R’n’B artist Frank Ocean has confirmed he will not be performing at the second weekend of Coachella music festival in California.
Ocean played last weekend, and was originally slated to headline again on Sunday.
Last weekend’s show was Ocean’s first live performance in six years, many in the crowd spending thousands to witness his comeback.
What is Coachella?
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a music festival that takes place over two weekends in Indio, California.
Both weekends feature roughly the same line-up of artists.
A quarter of a million people attend the event over the two weekends to see some of the biggest artists in the world perform.
This year’s headliners included Gorillaz, Blackpink, Björk, Blondie, Bad Bunny and Blink 182.
Ocean was one of the three major headliners, alongside Blackpink and Bad Bunny.
What happened at Frank Ocean’s first Coachella set?
The excitement for Ocean’s first live set in six years was extreme in the days leading up to his performance.
Fans reported on social media that they had lined up at 12pm to get the best spot for Ocean’s 10pm performance.
For some context, artists tend to go all out for the headlining Coachella set because they are usually performing to tens of thousands of people who are there and the millions watching the official YouTube live stream.
For example, Beyoncé’s 2018 headlining set, which had a full drum chorus, dozens of dancers and led to that year’s festival being re-named Beychella.
And — according to a tweet from festival insider Festival Owl and confirmed by representatives — Ocean had some big things planned for his headliner slot as well.
Ocean was reportedly set to have more than 100 ice skaters included in his performance, with Coachella having built a full ice-skating rink on the headlining stage for the set.
Former ice hockey players Dan and Chris Powers were two of those background skaters and said that around 120 skaters were ready to perform behind Ocean on Sunday, after weeks of rehearsals.
Dan Powers went on to say that Ocean scrapped the ice rink, hours before the performance, leaving the crew of skaters to become backup dancers.
“Those figure skaters got cut, not because there was an ice issue, not because there was something wrong,” Dan Powers said on the Empty Netters podcast.
“There was no malfunction. [Ocean] just straight-up was, like: ‘F*** this. I’m not doing this any more’.”
Fans were further disappointed when Ocean started his set an hour later than scheduled. That meant Ocean’s set was greatly reduced, due to Coachella’s strict curfew law which threatens fines of up to $25,000 if artists play over their allotted time.
Ocean then proceeded to play heavily re-arranged versions of his biggest hits, with videos showing Ocean lip-syncing to songs without a microphone in his hand.
During the set, the singer mostly turned away from the crowd to perform his track Novacane and took prolonged pauses between songs, including Crack Rock and White Ferrari.
There were also large screens encompassing the stage, which obscured the audience’s view of Ocean when he was on stage.
Press photos or a live stream of the performance were not permitted, and Ocean closed the set abruptly with the words: “Guys, I’m being told it’s curfew, so that’s the end of the show.”
So, why did Frank Ocean pull out of Coachella?
In a statement supplied to AFP, Ocean’s representative confirmed that he was forced to pull out of his second performance due to doctor’s orders.
“On doctor’s advice, [Ocean] is not able to perform weekend 2 due to two fractures and a sprain in his left leg,” the representative said.
The statement also confirmed that Ocean’s ankle injury was the reason for the last-minute performance change.
“After suffering an injury to his leg on festival grounds in the week leading up to weekend 1, Frank Ocean was unable to perform the intended show but was still intent on performing, and in 72 hours, the show was reworked out of necessity.”
Ocean himself commented on the state of his set.
“It was chaotic. There is some beauty in chaos. It isn’t what I intended to show, but I did enjoy being out there and I’ll see you soon,” Ocean said.
Who is going to replace Frank Ocean at Coachella?
There’s been no official announcement for who is going to replace Frank Ocean.
According to Variety, weekend one surprise headliners Blink 182 are poised to fill the Sunday slot, but Coachella is yet to confirm that the band has agreed to do so.