Primavera Sound LA 2022: The best & worst of the Barcelona music festival’s inaugural edition on U.S. soil

Primavera Sound LA 2022Photos by Josh Herwitt & courtesy of Primavera Sound LA // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Primavera Sound LA //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
September 16th-18th, 2022 //

It’s no secret that Primavera Sound has had its sights set on Los Angeles for quite some time now. The Barcelona music festival that has been going strong for two decades expanded to Porto in 2012 and will finally stamp its brand on four more cities in 2022 after a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LA is the first of those four cities, but with the festival’s other three new locations — São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Santiago — all launching in South America later this year, LA State Historic Park also served as Primavera Sound’s inaugural event in the states.

Spreading four stages across the 32-acre park that remains one of the best spots in the city to host a music festival before and after three years of renovations, PSLA welcomed a wealth of talent from the top line to the bottom. Lorde, Nine Inch Nails and Arctic Monkeys each delivered headline-worthy sets while an indie-leaning undercard highlighted by BICEP (Live), Cigarettes After Sex, Clairo, DARKSIDE, Drain Gang, Fontaines D.C., Girl in Red, GIVĒON, James Blake, King Krule, Khruangbin and Mitski all drew big crowds over the course of three days. In a lot of ways, PSLA fills a much-needed void after the sudden and disheartening end to FYF Fest, which would tout itself as the “best weekend of summer” for many live music fans and was one of our favorite multi-day festivals to cover (read more here).

Any time a new music festival launches though, there are always highs and lows. So without further ado, here are our best and worst moments from Primavera Sound’s first installment on U.S. soil:


Primavera Sound LA 2022

Best: The weather

After LA experienced its worst heat wave of the year earlier this month with temperatures reaching triple digits, the weather luckily cooled down just in time for PSLA. For many of us, a second layer of clothing wasn’t ever necessary from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. After all, how often does that happen? With great music lined up throughout the day and a forecast hovering in the mid to high 70’s, it truly felt like a quintessential summer weekend in LA.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Worst: Will Call line

When we arrived at the festival on Friday afternoon, the line at the box office quickly stood out. In fact, it was so long that we knew the wait would be at least an hour for those trying to pick up their passes, only to discover later via Twitter it was even longer for many even at 6 p.m. These are the kind of issues any first-year music festival hopes to avoid and can ultimately prepare for, but when you change your ticket delivery method to in-person on short notice after previously telling fans it would be done electronically, it’s no surprise that you end up pissing off some of your customers.

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Lorde

Best: Lorde

The 25-year-old singer-songwriter has been making the rounds this year on an extensive world tour in support of 2021’s Solar Power, and there’s no question that her entire stage design and production was impressive to witness. Ahead of festival stops at Life Is Beautiful and Rifflandia over the same weekend, Lorde arrived onstage via a rotating staircase with some of her backing band and ran through 15 songs — from her 2013 debut single “Royals” to Melodrama hits like “Perfect Places” and “Green Light” — as PSLA’s first headliner. We wouldn’t necessarily call ourselves big fans, but we definitely understand why she was deserving of top billing.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Worst: Food & drink

We will eventually get to the limited viewing space that under-21 guests were offered, but even if you wanted to drink at PSLA, the options were simply not good. This was certainly not the place for craft beer enthusiasts, as your choices were Heineken or the low-calorie Tecate Alta that tasted mostly like beer-flavored water for $12 each. Not only would it be nice to have seen local breweries — there are two excellent ones located across the street from the festival’s entrance — featured, but in a city such as LA with a food-and-drink scene that’s one of the best in the country, partnering with major beer and liquor brands along with a handful of Smorgasburg LA restaurants doesn’t exactly cut it anymore. The only food stall in one of the VIP areas selling “California style” Philly cheeseteaks made us think about how much Goldenvoice has elevated its game in this respect, with top-notch local options at Just Like Heaven (read our festival review here) from Goldburger to Homage Brewing standing out as examples most recently in May.

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Khruangbin

Best: Khruangbin

The Houston three-piece that has made 70’s Thai funk sound cool again has been one of the hottest acts to tour over the past five years, as evidenced by their three sold-out shows at LA’s Greek Theatre last November. While most might have come Saturday to see Nine Inch Nails, it was K-bin who would steal the show before Trent Reznor and company ever played a note. Those who made it to the main stage for sunset were treated to an hour of grooves, as Mark Speer (guitar, vocals), Laura Lee (bass, vocals) and Donald Johnson (drums, vocals) hypnotized us with fan favorites “María También” and “So We Won’t Forget” before diving into a melody of covers that embraced a wide array of artists, from MF DOOM, The Isley Brothers, Tina Turner and Chris Isaak to 90’s hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Warren G and Dr. Dre.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Worst: Art installations

