Coachella co-founder talks Kanye’s exit from the festival: “I think it was a good decision for him”

"When all these headliners changed, it was hard, I won’t lie," Paul Tollett said

Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett has spoken about Kanye West’s exit from the line-up for the 2022 edition of the Californian festival.

West had been booked to headline the double weekender in Indio, California, which took place earlier this month, but dropped out just days before the gates were due to open.

In a new interview with the LA Times, Tollett has shared his reaction to West pulling out of the bill. “I’m good with Kanye,” he said. “I Zoomed with him a couple days prior and I think it was a good decision for him.”


Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd replaced the rapper and the festival boss revealed that it was The Weeknd and his manager who had approached Coachella first. “Abel [Tesfaye, The Weeknd] and [manager] Sal called and said, ‘What do you need?’” he explained. “I said, ‘I actually don’t know yet. Right now I’m a little stunned with Kanye leaving. I’ve got to think what to do here.’”

Paul Tollett
Coachella boss Paul Tollett CREDIT: JC Olivera/Getty Images

West wasn’t the only headliner to drop out of Coachella’s original bill. Travis Scott and Rage Against The Machine were both intended to headline in 2020 but did not appear on the 2022 line-up. Scott’s set was axed following the Astroworld tragedy, while Rage Against The Machine pulled out for an undisclosed reason.

“When [Rage] pulled out, I let a day go by and didn’t think about it,” Tollett said. “I just let it sit there for a second. I figured people have been waiting forever for the lineup already, what’s another day? I came back kind of mellow and the Harry [Styles] thing worked out. We got a really good response on the poster reveal. People seemed to have been waiting a long time for some good news.”

He added: “When all these headliners changed, it was hard, I won’t lie. But it’s also just part of what you do. Don’t get upset. Just make a change, you know?”


Billie Eilish headlined the festival alongside Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd, and Harry Styles. Frank Ocean, also originally booked to headline in 2020, will top the bill with two other artists in 2023.

Coachella attendees shared their reactions to West dropping out of the 2022 line-up with NME as the first weekend of the festival kicked off. “I feel like he’s dealing with some demons and anyone who needs support, we should give them that grace,” Emma McCardell, a 26-year-old attendee from Seattle, Washington. “If people need space, let them have their space.”