Frank Ocean’s Controversial Coachella


Nick Ashak (11th), Reporter

For people who take music seriously, the annual Coachella event every year is a must-see/watch. For an artist with 26.4M monthly listeners despite not dropping an official album since 2016, Frank Ocean announced he was making his return to the music industry and headlining the event this year. April 16, 2023, was the big day for millions of people in the world as that would be the day he would make his return. 


The fans were shocked at his performance, just not in the way they waited years to be.


Ticket sales for the event began on January 16, 2023, and were very limited and expensive, starting at about 500 dollars and even going into the $1000 range if you wanted V.I.P access/good seating. Coachella holds around 125,000 people at the event, so not everyone who wanted to go could be able to if they could even afford it. Due to the demand of the event, Coachella usually holds livestreams of the performances on YouTube so fans can enjoy the experience from home and see their favorite artists perform. 


The day started and people who couldn’t go were getting ready to watch Ocean’s performance but it was announced that his performance would not be livestreamed. Every other performance was available to watch but for an undisclosed reason it would not be on air. This bothered plenty of people so the only way to watch his performance without being there was hoping someone would somehow be able to live stream it, which was somehow the method thousands of people did.


At around 10 PM, an Instagram user @morgandoesntcare took the risk and attempted to instagram live stream this performance and somehow got to pull it off. Word got around and thousands upon thousands of people gathered at 10 when Ocean was supposed to come on stage to view this. However, he was extremely late and annoying everybody by arriving over an hour late. Me staying up on a school night watching a really laggy and slow live stream just to see one person, I can also say it was really annoying waiting forever.


The actual performance itself was not even considered good as well. Many people pointed out Ocean’s lack of effort and even lip syncing multiple times and the memes that Ocean does not like his fans definitely felt like a reality. The worst part is less than an hour later, he was kicked out mid performance due to Coachella’s curfew. 


Everybody who was bummed out about this figured they could watch his performance the next week and things would be more prepared and better for him. Rumors came out that he was late because he had a whole idea for the stage to be completely remade at the last minute after having weeks to decide, which is also very unpleasant. However, a few days later Ocean dropped out of Coachella completely, citing a leg injury he had ruined his whole idea of a stage (ice-skating rink stage he had prepared) and that he was advised not to be doing heavy activity. Despite the physical issues, his mental performances seemed like he was really not interested in the event, his brother had also passed away in 2020 which is still a recovery process, but even singing the actual songs it just felt like he did not want to be there, and recent news that he has given a cease and desist to people who uploaded his performance on YouTube makes it seem like he is very self centered and has no care for his fans. 


I interviewed a friend who was just as excited as everyone else was about Ocean’s potential performance, my friend Danny, and he had the same takes as I did. We both watched his performance on livestream together and he agrees that Ocean felt sluggish and unmotivated, but we both seemed to understand the issues behind the scenes, and he agrees that Ocean dropping out of the whole performance was very predictable.


Overall, Ocean is a very talented artist and I and many others hope for new updates/content throughout his career, and I wish the best for him due to the issues he has going on, and despite the extreme controversy he is getting, you always have to understand not everything is perfect.