Artist News Gigs & Festivals

Kanye West bails on Coachella

By | Published on Tuesday 5 April 2022

Kanye West

Kanye West has pulled out of this month’s Coachella festival because, well, who knows, it’s Kanye after all. The rapper was due to perform headline sets at on 17 and 24 Apr at the Californian festival, which takes place over two weekends.

West previously threatened to cancel his Coachella performances in protest at comments made by fellow headliner Billie Eilish, which he interpreted as being a dig at Travis Scott.

Those offending comments were made when Eilish paused a recent show after she noticed a fan in distress in the audience, with the musician stating at the time: “We’re taking care of our people. I’m waiting for people to be OK until I keep going”.

Despite that being an entirely logical thing to say given the circumstances, some reckoned it was a coded diss at Scott, referring to the tragedy that occurred at his Astroworld festival last year.

Scott has been criticised, of course, for not stopping his Astroworld set as a deadly crowd surge unfolded before him. Many have defended Scott in relation to that criticism, insisting that the rapper did not know what was happening on the ground at the festival as he performed. But either way, Scott still faces plenty of criticism – not to mention a stack of litigation – in relation to that tragedy.

Now, it seems unlikely Eilish was contributing to that criticism at her show. As she noted on Instagram, “[I] literally never said a thing about Travis – [I] was just helping a fan”. But either way, West reckoned she was dissing his friend and – with him planning on having Scott guest during his Coachella set – he demanded a formal apology.

In a post on Instagram, West wrote: “Come On Billie, we love you, please apologise to Trav and to the families of people who lost their lives. No one intended this to happen. Trav didn’t have any idea of what was happening when he was one stage and was very hurt by what happened. Yes, Trav will be with me at Coachella, but now I need Billie to apologise before I perform”.

Whether any of that is actually related to West’s decision to bail on Coachella isn’t clear, though very possibly not. Given West’s erratic behaviour of late – which is at times amusing, but also at times perplexing and concerning – the relatively last minute cancellation is not especially surprising.

Indeed, Variety notes, the Coachella festival poster already had Swedish House Mafia listed in the same point size as the headliners, but without being allocated to a specific day. So many now assume they were always intended as a contingency plan headliner and will now take over West’s slot. Although that is yet to be confirmed.