Coachella 2012: Five questions going into this weekend

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Image Credit: C Flanigan/FilmMagic.com

It’s April, and that means that it’s time to head to the desert for this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (or simply Coachella, if you’re nasty). This year’s festival takes place over two separate weekends. Starting today, the lineup will run through Sunday, and then next Friday (April 20), the same lineup will do it again.

This year’s top-liners include Radiohead, the Black Keys, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, Bon Iver, At the Drive-In, Florence + the Machine, Pulp, and a ton of dance-music folk like Swedish House Mafia and AVICII. If you’re headed out to the desert or are just curious about the first big event of the summer festival season, here are the five questions that most need answering.

Is Eminem going to crash another party like he did at SXSW?
Slim Shady has been keeping himself busy, showing up to perform with 50 Cent at South By Southwest, plugging the new album from Slaughterhouse, and dropping a verse on the best song on the new Obie Trice album. There are also indications that he’ll drop in on the Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg set that will close out Sunday night’s festivities. Warren G (who will also be on stage with Dre & Snoop) noted in a tweet that Em would be a part of the show, along with Death Row Records survivor Daz Dillinger. Warren’s publicist issued a statement denying it, and the tweet was deleted, but Em’s appearance in Austin was also a poorly kept secret, so it won’t be surprising if it’s 1999 all over again.

Will Radiohead premiere any new songs?
Britain’s arena-art-rock exports are in the midst of a U.S. tour, and they’ve been dropping a handful of new tunes into the mix. The Coachella stage is as good a place as any to add another new entry alongside “Identikit,” “Skirting on the Surface,” and “Cut a Hole.” The band has also been resurrecting old songs — will this be the show that sees the return of “Polyethylene”?

What undercard band will have its big breakout?
We’re curious about the eccentric Weeknd, as well as the like-minded Frank Ocean. Azealia Banks is one big performance away from taking that next step; same goes for fellow New York rapper A$AP Rocky. In the rock world, the awesome We Were Promised Jetpacks always seem right on the cusp of breaking out, the Growlers have a great album that goes over huge live, and Gary Clark Jr. is going to pick up a lot of steam if he keeps stealing festivals (as he did at SXSW).

Will the weather hold out?
You would think that the only weather issues a festival in the middle of the desert would have would be heat related, but that’s not the case this weekend. Saturday and Sunday look sunny, mild, and clear, but Friday promises rain and wind. Next weekend’s weather, however, is much more Coachella-like: Temperatures promise to stay in the upper 90s for the duration of the second weekend.

Where can I get updates?
EW will be on the scene this weekend, so stay tuned for updates throughout the next 72 hours about the best shows, weirdest spectacles, and biggest busts.

Read more on EW.com:
Coachella 2012 — Are you excited?
SXSW: Best Music Moments of the Fest
Radiohead premiering new songs on tour: Hear ‘Identikit,’ ‘Cut a Hole,’ and ‘Skirting on the Surface’ here

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