Next weekend, Coachella will hold its first festival since 2019 after the coronavirus pandemic canceled their 2020 and 2021 iterations. Kanye West, Billie Eilish, and Harry Styles were initially announced as headliners for the upcoming festival which will take over Indio, California during the weekends of April 15-17 and April 22-24. In normal times, Coachella would be conducting last-minute preparations to kick off the first of their two festival weekends, but a wrench was thrown into their plans when Kanye West dropped out earlier this week. This sent officials into a scramble to find a replacement, and luckily they were able to lock in The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia as the new headliners.
According to TMZ, Kanye West reportedly walked away from an $8 million payout by dropping out of Coachella. He also lost a $500,000 production fee by walking away from his headlining performances. For what it’s worth, Kanye is a billionaire so missing out on the 7-figure payment is most likely not that big of a concern for him. Thankfully for Coachella and all attendees, the situation has been fixed but it didn’t come without some tension during negations. Page Six, which sites a “music source,” says that The Weeknd threatened to also drop out as a headliner if he did not receive the same payment as Kanye.
“The Weeknd came in at short notice to take Kanye’s top spot. But Phil Anschutz [who owns the Coachella Festival through AEG Live] wanted to hold on to Kanye’s money and pay The Weeknd far less, just a few million,” the source told the publication. “The festival would pocket the rest […] Even after Coachella announced the new lineup on Wednesday, a deal wasn’t in place for The Weeknd, who threatened to pull out at an hour’s notice if he didn’t get the same deal as Kanye. Finally, on Wednesday — faced with the prospect of a second headline act pulling out of Coachella at the last minute — Anschutz’s company caved and agreed to pay the Weeknd the same money.”
Page Six notes that another source told them that Anschutz was not directly involved in negotiations to secure The Weeknd as a headliner.