The California music festival returns after a three-year hiatus with Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and Stromae

The famous Coachella music festival resumes on Friday, April 15th for the first time since 2019. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected in California for the occasion as cases of Covid-19 soar in the United States.

The huge event takes place over two three-day weekends and heralds the concerts of the summer. This year you can see Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and the Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia.

The 2020 edition of the festival had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and two years of chaotic cancellations, concert date and program changes followed. After a three-year hiatus, Coachella is seen as a test event for an industry still unstable after all the setbacks caused by the pandemic. Organizers said they would not ask for proof of vaccinations, masks or social distancing.

Held mostly outdoors, the festival welcomes about 125,000 daily enthusiasts from across the country and abroad, many of whom camp out or fill nearby hotels. Two Covid-19 screening sites will be available on site. Jose Arballo, a spokesman for local health authorities, said testing capacities were also being increased in the region.

While cases in the country have been falling sharply since January, their numbers are starting to rise again, averaging around 31,000 cases a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some universities have reinstated mask-wearing, but restrictions remain minimal in most parts of the country, including California.

Other big names at Coachella this year include Megan Thee Stallion, Phoebe Bridgers and Doja Cat. The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia were added to the list at the last minute after Kanye West withdrew. Travis Scott also quit performing after a fatal stampede during his Houston concert last year.

Other concerts planned include those by French L’Impératrice, superstar Stromae, Palestinian DJ Sama’ Abdulhadi and South African Black Coffee. As a last minute surprise, Arcade Fire is playing Friday night.

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