Kanye West Won’t Be Performing At Coachella 2019 After Negotiations Over Stage Design Fall Apart

Rapper Kanye West performs at the Forum on October 25, 2016 in Inglewood, California.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Rumors of Kanye West headlining at Coachella in April have been rampant for months, but TMZ reports that the rapper won’t be making an appearance at the festival after all. Negotiations over the set design between Ye and the show’s producers collapsed after West requested the ability to use a non-traditional stage — and the show’s producers refused.

According to several sources, West doesn’t want to appear on a traditional stage because he finds it too “artistically limiting.” One person close to the situation said that traditional 40-by-60 stages are out-of-date.

“These 40-by-60 stages are so archaic. It’s the same type of stage on which Shakespeare’s works were performed hundreds of years ago,” the source said.

While that may be true, Coachella producers also have to keep the flow of the show and the needs of other entertainers in mind. The festival’s producer, Goldenvoice, was apparently unwilling to change up the stage just for Ye’s performance, because it would disrupt the festival and other performers.

West is known for his unusual stages. During his “Saint Pablo” tour, the rapper performed on a floating platform suspended 15 feet above the audience. The stage moved around above the audience while West — tethered by a safety harness — moved around the platform. What made the set particularly unusual was the way it cast light down on the audience rather than the performer, leaving West in shadow for much of the performance as fans literally basked in the limelight.

During his 2012 tour for Watch The Throne, West performed on a massive cube “filled” with sharks, tigers, and crows. For the “Yeezus” tour the next year, he performed on a sort of mountain, one that lifted the performer 50 feet in the air. It periodically turned into a volcano, while the set around him featured fire, explosions, and a reincarnated Jesus.

While he may not be appearing at Coachella, the soon-to-be father of four is artistically inspired for the upcoming year. He has been active on Twitter recently, announcing that he is making new art and that he intends to perform on stage with his MAGA hat on.

“From now on I’m performing with my mutherf***ing hat on,” he wrote, adding, “One of my favorite of many things about what the Trump hat represents to me is that people can’t tell me what to do because I’m black.”

A few days earlier he tweeted that his creative vision for the future was clear.

“New designs new music new ideas renewed spirit we changing everything everyday the vision is crystal,” he wrote.

With West out of the running, rumors suggest that Childish Gambino, Rihanna, or Justin Timberlake could headline the show.