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Frank Ocean Coachella 2023 Headliner Replacement for Weekend 2 [Opinion]



Following a chaotic closing and day 3 of Coachella 2023 weekend 1 on Sun., April 16, who (if anybody) is likely to take the place of Frank Ocean this weekend?

What began early Sunday, April 16 as some mild outrage from Coachella 2023 attendees and those watching the #CoachellaOnYouTube live stream, has since spiraled into a media mayhem. While a vast majority of comments and reviews of Frank’s performance and the debacle surrounding it are negative, some positive reviews and fan experiences do exist.

Porter Robinson at Coachella. Photo by: Kirby Gladstein

Just hours before his stream was slated to air on the annual Coachella YouTube broadcast, fans noticed both Frank Ocean and Björk were missing from the Coachella Stage (main stage) schedule. While many believed this to be an error or a mere miscommunication, it was later confirmed by YouTube that Frank Ocean’s set would not be airing on YouTube. Keep in mind that nearly every single headliner in Coachella’s existence has broadcasted their performance on the live stream. It’s almost a part of what makes closing out one of the biggest festivals in the world such a prestigious honor. For the first time in Coachella history, Knowing that millions of music fans will be watching along from all around the world, as well as performing live for more than 125,000 attendees each day at the Empire Polo Club Grounds in Indio, California.

Something about this year’s day 3 of Coachella was just different than in years past – and that became more and more apparent, even through Monday. In all posts made by Coachella on social media on Sunday (April 16) and Monday (April 17), none included any of Frank Ocean. While some fans took to social media comments to Frank’s defense, stating “he did not allow any photography during his set,” the fest, of course, has in-house photography teams, as well as a team of social media professionals, who could have certainly captured and shared content – if they made the decision to do so, and received internal approval to share it.

AEG & Goldenvoice have left to release statements regarding Frank Ocean during weekend 1 or if he would be returning for a “repeat performance” to finish off weekend 2. Of course, there’s always the outside chance that Frank and his team are better prepared to headline weekend 2 of Coachella 2023. Billboard reported that Frank hurt his ankle during rehearsals in the days leading up to Sunday. If this is the case, and he was aware of his injury prior, one question remains: Why were the Coachella production team still instructed to construct and later deconstruct an ice-skating rink at the main stage? There’s no doubting that the setup of the skating rink and immediate disassembling of the rink cut into Frank’s set start time, but it is no excuse for him knowing there was a curfew and that he wouldn’t be able to perform his full set.

This year at Coachella, like most others, brought a plethora of memorable sets, special guests, and celebrity attendees. Celebrities spotted in the crowd were the likes of Justin Bieber and wife Hailey Bieber, Leonardo DiCaprio, Shawn Medes & Camila Cabello (who’ve apparently since rekindled their relationship), Will Smith, Lil Nas X, PinkPantheress, Cara Delavigne, Jon Hamm, Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Emma Roberts, Charli D’Amelio, Emma Chamberlain, Alessandra Ambrosio, Irina Shayk, Storm Reid, Paris Jackson, Teyana Taylor, and many, many more.

Some of the event highlights on Friday included: During weekend 1, day 1 of Coachella, some highlights included the surprise Blink-182 performance at Sahara, which was undoubtedly one of the fest’s biggest moments in years. The nostalgia and setlist from the guys was enough for them to headline the festival — and maybe they should have. We also thoroughly enjoyed Kaytranada, The Chemical Brothers, SG Lewis, Gorillaz, Becky G, FKJ, Burna Boy, Dombresky, Malaa, Jamie Jones with guest Anabel Englund, and Vintage Culture. Some other surprises from weekend 1, day 1 included surprise guests The Weeknd, John Legend, Diddy, Future, 21 Savage, and Don Toliver during Metro Boomin’ closing out the Sahara tent, Bebe Rexha during Two Friends at Sahara, Blondie with special guest Nile Rodgers, and Post Malone during Bad Bunny.

Saturday highlights were Calvin Harris’ return to the desert to close out the Coachella stage along with special guest Ellie Goulding. The only complaints we have about Calvin’s set is that it should have been longer, so that his greatest hits of a set could have lasted longer, and maybe even had some additional surprise guests. Although he closed the main stage, perhaps he should have been the official headliner. Other day 2 weekend 1 highlights included Eric Prydz pres. HOLO from the Outdoor Theatre (the first time he’s ever live streamed this show concept), Labrinth with special guest Billie Eilish, SOFI TUKKER at the Outdoor Theatre, the Kid LAROI from Sahara, Chromeo at Mojave with special guest La Roux, Elderbrook at Sahara, Charli XCX at the Coachella Stage, Tale Of Us from the Sahara tent, a surprise set from ODESZA at Do LaB, the massive drone show just before BLACKPINK, and rising New Jersey artist, 070 Shake.

On Sunday, while the mood was slightly grimmer on the grounds and for those watching along at home, there were still some major highlights, including a standout live show from SOFI TUKKER (Outdoor Theatre), a well-done closing set from Chris Lake + FISHER, a moving set from Labrinth, DRAMA, Kali Uchis with guest Tyler, The Creator, Jackson Wang with guest Ciara at the Sahara, WILLOW with Jaden Smith, A Boogie with A Hoodie with guest Tyga, Porter Robinson with guest Madeon at the Outdoor Theatre, Dominic Fike, Latto with special guest Saweetie at Shara, and a masked Boris Brejcha closed out the Sahara tent with a proper underground set.

If Frank Ocean does not headline Sunday night during weekend 2 of Coachella 2023, the question of who will take his place is at hand. There are several possibilities, including having Blink-182 move from the Sahara tent on Friday, to putting together a bit longer of a set for a headline slot on Sunday night. Calvin Harris’ Return to the Desert was a massive spectacle following BLACKPINK, so the option to move from Saturday night to Sunday night with an extended set (and maybe even a few additional surprise guest performers) is also strong. Could Björk move to a headline slot on Sunday, after having previously headlined the event in year’s past? There’s also the possibility of moving another roster artist to a headline slot following Björk or moving Björk to headline and add another billed artist to fill her place on Sunday. It’s important to remember that these are just theoretical options and buzz from fans, attendees, and other industry professionals.

Check this space for more information on Coachella 2023 weekend 2 leading up to the 3-day event.

Photos courtesy of Coachella’s Facebook page