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Coachella 2014: 20 Must-See Acts

The headliners and emerging artists that will define your weekend, and maybe your year


For the 15th time, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is planning to light up the desert. Here are 20 acts that are worth springing for some sunscreen.

By Richard Gehr, Keith Harris, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray and Jessica Suarez

chance the rapper

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Chance the Rapper

Who: Twenty-year-old Chicagoan Chance the Rapper recorded his first mixtape, 10 Day, when he was on suspension from school; his second, Acid Rap, earned him features on records by everyone from Lil Wayne to Justin Bieber to Skrillex to James Blake.

Why You Can't Miss Him: If Outkast's Friday night headlining set is a reminder of where hip-hop was willing to go 15 years ago, Chance's Sunday performance will demonstrate where it's willing to go today. And while the younger artist might not have the on-stage experience of his forbears, he puts on a good enough show that, as he recently told Rolling Stone, he "might not ever drop a for-sale project" and "just make my money touring."

omara bombino

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Who: Hailing from Agadez, Niger, singer-guitarist Omara "Bombino" Moctar is a youngish master of the Tuareg desert blues known as assouf.

Why You Can't Miss Him: Bombino is a guitar-slinging standout among the growing coterie of Tuareg acts like Tinariwen and Tamikrest. Last year's Dan Auerbach-produced Nomad offered a relatively restrained taste of Bombino's onstage magic, but anyone who's heard the 13-minute live version of "Tigrawahi Tikma" ("Bring Us Together"), or seen him on a stage, knows just how deeply Bombino plunges into assouf's hypnotic embrace.

Win Butler Arcade Fire

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Arcade Fire

Who: The 2010 winners of the Album of the Year Grammy back for more critical acclaim. Arcade Fire have picked up James Murphy to produce last year's Reflektor, a record that augments the group's sound with dance-influenced elements like thicker bass lines and Salsoul-esque congas.

Why You Can't Miss Them: They promoted Reflektor with a series of smaller gigs – "The idea was to play these like they were our first shows ever," Win Butler told Rolling Stone. But Coachella marks their return to U.S. festivals. Arcade Fire have been traveling Latin America playing fests like Vive Latino and Lollapalooza, so their live set should, once again, be Coachella-ready. Expect the rhythms of new tracks like "Reflektor" and "You Already Know" to provide the perfect counterbalance to the more serious anthems that they've been playing since day one.

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