Frank Ocean won’t be returning to the Coachella stage this weekend after canceling his headlining set.
The R&B star announced on Thursday (April 19) that he’s been forced to back out of his scheduled performance at the Indio, California festival this Sunday (April 23) due to an injury. Blink-182 have already been lined up as his replacement.
“It was chaotic,” the Blonde crooner said of his aforementioned set in a statement. “There is some beauty in chaos. It isn’t what I intended to show but I did enjoy being out there and I’ll see you soon.”
Frank Ocean’s damaged leg, which was initially said to be a “serious ankle injury,” first came to light earlier this week. He reportedly hurt himself while riding a bike around the Coachella festival grounds just days before his big performance.
His injuries perhaps help to explain the somewhat disorganized and disappointing set he delivered last Sunday (April 16). After gracing the stage almost an hour late, Frank dedicated roughly a quarter of his 80-minute set to a “rave mix” from DJ Crystallmess and later lip-synced some of his own songs, including “Nikes” and “Nights.”
The performance, which fans at home were expecting to livestream on YouTube until the broadcast was mysteriously pulled at the last minute, ended on an abrupt and anticlimactic note, with Frank telling the crowd: “Guys, I’m being told it’s curfew, so that’s the end of the show. Thank you so much.”
Coachella were reportedly fined $117,000 for breaking curfew violations by at least 20 minutes each night of the first weekend.
According to TMZ, Frank Ocean’s set was supposed to feature an ice rink and over 100 hockey players and figure skaters, who had spent weeks rehearsing for the performance. But when they arrived at Coachella on Sunday, they were told the skating routine had been scrapped.
Instead, some of the hockey players and skaters joined Frank on stage as background dancers (or more accurately, walkers) and were draped in custom Prada.
“It’s a nightmare,” one of the hockey players, Dan Powers, said of the last-minute change of plans on his Empty Netters podcast. “We sit at this hotel and we run into the figure skaters — these Olympic figure skaters, mind you. And they have a disgruntled look on their faces, and they casually mention to us that they just got a phone call and they’ve been cut from the show.”
“The one thing that made me genuinely sad [after] spending some time with [Frank Ocean] over the last several weeks: He really cares about the production,” Dan’s brother, Chris, added. “He had a very clear vision, and even though that vision changed a lot, he was always on us, helping us, making sure everyone hit what he was picturing in his mind.”
Despite his onstage shortcomings, Frank Ocean did excite fans by hinting that he has a new album in the works.
“It’s been so long. Everybody talks about how long it’s been. ‘It’s been so long, it’s been so long.’ But I have missed you,” he told the crowd during a brief intermission. “I want to talk about why I’m here, because it’s not because of a new album. Not that there’s not a new album… but there’s not right now.”
He also touched on the tragic death of his younger brother Ryan Breaux, who was killed at the tender age of 18 in a car accident in 2020.
“These last couple years, my life changed so much,” he said. “My brother and I, we came to this festival a lot, and I feel like I was dragged out here half the time because I hated the dust out here. I always left with a respiratory infection or whatever, so I would avoid coming, but I would always end up here.
“One of my fondest memories was watching Rae Sremmurd on — I don’t know what that stage is called — watching Rae Sremmurd with my brother and Travis [Bennett]. We were just dancing in that tent to their music… I know he would’ve been so excited to be here with all of us, and I want to say thank you for the support and the ears and the love over all this time.”