The 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival wraps its first weekend on Sunday, April 14, with Doja Cat’s return to the desert for her first time headlining the event.

Other artists include Victoria Monét, Reneé Rapp, J Balvin and Bebe Rexha.

It has been a big weekend of music in the desert. Tyler, the Creator, had a guest-filled spectacle that included a bighorn sheep to top Saturday night after No Doubt performed a set of its biggest hits for the first time in nine years with a little help from Olivia Rodrigo.

Taylor Swift didn’t join Bleachers on stage, but she was watching from the side with Travis Kelce on Saturday evening and Billie Eilish showed up for a surprise in the Do Lab.

And that was after big sets from Lana Del Rey and Peso Pluma on Friday.

Follow along with The Times’ August Brown, Danielle Dorsey, Vanessa Franko and Mikael Wood, who are on the ground in Indio for the final day of the fest’s first weekend.

1:30 p.m. The Do Lab is often described as the festival within the festival at Coachella. In its early years, it was located smack in the middle of the grounds, a beaconing festival-goers with beats, cirque performances and the all-important misters.

The Do Lab’s popularity has grown substantially since it first debuted at Coachella in 2004 and now has its own dedicated area to accommodate 15,000 fans at any given point during the festival.

That space is also known for hosting an impressive list of surprise guests, and this year is no exception. Among those who dropped in this year were DJ Pee .Wee (Anderson .Paak) and Sofi Tukker on Friday and 2022 headliner Billie Eilish on Saturday.

The brothers behind the Do Lab, L.A.-based Dede, Jesse, and Josh Flemming, work together to design a whimsical space with an ever-improving concert experience that also provides a respite from the sun.

“We focus on shade primarily and water and misting. We have to pay attention to lighting and sound,” Josh Flemming said.

Even with those practical elements, what makes Do Lab special is the colorful stage build. This year, there are structures covered by fabric in shades of blue, orange, yellow and red that Josh Flemming described as “10 massive mushrooms.”

“We are the most colorful thing out there. We want people to feel like they almost went through a portal,” Jesse Flemming said.

And if you can’t get enough of the Do Lab vibes at Coachella, check out Lightning in a Bottle, the Do Lab’s own festival, which returns to Buena Vista Lake in Kern County May 22-27. —Vanessa Franko

Two people eating tots and dipping sauce together at a table

Food reporter Danielle Dorsey, left, does a taste test with DJ Will Clarke at Saucetails brought to you by Postmates at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

2 p.m. It’s DJ Will Clarke’s first time as a bonafide Coachella performer, though he’s graced the Do Lab stage in past years. The U.K- and Detroit-based DJ who also runs a food-focused Instagram played in the Yuma tent on Saturday, but we met up early Sunday afternoon to take a tour through Postmates’ Sauce Bar in the 12 Peaks VIP Area. The yellow-and-orange shaded structure feels like stepping into the sun and felt at least 10 degrees hotter than our perfect mid-70s reality.

Diners can choose between fries, tots or a combination of both before adding on sauces that pull from some of L.A.’s most iconic eateries, such as BBQ sauce from Bludso’s and a collaboration ghost chile sriracha with producer Benny Blanco. Blanco’s dip turned out to be our favorite of the five options, with the honey mustard coming in second. The real pro move is to dip your fries or tots into the sriracha followed by the honey mustard to slightly temper the heat. We both agreed that Blanco’s sriracha sauce would be ideal with hot wings. Maybe Postmates will incorporate our feedback before coming back for Weekend 2. —Danielle Dorsey

4:18 p.m. Since Friday afternoon, I’ve been keeping track of the number of shaven chests vs. the number of unshaven chests among the men at Coachella. Current totals are:

28,987 shaven

27,674 unshaven

It’s a close race; eager to see which side wins at the end of the night. — M.W.

