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From ‘Beychella’ to anything Vanessa Hudgens: Most iconic celebrity moments at Coachella

Ahead of Coachella 2024, here’s a look back at some of the most iconic moments in the festival’s history

Meredith Clark
New York
Sunday 14 April 2024 19:26 BST
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Related video: Gwen Stefani gives No Doubt fans sneak peak at upcoming reunion at Coachella 2024

Each year, thousands of music lovers flock to the middle of the desert in Indio, California, to hear the biggest names in the music industry put on some show-stopping performances. The annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which takes place across two weekends this month, will once again be a three-day festival to remember… but not just because of its star-studded lineup.

The first weekend of the 2024 Coachella festival is from Friday 12 April until Sunday 14 April, followed by its second weekend on Friday 19 April to Sunday 21 April. Lana Del Rey, Tyler the Creator, and Doja Cat will headline both weekends, along with performances from Gwen Stefani’s reformed ska punk band No Doubt, rapper Ice Spice, and Mexican artist Peso Pluma.

Since 1999, Coachella has grown to become one of the most notable music festivals in the world. Of course, that is partly due to some of the major artists who’ve performed at Coachella – Jane’s Addiction, Björk, Oasis, Radiohead, The Cure, Prince, Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, The Strokes, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, and last year’s Blink-182 reunion.

However, we can’t forget that Coachella has also served as the backdrop for some of the most memorable moments in pop culture history. From desert-style fashion to wacky celebrity interactions, this year’s three-day music festival is sure to bring about even more buzzworthy videos and social media posts.

Ahead of Coachella 2024, here’s a look back at some of the most iconic moments in the festival’s history.

Beychella 2018

In 2018, Coachella unofficially rebranded as “Beychella” when Beyoncé herself took the stage as the festival’s major headliner. Her mesmerising performance began with the pop star dressed as a Nubian Queen, wearing a black Balmain leotard and headpiece. She then changed into a yellow hoodie and denim shorts, taking inspiration from America’s HBCUs – or historically Black colleges and universities.

Beyoncé owned Coachella in 2018
Beyoncé owned Coachella in 2018 (Getty for Coachella)

“Thank you for allowing me to be the first Black woman to headline Coachella,” Beyoncé notably told the cheering crowd during her set. She sang a compilation of her greatest hits, reunited with Destiny’s Child, invited Jay-Z to the stage, and danced with her sister Solange.

Beyoncé later released a Netflix documentary focusing on the lead-up to her headline Coachella performance, titled Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé​.

Madonna and Drake kiss on stage

Back in 2015, Madonna shocked Coachella attendees (and the world) when she kissed Drake during his headline performance. As the rapper sat on a chair with his head tilted back, the “Like a Virgin” singer leaned in to plant a kiss on his lips. The kiss appeared to take Drake completely by surprise, as he said into the microphone: “What the f*** just happened?”

Madonna shocked Drake during her 2015 appearance
Madonna shocked Drake during her 2015 appearance (Getty)

Drake later described the on-stage kiss as a “moment to write home about” in an Instagram post. “Don’t misinterpret my shock!! I got to make out with the queen Madonna and I feel 100 about that forever,” he said.

Kacey Musgraves’ “I didn’t say f***ing yee”

Coachella has been known to cultivate some meme-worthy moments over the years, but one viral video that continues to amuse internet users features none other than country music singer Kacey Musgraves.

In 2019, the “Golden Hour” singer went viral when she instructed the crowd to join her in a “yee haw” call and response. However, things went awry when Musgraves silently gestured her microphone towards the audience. The crowd shouted “Haw,” which prompted the singer to point out: “I didn’t say f***ing yee”.

The moment has since racked up over a million views online, forever going down in Coachella history.

Fyre Festival 2.0

It’s no secret that Coachella has changed over the years. The festival has recently faced criticism from music lovers, as popular brands use the three-day-long event to promote their products with the help of influencers. In 2022, online fashion retailer Revolve held its annual Revolve Festival during the first weekend of Coachella. However, the event came with major hiccups, such as transportation issues and lack of accommodations, as many influencers took to TikTok to document the fiasco.

Multiple videos showed crowds of people waiting in the desert sun and fighting to get on shuttle buses to the invite-only influencer festival. Others claimed that bottled water was in short supply, while some influencers never even made it to the Revolve Festival.

Revolve later said in a statement that it “worked closely with all appropriate city and safety authorities to ensure a safe and secure path for guests to access the two-day invitation-only event.”

“The safety of our guests is of the utmost importance to us and we will always make that a priority,” the company added. “We sincerely apologise to all the guests who were impacted. We always strive to provide a great experience and we promise to do better.”

Vanessa Hudgens aka Queen of Coachella

It’s safe to say that pretty much anything Vanessa Hudgens does as Coachella can be considered iconic; she is the “Queen of Coachella” after all. The High School Musical alum has been attending the music festival on-and-off for nearly a decade. Hudgens has become known for her boho-chic style at the festival, rocking countless flower crowns, wide brimmed hats, and crochet knits over the years.

Vanessa Hudgens has been nicknamed the “Queen of Coachella”
Vanessa Hudgens has been nicknamed the “Queen of Coachella” (Getty)

The Spring Breakers star was notably absent from last year’s Coachella festival, as she posted a selfie to her Instagram Story with the caption: “The Coachella FOMO is real.” It’s unclear if Hudgens will make an appearance at this year’s music event, considering she’s expecting her first child with husband Cole Tucker.

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello reignite their romance

Eagle-eyed fans caught exes Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello sharing a kiss at Coachella 2023. In a viral video posted to social media, the musicians were watching a performance together when Mendes wrapped his arm around his former flame. Cabello then grabbed his waist and the pair kissed in the crowd.

However, the kiss seemed to be just a brief rekindling for the former couple, who began dating in July 2019 and called it quits in November 2021.

Harry Styles loses (then finds) his Gucci ring

The “Watermelon Sugar” singer, who headlined Coachella 2022, enlisted his fans to help find his $350 Gucci lion ring that slipped off his finger during his set. The search party appeared to be organised by the X/Twitter account @heresharrysring, which was created by a fan who claimed to have found the singer’s lost ring.

“We found the ring Friday night at Coachella and [it] is in our possession,” the account posted at the time. “We tried reaching out to multiple accounts in hopes of getting in contact with someone who will help return it.”

Harry Styles reveals ring he lost at Coachella was returned by fans
Harry Styles reveals ring he lost at Coachella was returned by fans (Instagram / Harry Styles)

On 19 May 2022, Styles confirmed that he had finally been reunited with the ring. “I think some of the fans got in touch with whoever found it in the field, and we managed to… I got it back yesterday,” he said during an appearance on the Today show.

Styles also shared a photo of the lion head ring to his Instagram Story with the caption: “It hath returned.” The singer added a small “thank you” to those who helped return the accessory.

Paris Hilton’s bodyguard chasing her around Coachella

An amusing video of Paris Hilton, which was taken at Coachella 2022, seemingly captured the reality of attending a music festival with an A-list heiress. In the viral TikTok, the 43-year-old DJ was seen frolicking around the festival grounds as her bodyguard chased after her. “The way Paris Hilton’s bodyguard has to chase after her in the desert heat as she skips away,” the user captioned the TikTok video.

The video also prompted a response from Hilton herself, who shared her reaction to the video from her own TikTok account. “#Sliving is my cardio. It’s a workout keeping up with the Queen Sliv,” Hilton aptly said.

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