Frank Ocean’s Coachella Performance Imploded — So What Happened?

Frank Ocean Coachella performance what happened
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Frank Ocean Coachella performance what happened
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Photo Credit: Kim Erlandsen, NRK P3 / CC by 2.0

Frank Ocean’s Coachella 2023 set was a disaster, starting an hour late and ending early. So what happened to make the set implode? 

Rumors before the performance suggested that Frank Ocean would release new music at Coachella. Fans have been hoping for new music since his 2016 album, Blonde. What they got was a disaster that may have strained the rapper’s relationship with AEG-owned Goldenvoice — the festival’s organizer.

Every single part of Coachella was supposed to be available to live stream on one of six YouTube channels — but Frank Ocean’s performance wasn’t. The absence speaks volumes on the lackluster show.

The set started an hour late, eating into the curfew for the venue. The first five minutes of the set appeared to show people walking in a circle. When Frank Ocean finally appears, he starts with “Novacane,” but he can barely be seen over the giant video screens and people walking around him.

So what happened? Is this the set Frank Ocean planned for his Coachella 2023 performance? Not according to ‘sources’ cited by Festive Owl. 

“The stage production was supposed to (and did) contain an ice rink that was constructed and ready to go,” the source begins. “Frank decided at the last minute that he no longer wanted it at all. All of the people walking around him at the start of the performance were actually ice skaters, had been practicing for weeks, and were supposed to be skating as part of the production.”

“Coachella had to deconstruct the approved stage (that had been signed off on months in advance) + melt the entire ice rink and then set it up how Frank decided today with no warning. Which is what you ended up seeing, and caused the hour-long delay.”

“This all happened when doors had already open for Sunday, and people were securing their spots to see him. If the last minute changes weren’t made he wouldn’t have performed at all—leaving the festival without a closing headliner.”

“Frank also personally pulled the plug at the last second on the live stream which left a very sour taste in many inside Coachella mouths. Ultimately, and I quote—’It just didn’t seem like he wanted to be there but was obligated to be. Everything (including him) fell apart at the last minute. Don’t expect to see any coverage from the festival about the set. Something that is unprecedented in the history of Coachella. The relationship is not in a good place right now.'”