April is almost synonymous with Coachella at this point. What other month hosts a colossal music and arts festival in the desert with a capacity of 125,000 attendees per day? With such a high volume of concertgoers, the expectations and anticipation for the Coachella performances are through the roof with each iteration. This year, the fest will take place on Apr. 14 to 16 and Apr. 21 to 23 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA—and the hype (or FOMO) is no different.
That’s because every year, we see national and international festival-goers gather for two weekends full of diverse music. Even without even knowing the lineup, music enthusiasts buy their tickets knowing they will be in the presence of well-established and emerging artists.
On the 2023 bill, many Latines are especially excited. From the first Latino headliner ever, Bad Bunny, to popular names like Becky G and Rosalía, and even emerging artists like DannyLux and BRATTY, it’s hard to anticipate who will be our favorite Coachella performers this year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before heading over to the desert (or watching the three-day festival from home), let’s take a look at some of our favorite set lists. From Las Robertas to Mon Laferte, here are eight of our favorite Coachella performances by Latine artists through the years.
Julieta Venegas (2007)
The iconic Mexican-American singer-songwriter, Julieta Venegas, is way overdue for another slot on Coachella’s roster. Especially since she recently released her newest album Tu Historia, a project aimed at her to accept her full life story and encourage others to do the same. However, the last time she performed was in 2007, back when her album Limón y Sal (2006) was at its peak. With so much new music, Venegas has an expansive and fruitful repertoire to treat festival-goers to her fresh sounds. For example, her collaboration with “Lo Siento BB:/” with Bad Bunny and Tainy. But ‘till then, her 2007 performance remains one of our culture’s all-time favorites, especially since she reportedly performed her hits like “Andar Conmigo” and “Me Voy.” Moreover, her set remains one of our favorites because she was one of the first Latine acts to perform at the festival.
Las Robertas (2019)
Hailing from San José, Costa Rica, the beloved indie alternative band made history during their debut performance at Coachella in 2019. “We’re so, so grateful but it also feels like a huge responsibility, because we’re the first band [to do it], and also it’s like being an ambassador for our country,” the band’s vocalist, Mercedes Oller, said about being the first Costa Rican act to play the desert fest. “It’s a huge responsibility but at the same time, we feel super happy and blessed.” The set list included their psychedelic tracks “Not Enough,” “Waves on the News,” and “Alto Astral.” Though a short set, it was special because it brought the fresh indie sounds of psychedelic, shoegaze, and psych-pop from one of our Latine countries to the stage.
Pabllo Vittar (2022)
Pabllo Vittar undoubtedly made history in the 2022 edition of Coachella. Not only did she represent Brazil, but the pop star became the first drag queen to perform at the festival. During her performance, the captivating artist brought out Rina Sawayama as her very special guest to perform their infectious pop collaboration “Follow Me.” Another highlight of her performance was when she sang her remix of Lady Gaga’s “Fun Tonight.” “It remains a mystery to me why @pabllovittar isn’t a renowned international pop star,” Rolling Stone writer Tomás Mier wrote online at the time. “That #Coachella performance was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before (aside from her compatriot Anitta yesterday). Brazilian pop queens are built different. The basic girlies should be scared.”
Los Tucanes de Tijuana (2019)
This was another historic moment for the Latine community. I mean, who doesn’t know “La Chona?” With this popular track and more, Los Tucanes de Tijuana were the first regional Mexican act to perform at Coachella in 2019—and it was a hit. The L.A. Times described their audience’s response as “a mixture of Latinos and curious anglophones, [who] begged for a reprise, to which Los Tucanes obliged.” By leaving the crowd wanting more, this massive performance is another testament to the group’s massive influence across cultures. What better way to represent our Latine communities?
Karol G (2022)
Karol G’s Coachella performance was full of pop culture history. Not only did she pay tribute to Latine icons like Selena and Celia Cruz, but she also performed her record-breaking joint track “MAMIII” with Becky G live for the first time. By meshing past Latine hits with her then-popular tracks, the Colombian pop star made her Coachella performance one of our favorites to date. “These are the colors of my flag. I am from Colombia. And tonight I feel so happy and so proud to represent my country and my Latina community around the world,” Karol G reportedly told the audience as she opened with Selena’s “Como La Flor.” “Now, I just want to have a moment in my show to honor these songs that went No. 1 in the world… Latina songs that were No. 1 in the world but never were played in this stage. But gave me opportunity to begin.” Phew, we still get chills thinking about it!
Café Tacvba (2013)
The emblematic Mexican alternative rock band is no stranger to the three-day festival. They’ve performed on four separate occasions: 2013, 2008, 2005, and 2003. However, our favorite performance was in 2013, when we saw the full-blown magnitude of their fan following gathered on the fest’s main Coachella stage. Their crowd was one of the liveliest: jumping and getting rowdy as the group performed their classics like “La Ingrata,” “Las Flores,” “Volver A Comenzar,” and “Olita Del Altamar.” Also, iduringthose four occasions, they proved to us that their music is truly timeless.
Rico Nasty (2019)
The Puerto Rican rapper Rico Nasty was one of the Latine performers on Coachella’s 2019 bill. She performed her hits like “Trust Issues,” “B*tch I’m Nasty,” “Tia Tamera,” and “Smack A B*tch.” With such high energy, the rapper had the audience in a frenzy and mosh pits. At the same time, Rico showed our community’s distinctive rapping talent on a huge platform. “It was hectic,” she later said in an interview after her weekend one performance. “You don’t hesitate. Shit goes wrong, don’t show it on your face. Persevere. Have fun. When the sets over, I was able to have fun. But it was all or nothing. I mean, it’s f*cking Coachella.”
Mon Laferte (2019)
2019 was a huge year for Latine music, with 17 acts in the lineup. One of the Latinas present was the Chilean powerhouse Mon Laferte, who left her audience wanting more. Not only did she sing her hits like “Tormento,” “Mi Buen Amor,” and “Tu Falta De Querer,” she also covered Dua Lipa’s song “New Rules,” which demonstrated the artist’s musical diversity. It is one of our favorites because by performing in both languages, she showed that her talent is genre-less. The epic performance was so important it left a mark on Laferte’s personal musical trajectory. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she said that “the craziest thing that happened to [her] in the 2010s” was performing at Coachella.