For some time now, Austin’s South by Southwest has been the festival where bands big and small alike make newsworthy announcements, debut reformations, tease long-awaited releases, and otherwise create waves and headlines.

But now that the lineup for this year’s Coachella Music and Arts festival in Indio, Calif., has been announced, it’s starting to look like SXSW might have a worthy challenger out west.

There are reunions — Swedish hardcore band Refused,Texas rockers At the Drive-In, and Mike Watt’s post-Minutemen band fIREHOSE — and it was even rumored that a reunited Black Sabbath would appear as well, though guitarist Tony Iommi’s cancer diagnosis has sadly ruled that out.

Also on board: Sleeping (indie) giants like the Shins, Pulp, and Jeff Mangum, and third-day headliners Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, which hints that a certain headphones salesman might finally release rap’s Chinese Democracy, his long-gestasting Detox, in 2012.

And then there’s the fact that this Coachella will be the first to take place over two consecutive weekends, leaving open the opportunity for a full week’s worth of “secret” club shows, industry parties, label showcases, and general brand-sponsored mayhem that should be familiar to any seasoned SXSWer.

Of course, SXSW has yet to announce its full 2012 lineup, but it’ll have a hard time beating the hype surrounding Coachella this year. What do you guys think — do you find this year’s Coachella more exciting than usual?


Black Sabbath
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