It started in 1999, and in all the years that followed (save 2000), the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has established itself as the biggest music festival in America, catering primarily to rock and dance-music performances. It also has the unintentional and somewhat inaccurate reputation of a “rich white kids” party event. That is not true from the proven diversity of the feature music artists alone. For the event last year, diva Beyoncé would have been the first black female headliner, were it not for her then-ongoing pregnancy. Better late than never because she made it in this year.
According to CNN, Beyoncé stepped onto the stage of history for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival last Saturday, April 14, at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. It was special enough considering she became the first African-American female to be the prime performer for the event, but it was also the culmination of a promise she made in 2017, when she was originally set to headline Coachella. After sidelining herself due to being pregnant, she promised that she would make it this year. She even wrote about it on Facebook shortly before her set started on Saturday night.
Needless to say, Beyoncé failed to disappoint. The 36-year-old star’s set, which lasted nearly two hours, was so jaw-dropping spectacular that her “Beyhive” fandom gleefully renamed Coachella, even for just that evening, into “Beychella”. It was undoubtedly a celebration of Beyoncé’s song catalog, all spruced up a several notches for the occasion. That explains her opening number of “Crazy in Love” with a New Orleans marching band, and the historical “Black National Anthem” of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”. She also had surprise appearances in her numbers: husband Jay-Z for “Déjà vu” and her sister Solange in “Get Me Bodied”.
But it was the epic reunion with her old chums Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland that sold the night. Once again whole, Destiny’s Child proceeded to go through their own selection of hits from their 90s heyday, moving from “Say My Name” to “Lose My Breath”. Before proceeding with “Who Run the World (Girls)”, Beyoncé told the euphoric crowd, “Coachella, thank you for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline.” Indeed, her set at the music festival was so huge that she received kudos from all quarters, including Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee for Houston, Beyoncé’s hometown.
Among the other featured performers for Coachella that Saturday night were rapper Eminem and R&B singer The Weeknd. A reported 125,000 people were present to celebrate Beychella that weekend, even as videos of the performance flooded YouTube to great praise.
Photo courtesy of Allure