The first ever Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was held in 1999, the same year rapper Dr. Dre released his last album. Compton's hip-hop pioneer and production ace will close this year's sold-out desert festival, to be held over two consecutive weekends in Indio, Calif. Meanwhile, Dr. Dre's upcoming "Detox," long said to be near release, continues to reside only in the artist's closely guarded possession, but Dr. Dre doesn't need any new music to feel right at home among the Coachella lineup.
Coachella, which launches April 13 and features the same lineup both weekends, has no shortage of rising stars, including bluesy rock headliners the Black Keys. Yet the festival also increasingly operates in its own universe, one that revolves around artists that came of age in the '90s.
Although the fortysomething rapper has remained active as a producer and is now a brand icon, Coachella 2012 is making heroes out of a number of former cult acts from more than a decade ago. Jeff Mangum's homemade orchestral pop with Neutral Milk Hotel found a niche audience in the mid-'90s, but he'll be given the victory-lap treatment at Coachella. Likewise, the still-topical Brit pop of Pulp, a group that was overshadowed by the likes of Oasis and Blur, is now the third act billed on Coachella's opening night.