[RECAP] ATEEZ, LE SSERAFIM, The Rose, and More Ignited the Desert at Coachella 2024

Cr. Ashley Osborn

Korean music continues to soar in popularity and cement its place in American music festivals. This was greatly evidenced by this year’s Coachella Music Valley Music & Arts Festival, best known by many as Coachella. Kicking off the festival season, Coachella attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees to the desert for weekends filled with art, music, and food. 

Held over the course of two weekends, April 12 to 14 and April 19 to 21 in Indio, California, this year’s Coachella welcomed ATEEZ, LE SSERAFIM, The Rose, 88Rising Futures (BIBI, Jackson Wang, Tiger JK, and Yoonmirae, and more), and South Korean-born DJ Peggy Gou to join the astounding nearly 150 artist lineup.

For ATEEZ particularly, the eight-membered group made history as the first K-Pop boy group to perform at the festival. While this was The Rose’s first time performing at the prestigious festival, the band has extensive experience performing at several other music festivals, including last year’s Lollapalooza in Chicago and its global spin-off festivals, British Summer Time Hyde Park in London, Mad Cool in Spain, and Life is Beautiful in Las Vegas. As for LE SSERAFIM, Coachella marked the girl group’s highly anticipated U.S. festival debut.

Despite brutal conditions such as the hot blazing sun, high dusty winds, and massive crowds, the passionate fans were not deterred from standing the entire day to get a front-row spot. Many sprinted through wristband and security checks when doors opened promptly at 1 PM, generating buzz on social media platforms. The acts drew in many fans, old and new alike, showing the festival that Korean music was here to stay in the music festival scene.

88RISING Futures

Cr. Lindsay Blane

A first weekend-only experience, 88RISING returned to the desert with yet another show-stopping showcase at the Mojave Stage on April 14. The 88RISING Futures set, created in a showcase format, highlighted Asian acts such as Jackson Wang (China), BIBI (Korea), Tiger JK and Yoonmirae (Korea), Number_i (Japan), XIN LIU (China), YOASOBI (Japan), ATARASHII GAKKO! (Japan), Awich (Japan), NENE (Japan), LANA (Japan), MaRI (Japan), YURIN RETRIEVER (Japan), and JP THE WAVY (Japan). 

The showcase follows after the Head in the Clouds Forever takeover in 2022 on the Coachella Main Stage, which made history for being the first record label to have its own slot to showcase artists. In particular, the set trended worldwide for 2NE1’s historic reunion and had legendary acts including CL and Utada Hikaru and 88RISING giants NIKI and Rich Brian

Slated for over 60 minutes, the 88RISING Futures boasted the future of Asian music across the continent. Legendary hip-hop duo Tiger JK and Yoonmirae graced the Mojave Stage with a homage to Stray Kids by performing a bit of “TOPLINE,” a song Tiger JK was featured in. The duo smoothly rapped through “VOoDOo BOogie” and “MONSTER,” flexing their seamless blend of Korean and English lyrics. Their decades-long experience in the industry shone through as the couple effortlessly commanded the stage.

Before leaving, Tiger JK expressed his sincere gratitude for being able to perform at Coachella for the first time, stating, “It’s been a dream to rock the Coachella stage. I feel blessed. I’m grateful. I’m all humble.” 

The most anticipated part of the showcase was BIBI, a last-minute announcement. The artist, known for her viral English-only track, “The Weekend,” has recently dominated domestic and international charts with “Bam Yang Gang.” Upon hearing the beginning notes of the song, the crowd boomed in cheers. Dubbed the “Dark IU” due to her grungy and badass visuals in contrast to her soft and pretty looks, BIBI was well-loved by the audience.

She switched it up with “Sugar Rush,” a lighthearted and sassy hip-hop track that made rounds on Tiktok for its lyrics, “I don’t need no man for dessert / I got popsicles in my freezer.” For this song, BIBI showcased her siren energy and commanding stage presence through the sensual choreography. 

