The Top 10 Female Artists We Saw at Coachella 2024

By Guest Contributor, Lyndsey Parker

In the past, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was a frustratingly, if unsurprisingly, testosterone-heavy event.

Even though the fest launched way back in 1999, it took until 2007 for promoters to book a female headliner, Björk. Another woman didn’t headline for another 10 years after that, when Lady Gaga finally graced the main stage. In 2016, the Los Angeles Times additionally complained in its op-ed “Coachella: Plenty of bros, but where are the female headliners?” that women, at that time, comprised less (sometimes much less) than 25 percent of any overall Coachella lineup, year to year.

This year, however, things looked refreshingly different.

Gwen Stefani and No Doubt perform during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on April 13, 2024. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

For the first time in Coachella history (or herstory), there were two female headliners, April 12’s Lana Del Rey and April 14’s Doja Cat, and the bill was stacked with brilliant women like indie-rock artists Suki Waterhouse, former Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard, the Japanese House, Faye Webster, and the Last Dinner Party; hip-hop/soul stars Jhené Aiko, Tinashe, Ice Spice, Chlöe, and recent Best New Artist GRAMMY-winner Victoria Monet; rising pop divas Raye, Chappell Roan, Renee Rapp, and Sabrina Carpenter; K-pop girl group LE SSERAFIM; J-pop group ATARASHII GAKKO!; and triumphantly reunited “Just a Girl” trailblazers No Doubt.

Representation was strong on the Empire Polo Field grounds as well, with many front rows feeling like safe spaces where ribbon-festooned, face-painted, and Lana-inspired, flower-crowned girls and queer kids were free to joyously scream and sob along to every lyric. There were moments when Coachella actually felt more like Lilith Fair… and that felt pretty damn good.

Here are 10 standout artists who exuded much-needed feminine energy in Indio:

10. Chlöe

Chlöe Bailey, one half of the Beyoncé-mentored, Grammy-nominated sister duo Chloe x Halle, brought baby-Beychella vibes to the too-small Gobi Tent, with a fierce, fun set complete with advanced choreography, triple-ponytail hairography, and attitude for days. Many of her scathing songs targeted two-timing, unworthy men (including “Cheatback,” the live debut of new single “Boy Bye,” and a cover of Missy Elliott’s “One Minute Man”), and when she revealed that her ex had cheated on her, she posed in her curve-hugging cutout stagewear and gasped incredulously, “Can you believe it? Cheated on this?” I hope that jerk was home alone, watching her kill it on Coachella’s livestream and eating his little heart out.

9. Suki Waterhouse

Just one month after giving birth to her first child with her fiancé, Twilight actor Robert Pattinson (who was at the festival to support her), it seemed like Waterhouse was having the best Coachella experience. Looking like a reincarnated Anita Pallenberg in her marabou feather coat and beachy-blonde pageboy on an enchanted-forest stage, the actress/songstress gratefully gushed, “I cannot believe that this is my life!” and told the rapt audience, “I don’t know if some of you know, but I had some big life changes happen recently. Some pretty big events have been going down…”

Waterhouse then shared some sweet surprise news, revealing the sex of her new baby. “I love amazing ladies… and I’ve been very lucky to have my own little amazing lady and meet the love of my life,” she giggled. At a festival ruled by many amazing ladies, Waterhouse’s announcement was especially moving. She also dedicated “Johana” to “women’s rights” before doing a cover song for the lads, Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”

8. Reneé Rapp with Kesha

During her main stage set, which was introduced by the cast of The L Word, actress/pop sensation/lesbian icon Rapp brought out “the hottest person on the Earth” — a woman she’d once described as “my everything growing up” to Teen Vogue – Kesha. And as Kesha, who proudly advertised her new status as a pop elder-stateswoman on her “I Am Mother” tank top, rousingly dueted with Rapp on her 2009 breakthrough single, there was one very notable update to the lyrics.

Fans of aughts pop will no doubt recall that the original opening line of Kesha’s signature party anthem, “Tik Tok” (which — side note — came out long before the social media platform of the same name), was: “Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.” But in light of the recent accusations of sex trafficking, sexual assault, and physical abuse against Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Kesha – who has long accused another music mogul, Dr. Luke, of similarly egregious wrongdoing – instead shouted: “Wake up in the morning feeling, like, ‘F*** P. Diddy!’” Rapp and Kesha punctuated the F-bomb with defiant middle-finger gestures, as the crowd roared and the moment, presumably, went viral on TikTok.

