it all came at the right time,” according to GQ Magazine.

Musicians who record songs featuring Miku began to post videos on the new wave of the video sharing platform. Then, artists started creating illustrations and videos to coincide with them and her fandom exploded. “Some songs became so successful, that they entered the charts in Japan,” says Devigne. “Exit Tunes Presents Vocalogenesis Feat Hatsune Miku was even a No. 1 album in 2010.”

Since the explosion of Hatsune Miku’s music and appearance, she has become an international sensation. There’s merchandise, an abundance of songs, and international concerts. A video game, 2009’s Project Diva, helped push her songs onto the international stage. But not only does she tour the world, no no no, she has collaborated with Pharrell Williams, was the opening act for Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP Tour, and appeared on the Late Night Show with David Letterman.

When she performs “live,” she performs on a video screen, or more commonly as a hologram. But unlike other virtual bands, such as U.K. band The Gorillaz, Hatsune Miku’s voice is entirely computer generated.

Many people wonder, why would Coachella include a vocaloid performance?

Well, this isn’t Coachella’s first rodeo with animated singers… or revived singers from the dead.

Tupac Shakur, or 2Pac, was an actor and rapper, and is one of the most significant rappers of all time. He performed as a hologram with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, who were headliners in 2012. 

The Gorrillaz, as previously mentioned, is a band created in 1988, who consists of four animated members: Stuart “2-D” Pot, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russle Hobbs. Their fictional universe is depicted in music videos, interviews, and short cartoons. In reality, Damon Albarn is the only musical contributor, and often collaborates with other musicians. They headlined Coachella in 2010.

Why are they choosing to have Hatsune Miku in Coachella today? Is it because K-Pop music groups are performing more and more each year? Is it because they want more of a diverse cultural aspect at Coachella? Or have they just run out of ideas?