BIBI then ended her performance with her then-unreleased track called “Feeling Lucky” with surprise guest Jackson Wang. The GOT7 member and Chinese pop superstar, who was previously on stage with Japanese group Number_i for “GOAT REMIX,” came out in all black with a playful smile. The duo coyly interacted during the entire track, which wasn’t new considering that both artists are well-known to have incredible fan service. BIBI went viral a couple of years ago for kissing a female attendee at Head in the Clouds, while Jackson was well-known for his intimate interactions with Ahgases (GOT7’s fandom name) and Jackys (Jackson’s solo fandom name) over the years. The unwavering eye contact got steamy when the duo started holding hands and walking across the stage, ending with the two holding and pulling each other close. The steamy performance shocked the audience and left them wanting more.

88RISING is expected to have their Head in The Clouds New York festival on May 11 and 12 in Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, which includes acts like (G)-IDLE, Balming Tiger, wave to earth, BIBI, and many more.

Peggy Gou

Cr. Julian Bajsel

Day 1 of Coachella saw many DJs making a big name for themselves, especially at the Sahara Stage and the stunning, newly built Quasar Stage. A standout was none other than Peggy Gou, who had made an immense and memorable splash in the dance music scene since 2014. Born in Korea and raised in London, she performs over 100 gigs yearly and was the first Korean DJ to perform in Berlin’s nightclub Berghain. 

Ahead of her much-anticipated debut studio album, I Hear You, which will be released this June, Gou spun to a roaring and incredibly giddy crowd for a full hour. Several used their fans to wave and clack along to the beat as others danced ardently and passionately. She also had a team of dancers dressed in all chrome and knee-high red boots to accompany her as they waacked and vogued throughout the set.

Gou began the set with a remix of Beyoncé’s “THIQUE” from her 2022 release RENAISSANCE and remixed other popular songs like Sophia Ellis Baxtor’s “Murder on the Dancefloor,” Tokischa & ROSALÍA’s “Linda,” “Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” and Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money.” While the set went on, images of a Memoji’d Peggy Gou flashed on the screen, its head bopping along to the music while smoke cannons blasted at magnificent beat drops. 

She also performed her mega-hit, “(It Goes Like) Nanana,” near the end of the set to an ecstatic audience, in which everyone sang the lyrics at the top of their lungs in each other’s faces. The single sampled André Tanneberger’s 1998 track, “9 PM (Til I Come),” and was her first global hit, ranking on the Billboard Global 200. Peggy ended the set slowly, dimming down the music until cutting it off completely as her dancers left the stage one by one. As Gou bowed and waved to the adoring crowd, it was clear she had a promising future ahead as a DJ, already booked for other prestigious music festivals, including EDC Las Vegas 2024 and Primavera Sound 2024 in Barcelona. 


Cr. P Rodriguez

Over at the Sahara Stage was the much-talked-about ATEEZ. The boy group, consisting of Hongjoong, San, Yunho, Yeosang, Jongho, Seonghwa, Mingi, and Wooyoung, has been dominating the K-Pop scene for the past year with their recent release, The World EP.FIN: WILL, which topped the Billboard 200 chart and was named Record Store Day’s “K-Pop Artist of the Year.” It was only apt for the band to make more historic achievements as their meteoric rise continued, including being the first K-Pop boy group to perform at Coachella

Prior to and in between ATEEZ’s Coachella performances, ATINY (ATEEZ’s fanbase name) flocked to Hello82LA, Hello82’s flagship fan space that features fan meetups and artist fan events, to mingle with other ATINYs and collect exclusive photocards from the designated ATINY Zone. The space was decorated with the theme “82Valley” with ATEEZ cutouts and desert-themed decorations to celebrate the group at Coachella. The group also hosted their private fansigns on April 15 and 21, respectively, with many hopefuls hosting group orders online to secure a spot in either fansign. 

As the time arrived for their performance, the Sahara Stage was experiencing intense winds, picking up a lot of dust and dried grass from the festival grounds from the second weekend. This didn’t stop ATINY from cheering on, turning on their lightsticks, and chanting the band’s name prior to the beginning VCR. 