7. Lauryn Hill

Saturday was dominated by the return of No Doubt (more on them later), but another iconic ’90s group pulled off a surprise mini-reunion Sunday — when reggae-fusion rapper YG Marley, the 22-year-old grandson of Bob Marley and son of Grammy-sweeping legend Lauryn Hill, brought out his mom and her on/off Fugees bandmate, Wyclef Jean. The show then quickly exploded into an all-star revue, with YG stepping back to let his elders take over the main stage.

Hill, who played Coachella solo in 2011 and made surprise cameos at the festival in 2014 and 2017, crooned her Miseducation of Lauryn Hill hits “Ex-Factor” and “Lost Ones,” with ‘Clef then coming out for the Fugees’ interpolated cover of the Lori Lieberman/Roberta Flack classic “Killing Me Softly,” along with “Fu-Gee-La” and “Ready or Not.” Another big surprise guest, Busta Rhymes, then bounded out for two songs, before everyone celebrated YG’s grandfather’s legacy with a Bob Marley & the Wailers medley in front of an astounded audience.

“When you put YG Marley and the Fugees together, this is what it sounds like!” Wyclef declared. It sounded pretty fantastic, so perhaps that long-delayed Fugees reunion tour can finally happen… with Lauryn’s son filling in for Pras.

6. Sabrina Carpenter

Carpenter, of course, is not a newcomer; the Taylor Swift associate and all-grown-up former Disney star released her first album in 2015. But her Friday earlyevening performance nonetheless felt a star-making and career-launching moment. Taking the main stage against a pastel vintage-postcard motel backdrop, flanked by jazz-handsy Broadway hoofers, and looking like a perfect pop-starlet pinup with her Psssst!-puffed, ice-cream-blonde bouffant and Baby Spice mini-dress (which she swapped during her pajama-party “Feather” finale for a “Jesus Was a Carpenter” sleep-shirt — a seeming reference to the recent controversy over her filming “Feather’s music video in a Catholic church ), Carpenter was a whole vibe. Suffice to say, if sheis putting this much effort into a 6 p.m. slot, I can’t wait to see what she does when shes an actual, official headliner.

5. Doja Cat

Doja made history when she became the first female rapper – and only the second Black woman, after Beyoncé – to headline Coachella. She had much to prove, as some pundits and haters had questioned if she possessed the star power or extensive discography to close out such a massive festival. But she effectively destroyed those doubts. The 28-year-old MC held the audience in thrall from the moment she performed the fittingly all-caps’d “ACKNOWLEDGE ME” in a space-age hazmat suit, until her surreal sci-fi spectacle devolved into its id-driven, literally messy finale, “Wet Vagina,” during which she and her dancers orgiastically writhed in primordial mud.

At the beginning of this hallucinogenic, hot-and-cold fever dream, Doja was introduced by a 30-year-old whispered quote from another famous pop shapeshifter and disruptor, Madonna: “Express yourself, don’t repress yourself.” And after this startling tour de force, whoever headlines Coachella 2054 just may be quoting Doja Cat onstage.

INDIO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 14: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Doja Cat performs at the Coachella Stage during the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club on April 14, 2024 in Indio, California. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Coachella)

4. Lana Del Rey with Billie Eilish

Lanachella was in full effect Friday, as “exactly 10 years ago to the day” that Del Rey first performed at Coachella, the queen of the sad girls returned to the festival – entering via a police-escorted processional across the Indio Polo Field, shown in aerial shots on the main stage’s video screens – to claim her (flower) crown. And worshipping at her throne most of all was 2022’s Coachella headliner, longtime admirer Eilish.

Del Rey and Eilish gushingly expressed their adulation for each other last year in Interviewmagazine: Billie told Lana, “You changed the way the music industry hears and sees music, and you changed the way people sing. … You will never understand how much of an impact that you have had on me in my life,” while a mutually “obsessed” Lana called Billie “prodigious” and “magical.” And that lovefest continued on the gilded Coachella stage, where the two indie-pop icons cozied up on a decaying Gatsby-mansion balcony for dreamy duets of their viral breakoutsingles, “Video Games” and “Ocean Eyes.”

Afterwards, an adorably awestruck and overwhelmed Eilish jokingly gasped to her idol, “Get the f*** out of my face!” and declared Del Rey “the reason for half you bitches’ existence, including mine.” To that, Del Rey replied, “Yep, that’s the voice of your generation, the voice of our generation. I’m so f***ing grateful she’s standing next to me right now.”

