Those interested in examining the specifics of this weekend’s Coachella Arts and Music Festival, which begins Friday in Indio, Calif., with DJ Jimbo Jenkins warming the Yuma tent at 11 a.m., would be wise to download the annual festival’s smartphone app.
Filled with features including set times, bios, a handy scheduler, a list of food venders and a site map, the app has become an essential tool. (That is, if you can get a consistent signal.)
From a fan’s perspective, the app also has another useful feature: As part of its scheduling tool, the app lists the number of attendees who have added the gig to their hour-by-hour calendars. The result is a revealing look at which acts are trending.
For example, the listing for Friday's 2:50 p.m. set by MS MR on the Coachella stage confirms that thusfar, 4,811 attendees have committed to see them in action. Compare that with the Dum Dum Girls’ 1,779 scheduled fans, and Title Fight’s 446 attendees, and you can start to get a feel for who’s buzzing and who’s sleeping during certain chunks of time, and which acts might draw the biggest crowds.
Who’s trending so far? As of noon Thursday, would-be attendees who have downloaded the app and scheduled their weekend are most excited about OutKast’s much anticipated reunion (11,638 have scheduled it), MGMT’s Saturday gig at sunset (11,126) and Zedd’s Friday night throwdown, of whom 10,767 fans have committed.
British singer Ellie Goulding’s Friday set at dusk has 9,449 fans buzzing. Less so is Afghan Whigs’ set at nearly the same time; only 982 have committed to their Mojave tent performance. (That’s still a few hundred more than are planning to check out the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.)
As a whole, fans are less enthused about Saturday night’s headliners. More are headed to Skrillex (9,182) than to Muse (7,124), with Nas and the Pet Shop Boys trending a few thousand behind. The big duel for mid-evening seems to be between New Zealand singer Lorde’s 8,452 early committers and Fatboy Slim’s 7,210. Later, progressive EDM band Empire of the Sun has lured just over 7,000 fans, compared with Queens of the Stone Age’s 4,563.
It’s too early to trust Sunday’s numbers, considering that that’s four days away, many Coachella fans are fickle and thousands more will no doubt download the app while on the road to Indio. When they do, expect these numbers to shift. But as a way to get a sense of trends -- and a gauge on how packed a particular tent might be -- the numbers prove an instructive early read.