The VCR began with a close-up of a red eye staring intensely at the crowd, slowly dilating as dramatic music plays in the background. The eye turned green quickly as a man breathed heavily, running out of breath. Quick flashes of red-stained motifs related to the group continued, hinting at parts of the performance to come, such as with a glass of wine and a samurai slashing through a piece of wood.

Cr. P Rodriguez

While the red lights continued to flash vibrantly, newly dyed pink and blonde-haired Hongjoong confidently and coolly began the performance with a “We back, Coachella!” to a screaming crowd before performing  “Say My Name.” The group was in custom Dolce & Gabbana, with members San, Yeosang, and Mingi showing off their well-built bodies. 

The group assertively sang through their songs “Hala Hala” and “Guerrilla” with effortless swagger, executing the choreography with exact precision. Of course, the iconic “Break the wall!” fanchant during the “Guerrilla” dance break, with everyone screaming at the top of their lungs, cannot be forgotten. It was so loud that it was clearly heard on the Mojave Stage’s livestream, showing the group’s dedicated fans were not to be messed with. 

After a brief English group ment, San got the crowd hyped with a little introduction, screaming, “Your form doesn’t have to be perfect. You just got to get a little crazy. Show us your crazy form!”

With an incredible array of strobe lights and lasers, “Crazy Form” showcased the group’s extraordinary prowess and command of the stage. Between flawless soaring high notes from Jongho and Wooyoung’s playful butt shake during the chorus, it was obvious the group’s stage presence has substantially grown over the years – they confidently strutted and delivered their lines in an almost growling manner.

ATEEZ continued with “Rocky” and “The Real,” a slow down from the intense choreography to interact with the audience. The latter ended with dancers coming out with flags and two dancing tigers, making sure everyone remembered where their roots were.

A quick set change saw a bar scene unfolding before the crowd as “ARRIBA” began. As the song lyrics were about letting go and having some fun in life, the members went into full acting mode as they relaxed on stage, with several leaning against the bar counter and others interacting with the live band with supposed alcoholic drinks in their hand (Yeosang later revealed that it was barley tea). The group did a grand toast in the air to finish off the song before downing the yellow liquid and going into “Django.” 

The group did their final ments before performing their last two songs, with Jongho teasing that they “will be back soon.” This came after X (formerly Twitter) buzzed excitedly over hints of their upcoming album and tour stops for their much anticipated 2024 ATEEZ WORLD TOUR [TOWARDS THE LIGHT : WILL TO POWER] IN NORTH AMERICA

Cr. P Rodriguez

ATEEZ closed the performance with “BOUNCY (K-HOT CHILLI PEPPERS)” and “WONDERLAND (Symphony No.9 “From The Wonderland”).” The night ended with incredible high moments, including Seonghwa pulling out a light-up sword and slashing the air and the now-viral moment of Jongho hitting his three-note high note at the climax of “WONDERLAND.” 

As the crowd dispersed for the night to either go home or catch Lana Del Rey’s headliner performance, it was evidently clear why ATEEZ was the representative K-Pop boy group this year for Coachella. With numerous accolades already under their belt and many more to come, it wouldn’t be surprising if ATEEZ were invited to upcoming U.S. music festivals or even headline for bigger venues. Dubbed as the 4th generation leaders, they have shown Coachella attendees why they deserve that title.  

The group will embark on their fourth world tour soon, with the U.S. stops beginning on July 14 at the Tacoma Dome in Washington.


Cr. Julian Bajsel

Following ATEEZ for Day 2 at the Sahara Stage was LE SSERAFIM, consisting of members Chaewon, Huh Yunjin, Sakura, Eunchae, and Kazuha. With three members coming from “Produce 48” and two members officially making it in Iz*One, LE SSERAFIM made a huge splash in 2022 and even more so as “ANTIFRAGILE” became their first global hit, ranking on the Billboard 200. It was the fastest a K-Pop girl group debuted on the chart thus far. 

