The Frank Ocean Coachella Controversy: An Explainer

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Frank Ocean’s performance at Coachella 2023 was highly anticipated by fans who were excited to see him perform after six years. However, his performance was met with disappointment and controversy. Fans were left feeling “scammed” after Ocean’s late start and last-minute changes of plan. Read on below for an explainer of the Frank Ocean Coachella controversy.

Who is Frank Ocean?

Frank Ocean is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. He has been one of the most interesting figures in contemporary music since his early-2010s arrival, and fans have always loved him for his unpredictable nature and mysterious persona.

This year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival announced that it would be featuring Frank Ocean as a headliner, a major selling point for the festival. This was Ocean’s first live performance in over six years, and he hasn’t released an album since 2016’s Blonde.

What went wrong with Ocean’s Coachella performance?

Frank Ocean fans flocked to Coachella, excited to finally see him perform again, but were let down by a messy and disorganized performance. Ocean’s set started a full 57 minutes after it was supposed to and continued on for 25 minutes after the festival was supposed to end for the night. This landed Coachella a fine of $117,000 from the city of Indio, California for breaking curfew.

The planning and choreography on stage weren’t any better, and fans were frustrated by a set that mostly obscured Ocean and his musicians from view. The set had frequent pauses between songs, with Ocean apparently unaware of the plan for the evening and asking repeatedly which song was next.

How did fans react to the performance?

Fans were overall disappointed in the performance, and some slammed Ocean for “bombing.” People were critical of him for playing prerecorded music and not even singing many of his songs live, as well as for being late to start the performance and abruptly ending it due to curfew.

Fans were also disappointed that Ocean apparently sang into a turned-off mic in several of the songs. This is certainly not how many people expected his first live performance in years to go.

How did the rest of Coachella go?

Frank Ocean’s performance was obviously a major disappointment for many festival-goers, but how did the rest of Coachella go? The festival featured a packed lineup full of major stars seeking to make their set the biggest event of the festival. Artists seemed to be going all out with huge sets and surprise appearances from all sorts of musicians, including Post Malone and the Weeknd.

Rock band Blink-182, rapper Pusha T, and singer Bad Bunny all had sets that were hailed as some of the best of the festival. As for Frank Ocean, he ended up canceling his second Coachella set, which was supposed to be the headliner for Sunday of the second week. After their surprise performance in the first week of the festival, Blink-182 was chosen to replace Ocean for the Sunday night performance.

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