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The Definitive Ranking of Every Coachella Lineup

The Definitive Ranking of Every Coachella Lineup:

Yesterday Goldenvoice announced the lineup for the 2015 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the desert outside of Palm Springs, California, and immediately the internet began to wonder how the latest iteration of the event—known for breaking new acts and showcasing musical heavy-hitters—stacked up against the rest.

We Playboy.com editors decided to figure it out for good—by using an incredibly objective algorithm that involves crowdsourcing opinions about which combination of Red Hot Chili Peppers with other headliners was most noteworthy, whether or not Tool is acceptable (they never are), and who’s most basic of them all (hint: one of his most popular songs is about banana pancakes.)

Of course, tastes vary widely and the best acts at any festival are found in the smallest fonts on the poster, playing on a Friday afternoon before anyone’s showed up let alone had time to syphon Molly water from a CamelBack or adorn their pig tails with feathers.

That being said, here’s our ranking:

17. Coachella 2008

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

In recent years the 16-year-old festival has become known as a gathering place for basic bitches and dads. Picking Jack Johnson and Roger Waters (who is admittedly legendary) as headliners likely helped cement that bad rep. This is the worst Coacella line-up ever. It was also the first time since 2003 that the festival didn’t sell out, which makes sense.


16. Coachella 2015

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

It’d be cool to see Drake on the Coachella stage if he were serving as an accesory to reigning booty queen Nicki Minaj like in her Anaconda video. But to wait in the sun to hear an emo-Canadian? No thanks. Also, no one feels less relevant than AC*DC in 2015. We’re confused.


15. Coachella 2006

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

Tool played.


14. Coachella 2013

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have headlined Coachella more than any other band. This is the least exciting of the line-ups that includes them.


13. Coachella 2001

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

The 2001 Coachella was only the second one, after launching in 1999 and taking a break in 2000. It was small and only one-day long, which probably means it was just enough Coachella, but doesn’t pack the punch of later line-ups.


12. Coachella 2014

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

The OutKast reunion attempt got panned, which made us sad.


11. Coachella 2007

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

Björk is a living legend whose live performances are consistently innovative, and Rage Against the Machine closing out the weekend must have been a blast. 2007 would’ve made the top ten had they not turned it into a has-been sandwich with Red Hot Chili Peppers in the middle.


10. Coachella 2005

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

The majesty of Nine Inch Nails makes up for irritating pandering to the Goop demographic by picking Coldplay.


9. Coachella 2000

Like a John Cage piece, there’s nothing like the sound of silence. In 2000 Coachella took the year off, and we imaging that lying on the polo fields, staring up at the stars, tripping balls was never more mind-expanding than when accompanied by the sound of nothing more than crickets.


8. Coachella 1999

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

When it comes to Indie music, Beck ruled the 1990s. As the world looked toward a new millennium, it’s fitting that the definitive L.A., new-age hipster would headline Coachella’s first festival.


7. Coachella 2009

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

Each night has something for everybody as the festival hits peak relevance somewhere around 2009.


6. Coachella 2012

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

This year’s headliners included hip-hop legends, rock innovators, and avant-garde electronic musicians with a major mainstream following. It’s a mix that’s increasingly what the Coachella brand is all about. For the first time ever, the festival would spread across two weekend, so it’s safe to say 2012 was double the fun.


5. Coachella 2004

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

This is as close to music festival perfection as anyone can hope for. With nothing on Friday it would’ve been nice to casually show up on Saturday without having to confront the number-one Coachella anxiety: FOMO.


4. Coachella 2002

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

Coachella was still an infant in 2002, but that didn’t prevent the festival’s organizers for injecting the hot SoCal desert with a serious dose of Northern European cool.


3. Coachella 2010

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

In between The Bluprint 3 and Watch the Throne Jay-Z was arguably in his prime in 2010, before his recent coasting into retirement. Coachella couldn’t have timed his headlining performance any better than this year.


2. Coachella 2003

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

The Beastie Boys used Coachella to gear up for their 2004 release, the band’s first in six years. Unlike many of the bands on this list, The Beastie Boys will never again headline Coachella, which is why we placed them at number 2.


1. Coachella 2011

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Why we ranked it at this spot:

Coachella bookers were on point this year: they presciently picked Arcade Fire, who was lifted from relative indie obscurity into the mainstream that February when the Grammy’s awarded the group Album of the Year. Meanwhile, Kanye had just put out the album that would save his career and cement his position as hip-hop royalty, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

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