Similarly to ATEEZ’s events, Hello82LA held a pop-up called the “Fearnot Zone” before and during the Coachella weekends. LE SSERAFIM fans (named Fearnots) flocked to the pop-up to collect exclusive photo cards of the members, but they sold out by the second weekend. 

Cr. Julian Bajsel

When night fell on the Sahara Stage, many male fans donned their Chawon-ized American flags to keep warm. It has been a running joke in the fanbase since a version of it was spotted at Beyond Wonderland weeks before. For the second weekend, Chaewon couldn’t help but acknowledge the dozens of fans sporting her flag.

The stage lit up with LE SSERAFIM’s logo before the opening VCR began to start the show. As the group’s live band played on, the trilingual and rock-infused “Good Bones” started while the members slowly strutted across the stage one by one. The group immediately and effortlessly went into “ANTIFRAGILE” with a remarkable and drastic improvement from the previous weekend. As Kazuha did her infamous leg flip, the crowd went wild, cheering the members on as they executed the choreography perfectly. Lightning streaks flashed across the screen several times throughout the song, alongside a bit of pyrotechnics to showcase that the stage was just heating up. 

The members took a short water break before heading into “Fearless,” their debut track from their first single of the same name. The members exuded coolness as Sakura fiercely delivered her notes with immense conviction while the others smiled confidently through their lines, showcasing their resilience. 

After some intense choreography, they performed “The Great Mermaid” and a portion of the new unreleased track, “1-800-hot-n-fun,” and interacted with the audience. The members flirtatiously sang, “I like to kiss everybody,” with several fans screaming in excitement.

LE SSERAFIM continued to turn up the heat with “UNFORGIVEN” (the song’s producer, Nile Rodgers who was present the first weekend, was not present this week). There were some audience members throughout the crowd doing the choreography, making it extremely entertaining. The group transitioned into an English version of “Eve, Psyche & the Bluebeard’s Wife,” a track well-known for its multiple remixes, including one with Rina Sawayama.

Cr. Julian Bajsel

Shortly after a quick live band interlude, the group appeared back on stage in groups, asking the audience how they felt as the beginning notes of “Perfect Night” played in the background. Everyone passionately sang the first verse straight into the chorus, showing the song’s soaring popularity since its release with “Overwatch 2” in October. While the screen flashes what looked like the Coachella Ferris wheel with the LE SSERAFIM logo on it, the members interacted well with the audience and each other, showcasing their synergy with Fearnots.

Of course, the main highlight of the performance was “Smart,” started by Yunjin’s now-viral cheer, “Coachella! Are you ready? To shake some fucking ass?!” Fans waited in anticipation for the equally viral moment of Chaewon singing the chorus, which led to a deafening wave of fanboy hollers. 

During the final ments, the group expressed gratitude for those who came to see them.  “It was our first Coachella, so we put a lot of work and effort into preparing these performances,” Yunjin said to an incredibly supportive crowd. “It was the most incredible experience. We learned so much, and to make these memories with you guys is so precious, and I will carry these memories forever.”

The group ended the set with “EASY” and a remix of “Fire in the Belly” and didn’t spare the theatrics for the last track. As the members danced with their backup dancers and executed an exciting but small dance break, the audience was fired up and ready to dance along. The improved vocals didn’t stop there, with Yunjin, Chaewon, and Kazuha confidently hitting their high notes at the end.

Despite it all, the audience loved LE SSERAFIM and what they brought to the stage this weekend, showing the world they deserved to be on a prestigious stage like Coachella. Their never-ending adaptability and resilience are why LE SSERAFIM’s anagram is “I’m fearless,” and Fearnots have every reason to be proud of their achievements within such a short time.

For now, LE SSERAFIM does not have any plans to tour anytime soon, but the group will perform the upcoming English track, “1-800-hot-n-fun” at FEARNADA 2024 S/S at Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul, Korea on May 11-12.

