Coachella is one of the biggest festivals in the US of A, and alongside Lollapalooza and SXSW, it often boasts the strongest line-ups on the other side of the pond. This year is no exception, with the likes of French indie veterans Phoenix, funk-rock legends Red Hot Chili Peppers and British festival stalwarts The Stone Roses/Blur headlining the two-weekend event. Whilst music is the most celebrated draw of the festival, it isn't just about the sonic arts – half of the gathering is dedicated to installations, sculptures and Burning Man-esque shenanigans. It's a well-rounded event, collecting some of the most illustrious acts in musical history, the cutting edge of todays sound and masters of the visual arts together for one of the most unique festival experiences of the calendar.
Here's our rundown of the five acts you cannot miss under any circumstances (unless you have a sick note).
The xx – they've broken into the mainstream with their second LP Co-Exist, and with that newfound fame they've begun curating their own festival, Night + Day, in non-traditional locations in Europe, including an abandoned theme park in Berlin and a beachside castle in Lisbon. The London trio are masters of sparse twilight indie noises, and their surge in popularity is testament to how phenomenal they are – catching them live isn't always simple as they're prone to selling out quickly. However, when they do grace festival stages á la last years Bestival, they succeed in scaling up that inert intimacy and featherlike fragility. Their show is a necessary experience.
Jessie Ware – the Brit crooner sparked a maelstrom amongst blogs last year with her debut record, Devotion. She's one of the most exciting breakout stars of 2012, with her record placing highly (if not top) of most end-of-year lists and a slew of scintillating performances under her belt. She struts into 2013 with the world at her feet – she may not have completely broken America yet, but given her plans for this year, that's probably going to change. Jessie Ware's crystalline voice and futuristic R&B/neo-soul sounds are not only voguetastic, but also modern classics – she's one to continue watching.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – perhaps not ever taken as seriously as they may want, RHCP are destined to unleash one hell of a closing statement for Coachella. They may be past their prime creatively, but if their enormous 2012 tour is anything to go by, the 50 (yes, 50) year old headliners are bound to deliver one of the most energetic, seminal and frankly enjoyable sets of the weekend. Regardless of your opinion of the funk-rap foursome, when 'Give It Away' hits you'll all be dancing like loons.
Earl Sweatshirt – one of the biggest rising talents in rap is a spectacle not to be passed by. The OFWGKTA protege may only be 19, but his lyrics are leaden with deep maturity and jaw-droppingly flawless. He's got his second full-length, Doris, out soon, and with collaborations that include Pharrell and Tyler, The Creator, you can expect it to be pretty striking. There's a reason so many people are taking an interest in Earl Sweatshirt – he's an innate talent that's increasingly rare.
The Postal Service – the recently reformed electro-pop duo have been incredibly coy about returning to the project, but after a spate of rumours at the beginning of the year, the pair have finally unveiled a return. A few tracks have surfaced alongside their Give Up reissue, and sold-out tours are scheduled for later on this year – given the flippancy that Gibbard/Tamborello have shown in the past about this much-loved pairing, it's a wise idea to get right down to the front of their set to cement one of those 'I was there!' moments that you'll try and tell your grandkids about as they zoom around on hoverboards.
There you have it, our five acts not to miss. Listen to our preview playlist below to get well and truly pumped for the events. If you're not going, listen anyway and have a good, envious, blubbery tantrum 'cause you're stuck in snow-spackled Britain.
The festival takes place April 12-14, and April 19-21 respectively. For more information head here.