How big was Coachella’s return? At least 100,000 strong for Harry Styles, who performed a headlining set on Friday night, sources reveal. Another 20,000-plus took in acts on secondary stages, like the Sahara tent. The festival’s official capacity is 125,000 and was considered a sell-out, although with an event that size, the figures will fluctuate, especially considering the number of people who may have tested positive for COVID-19 and canceled plans to attend — many noted affordable three-day passes were readily available on the secondary market in the run-up to the fest, much of which was live streamed on YouTube.
A rep for Coachella promoter Goldenvoice did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment on Wednesday, and declined to give out attendance numbers earlier in the week.
While much of Styles’ set was familiar to those who caught the Love on Tour trek he took across North America over the past few months, he used the opportunity to ramp up the rock god persona to new heights throughout his 90-minute set. Styles also included some surprises during his Coachella debut: Shania Twain joined in for a duet on her own hits “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “Still the One,” and he debuted two new songs, presumably titled “Boyfriends” and “Late Night Talking.”
Styles’ latest single, “As It Was,” also saw its first live performance, after which it was added to the rotation of influential Los Angeles radio station Alt 98.7, proving it clearly made an impression on higher-ups at the iHeartMedia property.
Speaking of powerful executives, spotted in the front rows for Styles’ set were none other than Apple CEO Tim Cook and SVP of services Eddy Cue, in addition to faithful fan James Corden.
No word yet on attendance figures for Saturday night headliner Billie Eilish or Sunday’s mash-up of Swedish House Mafia and the Weeknd. Coachella takes a second bow this coming weekend.
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