Sometimes it can be easy to forget how spoiled we are in California when it comes to all of the music festivals we have. Not only do many of our best and brightest such as Coachella, Outside Lands and Lightning in a Bottle showcase a wide range of musical genres, but they also feature their own unique art installations that continue to push the envelope. In the case of Primavera Sound, let’s just say that’s not its M.O. While we can’t fault the festival for keeping the focus strictly on the music, LA State Historic Park did seem to lack some color aesthetically. That said, there were a couple of highlights off the stage, including the vinyl market that was curated by KCRW and Beat Swap Meets as well as the FLATSTOCK poster show series making its only West Coast stop of the year and featuring locals like Kii Arens of La-La Land Prints.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Best: Signs, sightlines & sound

With the Primavera Sound brand being all about the music, our eyes were mostly focused on the artists performing. Nevertheless, the signs, sightlines and sound at PSLA were all on point. The downtown LA skyline served as a fitting backdrop like it usually does at LASHP, and despite poor audio issues playing a role at outdoor music festivals, we didn’t experience any while we were on the ground so kudos to the organizers for locking that down. If anything, the decibels across the fest’s four stages were so high that we found ourselves needing ear protection most of the weekend.

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Nine Inch Nails

Worst: Short headliner sets

After Primavera Sound LA unveiled the lineup for its debut this year, we presumed all three headliners would receive at least 90 minutes each day. So when the set times dropped more than a couple weeks in advance, it was a bit of a shock seeing only 75 minutes designated for each of them. A Hall of Fame band like Nine Inch Nails has more than 10 studio albums and several EPs in its catalog but were only granted enough time to crank out 16 songs, many of which have been setlist staples for years up to this point. Though NIN classics like “Wish”, “March of the Pigs”, “Closer”, “Gave Up” and “Head Like a Hole” are never tracks to lack energy live, we’re happy we caught their sold-out gig at the Santa Barbara Bowl (read our show review here) four days earlier for the chance to hear a cover of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” and multiple other deep cuts.

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Arctic Monkeys

Best: Arctic Monkeys

It was clear when we showed up for PSLA’s final day that the attendance felt bigger than the day prior. Although that seemed a little odd considering it was Sunday and not Saturday, it was a testament to the fan base Arctic Monkeys have built at the 20-year mark. The English rockers haven’t toured since 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and with their forthcoming seventh LP The Car slated to come out next month, frontman Alex Turner and his bandmates gave us a taste with the disco funk that they’ve cooked up on “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am” midway through their headlining performance. And even though we didn’t hear lead single “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” despite it being the only track that they have officially released so far, there were plenty of other thrilling moments for us to remember in between the opening notes of “Do I Wanna Know?” and the closing “R U Mine?” to end the night. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long before there’s a return date to California after the new album drops.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Worst: Under-21 viewing areas

Most of PSLA’s guests are of legal drinking age, and with the festival boasting a number of alcohol-related sponsors that included Cuervo and Smirnoff, it certainly caters to the over-21 crowd. But for those who weren’t, the viewing areas at the Primavera and Tecate Alta stages were less than ideal. Besides the allotted space being too small and positioned off to the side, underage guests were only informed 10 days in advance. If you’re not 21 yet, make sure to temper your expectations — or we’d recommend waiting until you are before attending.


Primavera Sound LA photographers featured: Nicolita Bradley, Lindsey Byrnes, Pooneh Ghana, Miranda McDonald, Ismael Quintanilla III & Quinn Tucker.

Surprise! Coachella offers a big twist while revealing 2022 set times as Arcade Fire joins the party unexpectedly

Coachella 2022

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 15th-17th & April 22nd-24th, 2022 //

Well, Coachellans … if you thought last week’s news that saw Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd replace Ye (fka Kanye West) as Sunday’s headlining acts was the only change before you head out to the desert, think again.

The three-day, two-weekend music and arts festival has surprised us all in revealing set times for its 21st edition just a little more than 24 hours before it begins and casually including Arcade Fire, which was not listed on the official lineup poster, at the Mojave Tent on Friday. If you’re hoping to catch what should be an epic performance from Win Butler, Régine Chassagne and company during “magic hour” and likely hear some new tunes off their forthcoming sixth studio album WE that comes out in May, we would recommend getting there early before 6:45 p.m.

And while there are always hard decisions to make at Coachella, it only gets tougher with the Grammy-winning band added into the mix.

Don’t be shy, though … what’s your biggest conflict this year and who are you most excited for?