Ms. Lauryn Hill makes an appearance during YG Marley's set at Coachella on Sunday

INDO-CA-APRIL 14, 2024: Ms. Lauryn Hill makes an appearance during YG Marley’s set at Coachella on Sunday, April 14. 2024. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

5 p.m. YG Marley is beaming as he enters the Coachella Stage under the high afternoon sun. Complete with an echoing hype man who waves a massive Jamaican flag, he starts with his single “Marching for Freedom,” stomping his feet and urging audience participation. Freedom, peace and love are recurrent themes throughout the set, and a message that collides with that of his late grandfather, Bob Marley.

It’s not surprising that YG Marley brought his mother, Ms. Lauryn Hill, to join him on stage, but the addition of Wyclef Jean and a handful of Fugees hits that follow create a frenzy among the crowd, who effortlessly recite every word of “Killing Me Softly,” “Ready or Not” and “No Woman, No Cry.”

Just when I think the energy can’t crescendo any higher, Busta Rhymes skips onto stage to his 1997 single “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See.” After a quick detour through Flipmode Squad’s catalog, the ensemble brings it back to Bob Marley hits and Wyclef asks the audience to raise both hands if they want wars across the world to end.

“Put your hands up for peace!” the hype man chants and the crowd happily obliges, hooting in agreement.

Wyclef segues into “One Love,” before queueing up YG Marley to bring it home with “Is This Love.” The Jamaican flag that’s emblazoned across the triple-screen behind the stage gets traded for vintage Bob Marley photos, with YG Marley’s live performance framed in a six-point star. As the music winds down, I find myself caught in a contact-high, not just from the heavy cannabis smoke that wafts across the grounds, but the performance itself. Yes, I think, this is love that I’m feeling. —D.D.

 Taking Back Sunday performs at Coachella

Taking Back Sunday performs at Coachella on Sunday.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

5:03 p.m. Before Taking Back Sunday took the stage in the Mojave Tent Sunday afternoon, the crowd started chanting “TBS! TBS! TBS!” Yes, the emo kids who crowded into basement shows over the decades had found their people. I know because I am one of them.

The band may wear suits on stage now, but they’re just as electric as they were when we were all in our 20s. Adam Lazzara can still swing a microphone around with the best of them.

Highlights of the band’s 45-minute set included opener “A Decade Under the Influence,” and classics “You’re So Last Summer” and “Cute Without the E (Cut From the Team).”

As I predicted, it was a big cathartic emo sing-along for those of us for whom it was never a phase, culminating in set-closer “MakeDamnSure.” —V.F.

6:05 p.m. Calling her guest “the hottest person in the world,” Reneé Rapp brought out Kesha at the Outdoor Theatre to perform her 2009 electro-pop smash “Tik Tok” — an opportunity Kesha took to change the opening lyric of her song from “Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy” to “Wake up in the morning saying, ‘F— P Diddy,’” following recent allegations of sexual abuse against the hip-hop mogul. Rapp — a big-voiced singer and actor known to audiences for her roles in Broadway’s “Mean Girls” and its big-screen adaptation — was introduced by several cast members of TV’s “The L Word” and sang flirty but sneering pop-soul tunes about her love of pretty girls and her disgust with annoying ones. Her song “Colorado,” she said, was inspired by the experience of “white people winter”— “the only thing we did right.” — M.W.

The new Quasar stage at Coachella

The new Quasar stage at Coachella on Friday, April 12. 2024.

(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

7:51 p.m. In 2023, Heather Shaw spoke on a panel at SXSW about augmented reality and the future of stage design and production.

The founder and CEO of L.A.-based Vita Motus Design Studio was so inspired from the conversation she created a presentation for a future stage at Coachella.

Shaw, whose many credits include working on the design of the Do Lab going back to 2006, ultimately didn’t present the deck to the festival’s team but it came to pass anyway, as Coachella sought out a new stage.

The Quasar stage, which was designed for longer DJ sets, sits in the former home of the Sahara on the southern side of the festival grounds, and made its debut at Coachella Friday evening.

Quasar is 55 feet tall, 235 feet wide and its screens have 660 LED panels.

There are two angled screens that bear a resemblance to the shape of Nevada, flanking a pyramid-esque nerve center where the DJs play. There are mirrors around the edges of the screens. And along each side of the stage are four large angled slat-like pieces jutting like stalagmites from the sides of the stage.

