Indio (United States) (AFP) – The Coachella music festival is famous for its surprises, and the latest edition included one of the more uncommon — an appearance, although remotely, of a presidential candidate.
Senator Bernie Sanders showed up late Saturday on the screen of the main stage in the California desert of the leading US music festival, bringing cheers to the mostly young crowd — the left-wing candidate’s main support base.
Sanders was offering a brief introduction to the set by Run the Jewels, a project of Atlanta rapper Killer Mike who is a prominent supporter of the candidate.
The senator, who has defied predictions by waging a tough challenge to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, said that Killer Mike’s “depth of passion — his knowledge and commitment to community — is an inspiration to me and I value his friendship immensely.”
Sanders backers are hoping to use Coachella, which brings 180,000 people over two consecutive weekends, to register voters and otherwise rally support.
Sanders supporters waved signs and pictures, including one of the senator cuddling a kitten, as Run the Jewels put on a set that included “Early,” a powerful critique of police brutality.
Fellow rapper Ice Cube later performed separately to a packed Coachella crowd, inviting the revelers to all raise their middle fingers in the air as he performed the rock song “Fuck tha Police.”
Ice Cube’s former group N.W.A. sent shockwaves through much of white America when it released the song in 1988 and the rapper suggested that an officer at Coachella asked him not to play it, leading to his defiance.
Ice Cube during his set brought out fellow Los Angeles-area rapper Snoop Dogg as well as fellow N.W.A. members DJ Yella and MC Ren.
Notably absent was N.W.A. member Dr. Dre, who has gone on to become a multimillionaire Apple executive. He appeared with his bandmates for an induction this month into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Dr. Dre has hesitated to join reunion performances.
Guns N’ Roses, the headliner Saturday at Coachella amid a reunion between singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash, invited onto stage AC/DC guitarist Angus Young for his Australian band’s hit “Whole Lotta Rosie.”
The appearance came hours after AC/DC announced that Rose would become the band’s singer, at least temporarily, after frontman Brian Johnson developed hearing problems.
The British electronic duo Disclosure brought out two prominent guests, Sam Smith and Lorde, who won Grammys for their respective breakthrough songs “Stay With Me” and “Royals.”