3. Chappell Roan

The bio-queen and dance-pop darling over-spillingly packed the Gobi Tent with adoring fans, who mass-chanted her name before she even emerged looking like a glam goddess in Siouxsie Sioux/Nina Hagen warpaint, boss-babe Burberry plaid, and wild red pre-Raphaelite crimped curls. (Roan quickly ditched that executive-realness/corporate-Goth look, disrobing to reveal an “EAT ME” onesie, S&M harness, and studded ‘80s-metal-video-vixen leather thong. Get you a girl who can do both!)

Chappell delivered the vivacious performance of an already-arrived superstar, with booming diva vocals and full command of the practically openly weeping crowd, who readily heeded the “Y.M.C.A.”-reminiscent dance instructions for her festival-ready banger, “Hot to Go.” (“H-O-T-T-O-G-O/Snap and clap and touch your toes/Raise your hands, now bodyroll, dance it out, you’re hot to go!”) There’s no need to spell this one out: Chappell is one to worship. She’llgraduate to Coachella’s main stage soon, so practice your “HO-T-T-O-G-O” choreo now.


2. No Doubt

The Orange County icons’ 80-minute, 16-song Saturday set – their first public performance since 2015 — was an absolute triumph, surpassing the already-high expectations of fans and seemingly even the elated band members themselves. From the moment that Gwen Stefani, bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom DuMont, and drummer Adrian Young stormed out to the electro-rock partystarter “Hella Good” in matching mixed plaids, with grainy home-movie footage of their scrappy early-‘90s days playing on video screens behind them, it was clear that they were a newly energized, unified front.

One of the many other highlights of No Doubt’s perfectly curated, hits-packed set was avowed fangirl Olivia Rodrigo — who’s been known to cover No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” live (and, as Stefani snarkily quipped, has also been known to write songs about “stupid boys”) — showing up in a Y2K-style “I [Heart] ND” sequined tank top to duet with Stefani on “Bathwater.” Stefani even maintained her endless, joyous energy for a scathing song about one infamous stupid boy in her life, “Ex-Girlfriend” – the one entry in No Doubt’s catalog that she recently confessed she can barely listen to without “throwing up.”

As for “Just a Girl,” which has recently been embraced as a feminist anthem by the TikTok generation, Stefani told the crowd: “We wrote this song back at the Beacon Street house in Anaheim, Calif., and I feel like… this song could possibly be more relevant now than it’s ever been. You tell me.” She then proceeded to climb the stage’s scaffolding to lead the crowd’s “boys” and “girls” in a sing-off of the chorus — which the ladies seemed to easily win. “There’s no f***king comparison!” she laughed.

1. The Last Dinner Party

There are so many ways I could describe these baroque-pop Brits. A girl gang of baby-babooshka Kate Bushes. A Gothic, Visitors-era ABBA. Rock ‘n’ roll Miss Havishams. The cast of a Tim Burton-directed Emily Brontë novel adaptation, sprung to life. The coolest women — nay, people – at Coachella 2024, or maybe even on the planet right now. There’s reason why the Last Dinner Party just became the first guitar band to win the BBC’s “Sound of…” critics’ poll since Haim did so 11 years ago.

When young London’s post-punk princesses, whose Prelude to Ecstasy is one of my top five albums of 2024 so far, made their majestic festival debut Saturday, trailing vintage silks and velvets and ribbons and fishnets and pheromones, I overheard one young woman in the crowd exclaim: “I’m obsessed with her!” But which of these wild English roses was that fan referring to? Twirling-dervish, rock-operatic frontwoman Abigail Morris, with her porcelain skin and lusty, beautiful Banshee wail? Art-rocking guitar goddesses Emily Roberts and Lizzie Mayland, with their nimble, alternately spiky and jazzy, Bowie-influenced interplay? Disheveledly glamorous and Peter Hook-y bassist Georgia Davies? Or multi-tasking keyboardist Aurora Nishevci, who sang in Albanian, played a neon keytar, and was an all-around badass?

I imagine, like most well-worshipped groups ranging from the Beatles to the Spice Girls to BLACKPINK, many LDP fans have their favorite member. But after watching these Renaissance women rule Coachella, I have developed ardent, Sassy-style girl-crushes on all of them. I can’t recall being this enthralled by a new Coachella act since I saw Savages perform in the same tent in 2013.

This the sort of band that can change people’s lives, inspiring a generation of girls and boys – the artists who’ll play the hopefully even more inclusive festival a decade from now — to pick up guitars, and maybe even keytars, flutes, and mandolins.

See you at Coachella 2034.

By Guest Contributor, Lyndsey Parker

Music Times | Website | Instagram | Twitter/X