Shaw’s goal with the stage design is for festival-goers to “feel like they’re taken to another dimension or another world” when they come to watch a set.

What makes it unique beyond its shape is that the technology of the stage allows for real-time visuals that can react to beats per minute.

“It feels more realistic or in-depth and three-dimensional,” Shaw said. She sees it as a step of using augmented reality for inspiration.

On Saturday night, London DJ Michael Bibi, who recently entered remission after being diagnosed with CNS Lymphoma a year ago took over the stage for a few hours. Late in his set, the screens looked like kaleidoscopic insect wings as he dropped Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Later they morphed into a beautiful stained glass pattern that was almost church-like, but still pulsing to the beat.

“I’m hopeful too that we can eventually build on it and make it more of a three-dimensional immersive space,” Shaw said. –V.F.

8 p.m. Big star turn tonight in the Mojave tent by Victoria Monét, who was already riding high with her best new artist win at February’s Grammy Awards. A longtime songwriter for the likes of Ariana Grande and Fifth Harmony, the 34-year-old singer broke out on her own with last year’s “Jaguar II,” a funny and funky retro-R&B disc that showcased her extensive knowledge of Black music history; here, backed by a crack band that included her producer, D’Mile, she threaded bits of tunes by Usher, Outkast and the Supremes into her own material, deepening that scholarly impulse. (In “Stop (Askin’ Me 4 S—)” she also demanded, “Stop this genocide” to a huge round of cheers.) Yet Monét was no less a thrill to watch as she executed complicated choreography while flanked by a small crew of dancers. At one point, her delightfully raunchy moves so moved one guy near the stage that he threw a fistful of dollars her way. — M.W.

Bebe Rexha performs at the Coachella

Bebe Rexha performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday, April 14, 2024 in Indio, CA.

(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

8:10 p.m. Whoever threw that phone at Bebe Rexha probably feels like a true dingus now.

In the war eternal to be the Main Pop Girl, we have a new champion today in Rexha, a songwriting industry lifer who has always been *this close* to a breakthrough as an artist. After her decadently performed, expertly delivered Main Stage set, it’s safe to say the day has arrived.

Rexha has long been an insider’s pop artist – sort of an oxymoron, but a consistent fount of singles smarter and stickier than most, and sung with real power and panache. It’s either a delight or an irony that she got her smash hit with a virtuosically dumb cover of Eiffel 65’s Euro-rave chestnut “Blue” with David Guetta.

But given the chance to finally control a huge stage on her own, she wrung it for all it was worth.

Flanked by a few very limber and spicily-posed dancers in jet black, Rexha sung the hell out of singles like “Me, Myself & I” and “I’m the Drama,” with precision-point vocals cutting through artfully disjointed club pop. On “Bad Bitch,” one of her standouts, she almost dared the audience to get onboard with her chaos or gtfo.

Dua Lipa has the fitness girlies, Charli XCX has the poppers crowd. For today though, the People have spoken, and they said it’s Bebe Rexha.

“I always thought I wasn’t cool enough for Coachella,” said Rexha, as she wound down her exultant set on the main stage. No one could deny her this – “I’m cool now.” —AB

J Balvin performs at the Coachella

J Balvin performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday, April 14, 2024 in Indio, CA.

(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

9 p.m. What could make J Balvin’s intergalactic set full of neon lasers, alien heads and chrome spaceships feel even more out of this world? How about a cameo from Will Smith coming out to rap along to the song “Men In Black” like it’s 1997? In a day full of big time guests, Smith’s appearance in the midst of Balvin’s hip-shaking reggaeton might sound strange. But in a fest full of nostalgia, Smith’s smooth dances moves lifted out of the music video for the hit movie’s soundtrack hit seemed to hit Balvin (and us) right in the feels as we mimicked the moves almost out of sheer muscle memory. At the end of the performance, Smith tried to erase our minds by holding up the trademark MIB mind-erasing laser and pointing it into the crowd. Nice try Will, you can try giving us amnesia, but Twitter never forgets. —Nate Jackson

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