The Rose

Cr. Ashley Osborn

Ending the spectacular weekend was The Rose, who performed on the Outdoor Theatre Stage, making history by being the first Korean rock band to perform at Coachella. As the blistering sun slowly set for the day, it was only apt that the rock band had the beautiful golden hour time slot.

Before the performance, Black Roses (The Rose’s fandom name) braved the 100-degree Fahrenheit heat and smothering winds to ensure a front-row spot. The rest began to trickle in throughout the day, laying their blankets on the shaded grassy areas with food and drinks on hand to peacefully watch the rock band perform. 

The group began the set with “Eclipse” after briefly introducing the members. Woosung, Dojoon, Hajoon, and Jaehyeong came on stage to roaring cheers. The group forwent their sparkly suits from the first weekend to wear more flowy and relaxed fits. They effortlessly went through “Shift” and “Lifeline (Reborn),” with the latter, a new remix, eliciting a particularly positive reaction from casual listeners who were pleasantly surprised by the sudden EDM drop.

RED” and “Back To Me” showcased the band’s strengths, creating incredibly catchy songs that got the whole audience bopping along and resurfacing high emotion that could move a stranger to tears. The latter got the audience to cheerfully sing the chorus word for word at the top of their lungs. 

The band also performed other songs, including “Definition of ugly is,” “Alive,” and “Cure,” which highlighted their sentimentality and sensibility. During “Definition of ugly is,” violinists and cellists joined the band on stage, enhancing the performance and intensifying the emotions behind Woosung and Dojoon’s powerful vocals. A loving young couple was spotted slow dancing in the audience, completely absorbed in the beautiful performance. “Sour” featured the soft yet strong harmonizing vocals from their bassist Jaehyeong during the chorus. It was incredibly difficult to listen to the tracks back-to-back without feeling emotional as several members of the crowd shed and wiped away tears. 

The end featured a fan favorite, “Wonder,” with color guard performers and drummers from the USC Marching Band as Dojoon passionately waved one of the flags around with immense pride. As the sun fully departed from the sky, attendees felt liberated and calm as the set ended spectacularly, showcasing the full breadth of The Rose and what they could do. 

The Rose did not hesitate to thank their Black Roses, dedicating the performance to them. As frontman Woosung remarked: 

“When we first started, we started in a very small place in Seoul called Hongdae. That’s where we used to busk and street-perform and do little club gigs here and there. And our very first show as The Rose, we had about 20 people show up, and half of them were our friends. But look at all you motherfuckers now!”

– Woosung of The Rose

Dojoon also happily thanked everyone for the opportunity to perform at Coachella on his birthday with Black Roses singing “Happy Birthday” to him as a gift. 

Despite the band not having the glitz and glamor of numerous costume changes, sets, and a legion of backup dancers, The Rose has shown time and time again through these festival circuits that they were here to stay with their tender lyrics and unwavering strong vocals. The typical Coachella attendee’s freedom and open-mindedness of casually listening to the band was the main draw for many, as several remarked that it was their first time listening to The Rose. As the night draped the desert sky, The Rose left the stage with a new group of fans who wanted to hear more as chatter buzzed in great praises after the set was over. 

As for future plans, The Rose said in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter that while they’re focusing on rest, they’re also looking into making a new album. Woosung stated,

“I think after such a long tour and just constant festivals, tours, albums, I think we wanted to rest a little bit. But I am pretty sure while we’re resting, we’re going to feel like we need to do something.” 

Coachella endures to be one of the world’s biggest, most popular, and highest-earning festivals. As the festival continues to invite all genres of music to come to the desert for the two weekends, it was magnificent to see the rise of Korean music, with idol groups, soloists, and bands alike sharing the legendary stages that Coachella has offered in recent years. Their constant invitations to the momentous festival cemented Korean music’s ever-growing mainstream popularity in the States.

Coachella2025 will be held on April 11-13 and April 18-20 next year, and advance tickets will go on sale May 3. While the lineup is expected to drop next year, fans are waiting with bated breath to see which Korean music acts will perform next.

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