Revelers in thong bodysuits, sporting glitter eyeshadow and sheathed in neon partied late into the night Friday as the first Coachella since the pandemic´s onset got underway in the California desert.
Brazil´s Anitta brought electricity with twerkified dance routines on lock, thrilling crowds after inviting Snoop Dogg and Saweetie onstage, as Phoebe Bridgers conjured a lighter-waving mood with dreamy strings accompanying her morose lyricism — and a guttural scream for good measure.
And Harry Styles debuted at Coachella as a headliner, kicking off the night´s premiere set enveloped in a fur coat before stripping to reveal a disco ball of an outfit he donned to dance down the stage runway, thousands of screaming fans clamoring at his feet.
He later delighted fans by bringing none other than Shania Twain on stage for a string of duets, telling the audience he used to sing along with the nineties-era superstar´s hits in his mom´s car.
“I´m a bit starstruck… It´s a bit surreal to sing this song with you,” Twain said when the pair crooned her 1997 track “You´re Still The One.”
The mammoth event that takes place over two three-day weekends is one of the world´s most watched festivals, and traditionally kicks off the year´s summer concert circuit.
Coachella´s 2020 edition was scrapped as the coronavirus pandemic came into full force, and two years of chaotic cancellations, rescheduled shows and lineup shakeups ensued.
As it returns after a three-year hiatus, Coachella is a bellwether for the multi-billion-dollar touring industry that´s still on shaky ground after persistent pandemic setbacks.
After other large-scale festivals including Lollapalooza last year required proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 result, Coachella this winter announced it would not require any such mitigation measures, including masks or social distancing.
But it comes amid an uptick in coronavirus cases nationwide, mostly due to the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant known as BA.2.
Friday saw temperatures climb and as festival-goers descended on the grounds for three days of partying, contracting coronavirus seemed back of mind.