Kanye West was excluded from headlining this year's Coachella Festival as organizers said it was impossible to build a custom-made stage that he requested at the last minute.
West, to be announced as headliner on January 3, asked Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett on January 1 for a tailor-made dome stage in the middle of the festival grounds. The dome was to be designed by West's John McGuire to provide all-round performance with hi-tech production and stunning video.
To build the building, the festival grounds had to be redesigned and numerous toilets had to be removed. When the parent company of Coachella, Goldenvoice, told West the impossibility, he was irritated. He said he was an artist with a creative vision who would not spend his time doing toilet talk, a source told Billboard magazine.
West had complained that the main stage of the festival was not big enough for his performance. Goldenvoice reminded him that earlier headliners like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, who brought more than 100 performers to their now-legendary 2018 headline spot, found this appropriate.
The company decided to end talks with West and seek a new headliner. Ariana Grande replaced the rapper on the bill and will overwrite the last night of the festival. Grande is represented by the manager Scooter Braun, who also worked with West until December 2018.
A headline spot from West could have been quite controversial due to the defiant support of the rapper of Donald Trump, who shared his fans. His latest album, Ye, which was released in the summer of 2018, was critically blocked.
It was not the only last-minute changeover for the festival, which takes place on two weekends in April in the California desert. Despite a cautious critical and commercial reception for his 2018 "Man of the Woods" album, Justin Timberlake made headline news one night, but had to cancel his new tour dates after delaying appearances for violating the vocal cords of the festival had clause. He was replaced by the Australian psychedelic band Tame Impala, which is expected to release their fourth album this year.
The controversial Radius clause restricts the performers from playing at other North American festivals during a 100-day period, and not in seven Southern California districts during that period.
Childish Gambino – aka Donald Glover – will co-head the festival with Grande and Tame Impala. Guardian staff and writers selected his single This Is America as Best Song of the Year 2018.