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After a three year drought, it’s finally the return of the mighty Coachella. Celebrating the best artists from around the globe, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is always a beehive of diverse musical talent; the weekends are known for shining a beacon on acts big and small, giving them the opportunity to share themselves with crowds of unimaginable proportions. – Before the second weekend kicks off on April 22nd, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on just how brilliantly British artists have dominated the Coachella stages this year. From magnificent collaborations, surprise appearances and headline slots, the Brits have truly put their stamp on the festival this year! – So here are some shining moments from our British stars out in the desert…
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Arlo Parks
Arlo Parks is one of the finest British talents on offer right now; known for her wistful vocals and poetic songwriting, Parks’ heartfelt, soulful sound is timeless. And that timelessness is being appreciated, her 2021 debut ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’ even being awarded Mercury Prize for most-outstanding British album. Overseas, her sound is also making waves – Coachella fans were more than happy to bask in the light of Parks’ gorgeous performance.
The crowds were treated to her enchanting presence not once, but twice. While Parks blessed crowds at her own set, she also emerged on stage to duet with Phoebe Bridgers later in the evening. Bridgers’ performed with Parks earlier in the day, the pair knocking out a duet of Parks’ track ‘Black Dog’, while Parks helped Bridgers with ‘Graceland Too’ and ‘I Know the End’.
The two have collaborated in the past (the pair covering Radiohead’s ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ for BBC Radio 1), so the desire to perform together yet again just shows how much the pair respect one another as artists. We can only hope that this means the pair will finally collaborate on-track together – the world NEEDS it!
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Rina Sawayama
Coachella is truly the perfect place for an artist like Rina Sawayama. Whilst the festival is known for its celebration of music, there’s no way of ignoring the focus on fashion – and Sawayama knows a thing or two about looking sharp. Decked out in a gem-encrusted bralette and statement cowboy boots, Sawayama commanded the desert stage in style.
Knocking out back-to-back bangers, from ‘STFU!’ to ‘XS’ to ‘Cherry’, Sawayama’s dancefloor-ready pop is impossible not to adore. Crowds absolutely bathe in the sound, hooked on every word as Sawayama storms around the stage, snapping her hips along to the music all-the-while her charismatic vocals never falter for a moment.
While Sawayama’s own set was glorious, the singer also made a second appearance on stage with Pabllo Vittar for their fresh new collab track ‘Follow Me’. The track melds the pair’s eclectic sounds, serving poppy hooks before descending into furious, muted techno.
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Damon Albarn
But not every on stage collaboration featured artists off of the Coachella official line-up. The legendary Blur frontman Damon Albarn also graced the stage, joining Billie Eilish for her headline set.
Albarn joined Eilish for a rendition of ‘Happier Than Ever’ track ‘Getting Older’, voices melding together gorgeously. The pair then paid respect to Albarn’s own work, launching into an exhilarating performance of the Gorillaz’s juggernaut of a track ‘Feel Good Inc’.
The apparance of Albarn serves as a brilliant nod to just how influential the British music scene has been world-over. As Eilish belts out lines of the iconic Gorillaz track, grinning ear-to-ear, you can’t help but notice how much of an influence their sound has had on some of Eilish’s work. The group’s artsy, jagged electro-pop defies any boundaries, and Eilish’s debut ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ was also absolutely drenched in that playful, impossible to contain curiosity.
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Dave
When it comes to festival performances, Dave is truly one of a kind. While his rapping is sharp, astute and confident, there’s something to be said about the way he presents himself in-between songs. His charisma is second-to-none, able to charm crowds with ease – and, of course, he has become well-known for his appreciation of fans, often dragging someone up to have their moment in the limelight.
Coachella was no different – while other artists may take the huge, sprawling festival line-up as an opportunity to knock out an ambitious crossover, Dave is more than happy to commit to his usual approach. Scanning the crowd, Dave eventually welcomes on the lucky ‘Spike from London’, the pair performing ‘Thiago Silva’ with a giddy, excitable energy.
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Harry Styles
Could we really celebrate the British offerings of Coachella without mentioning the man himself? Taking on his very own headline slot was the brilliant Harry Styles, decked out in sequins and truly looking like a rockstar. The set highlighted exactly why Styles has become such a well-loved solo artist in recent years.
From the debut performance of fresh single ‘As It Was’, to a heartwarming homage to his boy band routes with One Direction classic ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, every track is handled with a grace beyond his years. At only 28, Styles’ has mastered the role of being a frontman – he feels like a star born to perform. If our words aren’t enough, the seal of approval from a legend might sway you.
Country icon Shania Twain joined Styles on stage, the pair performing renditions of Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’ and ‘You’re Still The One’, filling the desert with a twang of glitsy country-pop joy. And, honestly – when you’re the one bringing out a legend like Shania Twain, it’s clear that you’re doing something right.
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Words: Emily Swingle
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