WEEKEND 1 SET TIMES

Coachella 2022 - Weekend 1 - Friday set times

Coachella 2022 - Weekend 1 - Saturday set times

Coachella 2022 - Weekend 1 - Sunday set times

WEEKEND 2 SET TIMES

Coachella 2022 - Weekend 2 - Friday set times

Coachella 2022 - Weekend 2 - Saturday set times

Coachella 2022 - Weekend 2 - Sunday set times

Arcade Fire are most notably missing from the Weekend 2 set times, but that’s not the only change that stands out if you’re comparing them to Weekend 1. Besides some changes to the early-afternoon slots as well as slowthai moving up and The Marías moving back to compete with Grupo Firme for some odd reason, another notable adjustment is Run the Jewels moving to Friday at 8:10 p.m. in the Mojave Tent after taking the Coachella Stage on Sunday at 4:35 p.m. during Weekend 1.

And as we saw last weekend with Shaina Twain, Justin Bieber, Damon Albarn, Snoop Dogg, Post Malone, Diplo, Khalid, Tyga, Saweetie, Metro Boomin and more all making cameos, Coachella has become a breeding ground for live collaborations and special guests so we’ll see if Weekend 2 has more surprises in store for fans after a star-studded return to the polo fields.

MAP

Less than four hours before the gates officially open at the Empire Polo Club, Coachella has finally shared this year’s map and it looks a lot like what we saw in 2019. But one change to the map that sticks out is the relocation of the Yuma Tent, which has moved farther away from the main entrance (though only slightly) and closer to the 12 Peaks VIP section adjacent to the Coachella Stage. Also, there’s only one way to access the Sonora, Gobi and Mojave Tents now as compared to prior years when guests could walk directly from the Sahara Tent to any of them, and while that might create for less foot traffic in the area near The Do LaB Stage, it will be a longer walk than before.

Coachella has long been considered to be one of the world’s best-run music festivals (and rightfully so), yet with Goldenvoice running behind schedule this week on the release of set times and other pertinent information, we’ll see how smoothly things go after a three-year hiatus for the concert promoter.

Coachella 2022 - map

So whether you’ll be in Indio or watching the YouTube livestream on your couch, let’s hope there aren’t any other artists or bands canceling at the last minute.

Happy Coachella!

Coachella unleashes a new group of headliners after three-year hiatus as Harry Styles, Billie Eilish & Ye spearhead 2022 lineup

Coachella - 2022 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 15th-17th & April 22nd-24th, 2022 //

The wait is officially over.

Just a year after celebrating its 20th anniversary with Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande at the top of the poster, Coachella was primed to make another splash in 2020 with Rage Against the Machine headlining for the third time in the legendary band’s career and Travis Scott scheduled to make his headlining debut on the polo fields as well as Frank Ocean.

But the three-day, two-weekend event became one of the first large-scale music festivals in the U.S. — along with South by Southwest and Ultra Music Festival — that was forced to postpone its plans when the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm almost two years ago. Goldenvoice worked to quickly reschedule Coachella for October, though with coronavirus cases and deaths spiking out of control all over the country, another delay came in June, signaling the unfortunate reality that there would be no festival in the calendar year for the first time since 2000.

With the state of the pandemic in flux and the U.S. still operating without a vaccination program in place by early January last year, Coachella in 2021 quickly became a fantasy. Fast forward another year, and the famed California fest is finally ready to give it another go in April.

However, none of the previously announced 2020 headliners are still booked for its 21st edition in less than three months. Rage Against the Machine, for starters, dropped out despite the Los Angeles Times reporting last summer in an exclusive interview with Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett that the band would still headline and Scott was also pulled following his disastrous Astroworld Festival — or as some might like to call it, Disastroworld — performance back in November while Ocean is now expected to perform in 2023, according to the aforementioned LA Times report.

Instead, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Ye (fka Kanye West) will spearhead the 2022 lineup after reports circled last week about Eilish and Ye being in talks to headline and another surfaced only hours before the roster was unveiled regarding a commitment from Styles.

Swedish House Mafia, in the meantime, will return to Coachella for the first time in a decade since the electronic supergroup’s closing set on the main stage in 2012, although their appearance is not all that surprising thanks to this tweet back in October. Which day they’ll perform, however, is anyone’s guess right now.

Coachella has had a penchant for booking more international acts — from BLACKPINK to Bad Bunny — in recent years, and 2022 will be no different with Grupo Firme, Anitta, Joji and Karol G on the bill. But this year’s undercard showcases plenty of other talent too, including Lil Baby, Flume, Doja Cat, Daniel Caesar, Megan Thee Stallion, Phoebe Bridgers, Disclosure, Jamie xx, Big Sean, 21 Savage, Run the Jewels, Danny Elfman, Maggie Rogers, Louis the Child, Stromae, Ari Lennox, Baby Keem, GIVĒON, Banda MS, Still Woozy, BROCKHAMPTON, Fatboy Slim, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Rich Brian, Måneskin and more.

