INDIO, CA - APRIL 12:  (EDITORS NOTE: Image was processed using Digital Filters) Singer Beyonce (L) ...
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Makeouts & Band Reunions: The 12 Wildest Moments In Coachella History

There’s a reason the Indio music festival is legendary.

Music festivals have always been a place for artists to make a splash, but perhaps nowhere does that happen more than at Coachella. Even before it earned its reputation as a celebrity and influencer magnet, the Indio festival had a long history of artists using its stage to bring unforgettable moments — and stunts — to their fans, from the political to the just plain sensational. With another Coachella beginning April 12, we rounded up 12 of the most wild, newsworthy moments that have gone down at the Indio festival from 2004 to 2023.

Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne Crowd Surfs In A Giant Bubble (2004)

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Crowd-surfing in a huge clear bubble has become a signature for The Flaming Lips’ frontman Wayne Coyne, but the first time he ever did it was at Coachella’s 2004 festival. According to a Los Angeles Times article, emerging in a “giant space bubble” had been a “longtime dream” for Coyne.

Madonna Plays Dance Tent (2006)

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Madonna played Coachella in 2004 — but not as a headliner. Instead, she took over Sahara, the festival’s small dance tent. According to Billboard, the tent was “overflowing,” and her show didn’t exactly go smoothly: She was over 20 minutes late, booed by the crowd, and had to clean up water from a thrown water bottle herself. She only played six songs before bouncing.

Daft Punk DJs In A Pyramid (2006)

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Extravagant stage designs are now a given at Coachella, but that wasn’t so in the earliest years of the festival. In 2006, Daft Punk stunned their crowd by performing in a pyramid, a setup that immediately went down in Coachella history. Even today, it’s regarded as a legendary moment by critics and fans alike.

Roger Waters Drops Fliers & Unleashes A Flying Pig During His Set (2008)

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Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters’ 2008 headlining performance was memorable for several reasons: 1. the inflatable pig painted with political messaging that was released above the crowd; 2. the thousands of “Obama” fliers that were dropped via airplane onto the audience; 3. the fact that they lost said pig, and it took city officials two days to find it.

MIA incites a stage invasion (2008)

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In the middle of MIA’s 2008 Coachella performance, the singer invited fans to join her on stage — and more than 50 people did. According to NME, upset festival organizers attempted to pause the show by turning the house lights back on — and got into a little tiff with the singer — but ultimately the show was allowed to go on.

TuPac appears as a hologram for Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre’s set (2012)

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Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg marked their 2012 dual headlining performance with the most shocking surprise guest appearance of all time: a hologram of Tupac (with his mother’s blessing). A hologram of late rapper Nate Dogg was also expected to appear but it ultimately didn’t pan out.

Solange Brings Out Beyoncé For “Losing You” (2014)

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In things that likely wouldn’t happen today, Beyoncé crashed Solange’s 2014 performance at Coachella. The older sister came out during “Losing You,” for which they performed a choreographed dance, and shared a big hug afterwards. Notably, Solange returned the favor in 2018 for Beychella.

Florence Welch falls & breaks her ankle on stage (2015)

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In the middle of her performance at the 2015 festival, Florence + The Machine’s Florence Welch lept into the air, fell, and broke her foot. She was a trooper though, and was carried back onstage to finish her set seated.

Drake & Madonna Kiss (2015)

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It was the kiss heard around the world — well, on social media, anyway. Drake brought Madonna out as a special guest for his 2015 headlining set, where she gave him a surprise smooch. His surprised reaction became the weekend’s biggest meme, though the rapper made sure to clarify online afterwards that he was honored and will “feel 100 about that” forever.

Three major bands reunite in one weekend (2016)

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Coachella 2016 might as well have been the year of band reunions; that year, the festival was headlined by a reunited LCD Soundsystem and a reunited Guns N’ Roses (with original members Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan). Ice Cube also performed and brought rap group N.W.A. out of retirement for a rare group performance in two decades.

*NSYNC reunites at Ariana Grande’s headlining show (2019)

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Band comebacks are obviously a norm at Coachella, but one of the most unexpected reunions occurred during Ariana Grande’s headlining show at the 2019 festival, when she brought out *NSYNC (minus Justin Timberlake) for their first live performance in decades. Along with the pop star, the band performed “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored” and “Tearin' Up My Heart.”

Frank Ocean Disappoints Fans With Disorganized, Chaotic Performance (2023)

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Who could forget Frank Ocean’s 2023 headlining disaster? In addition to starting nearly an hour late, the singer’s highly anticipated, first live performance in years was riddled with long monologues, a random DJ set, and moments where it seemed he wasn’t singing at all. After an hour into the confusing set, he abruptly ended his performance due to the festival’s curfew — and canceled his weekend two performance.