Tickets for Weekend 1 are already sold out, but there is a wait list that you can jump on here while three-day GA and VIP passes for Weekend 2 will go on sale here during a presale this Friday, January 14th at 10 a.m. PT.

UPDATE (April 6th): With less than two weeks to go, Coachella has revealed some changes to its 2022 lineup after reports surfaced earlier this week indicating that Ye (aka Kanye West) would not perform this year. Ye won a pair of Grammys a few days ago at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards and was scheduled to headline the festival on Sunday over both weekends but will be replaced by the previously announced Swedish House Mafia, who had yet to be assigned a specific day on the initial poster that came out back in January, and newly added The Weeknd — after his last appearance in 2018 — as co-headliners who will perform together as a new collaboration and something that neither Coachella nor many other music festivals have done before at the very top of the poster. That, of course, is the beauty of Coachella after all as Goldenvoice always finds a way to keep the programming fresh with new and exciting surprises.

Headed out to the desert this spring? Look back at our coverage of Coachella over the years here.

Coachella

Primavera Sound LA drops inaugural 2022 lineup headlined by Arctic Monkeys, Lorde & Nine Inch Nails

Primavera Sound Los Angeles - 2022 lineup

Primavera Sound LA //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
September 16th-18th, 2022 //

The weather outside currently might be a little chilly, but the 2022 festival season in Southern California is already heating up. Just in the last week Smokin Grooves announced its return in March and concert promoter Goldenvoice unleashed its plans to revive the iconic This Ain’t No Picnic next summer to mark what’s sure to be a banner year for live music in the City of Angels.

But we’ve eagerly been anticipating the release of Primavera Sound LA’s inaugural lineup, which was originally set to make its U.S. debut in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on things, and that news has finally become a reality.

Headlining the three-day music festival at the 32-acre LA State Historic Park will be Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails, the latter of which had previously confirmed on social media more than a year ago that they had been booked for the event.

Other highlights on the 2022 roster include Arca, Bicep (Live), Buscabulla, Cigarettes After Sex, Clairo, DARKSIDE, Faye Webster, Fontaines D.C., James Blake, Jehnny Beth, Khruangbin, Kim Gordon, King Krule, Low, Mitski, Paloma Mami, Shygirl, Stereolab, Tierra Whack and more. See the poster above for the rest of the scheduled acts.

Launching back in 2001 with its roots firmly planted in Barcelona, Primavera Sound has been a staple across the music festival circuit for two decades now after expanding in 2012 to Porto under the name NOS Primavera Sound and adding Primavera Weekender since 2019.

You can buy tickets for Primavera Sound LA starting this Friday, December 10th at 10 a.m. PT for just $50 down, but make sure to register here for your presale code. GA passes will start at $399 with VIP available for $925 here. Don’t miss out on what’s sure to be an epic weekend of live music!

Primavera Sound Los Angeles - 2022 daily lineups

UPDATE (February 23rd): Primavera Sound LA has just revealed its daily lineups for 2022, with Lorde headlining Friday, Nine Inch Nails rocking Saturday and Arctic Monkeys closing out the fest on Sunday. Single-day tickets are on sale here right now for $149 (Tier 1) plus fees before increasing to $159 (Tier 2) and $169 (Tier 3).

Primavera Sound Los Angeles - updated 2022 lineup

UPDATE (May 17th): New artists have been added for Primavera Sound LA’s debut this September, including GIVĒON, Girl in Red, Current Joys, Surf Curse, Amyl and the Sniffers, and Jeff Mills. Plus, those who haven’t done so already can still purchase your ticket for just $19.99 down here!

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Friday set times

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Saturday set times (updated)

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Sunday set times

UPDATE (August 30th): Primavera Sound LA is less than three weeks away, and guess what showed up online today? Set times! While the festival has announced that Amaarae and María José Llergo will unfortunately no longer perform due to unforeseen circumstances, it will now welcome Wunderhorse to Saturday’s lineup. And if you still don’t have your tickets yet, they can still be purchased right here!

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - updated map

UPDATE (September 6th): This year’s map has been revealed while we count down the days to the debut of Primavera Sound LA! As you can see above, all four stages — including two of them named after alcoholic beverages — are spread across the park so we’ll see how each stage sounds when we arrive on the ground next weekend for three days of genre-bending music. Keep it dialed here for more updates and check back after the festival for more coverage.

Primavera Sound LA - updated 2022 lineup

UPDATE (September 12th): The festival has announced that Low unfortunately will not be performing this year after all, but the Minnesota indie-rock band has been replaced by one of LA’s own in Warpaint. Take a peek at the updated 2022 lineup and Saturday set times above before we see many of you over at LA State Historic Park this weekend!