5. Kings of Leon vs. Robyn, 9:55 p.m.-11:40 p.m., Friday night
This one comes down to mood: If you feel like dancing or just an escape from the main stage crowd, obviously Robyn is the way to go. If you want to hear clean-cut Southern rock with a U2 polish, then the Kings' headlining set has your name written all over it. If you're craving both, then you're screwed. You'll face a similar situation earlier in the night when the synth group Cut Copy faces off against rock duo the Black Keys on opposite stages.
Recommendation: Robyn. Body Talk > Come Around Sundown. If you absolutely need to get your rock on, hit Cut Copy then Kings.
4. Ramadanman vs. Chase & Status vs. Ratatat, 8:25 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday night
Even the smaller Coachella stages pose scheduling conflicts as three beacons in the electronic music field all play simultaneously across Coachella's Mojave, Sahara, and Oasis stages. The easy answer here is "Just go see the Strokes on the main stage at the same time, silly!" but if you prefer your music with more drum + bass than guitar, this is a tough one.
Recommendation: Chase & Status may have produced Rihanna's Rated R, but we'll give our vote to Ramadanman here. We mean, have you heard his remix of Jamie Woon's "Night Air"?
3. Ms. Lauryn Hill vs. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti vs. The Pains of Being Pure of Heart, 5:20 p.m.-6:55 p.m., Friday night
Two buzz indie bands unfairly stacked up against the Halley's Comet of R&B singers. While watching Hill seems like a no-brainer, her inability to arrive on time to performances puts fans in jeopardy of missing two great gigs while they wait for the diva to take the stage.
Recommendation: Definitely check out the Pains of Being Pure of Heart on the Mojave stage. That set ends at 6:05 p.m., which is Hill's starting time on the main stage. You could casually walk over, maybe even stop and get some food, use the facilities, etc. and by the time you get there, Hill might be ready to perform. Maybe.
2. Kanye West vs. beating the traffic, 10:30 p.m.-festival ends, Sunday night
Usually festival organizers schedule their weakest headliner on the last night of the fest to maybe tempt fans to ditch early and avoid the traffic jams. This year, Coachella did the exact opposite by scheduling their best headliner to close the festival. So, is hearing My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy live worth sitting in an unmoving car for 10 hours, slowly burning that pricey gasoline?
Recommendation: Duh, Kanye. We'd rather sit in a parked car for 10 hours satisfied we saw the performance than driving on an open road and kicking ourselves that we missed it.
1. Animal Collective vs. Big Audio Dynamite vs. Wire, 8:40 p.m.-10:55 p.m., Saturday night
This is just cruel. The two acts we most wanted to see at Coachella (AC and BAD) alongside one of the best punk bands still working. Wire will hit the Gobi stage first at 8:40 p.m., Big Audio Dynamite will overlap them on the Outdoor Stage at 9:05 p.m. and Animal Collective take the main stage at 9:45. If you're willing to miss the last 20 minutes of the Wire and BAD sets, you can hypothetically catch all must-see performances, but it comes at the cost of having a terrible view for all three.
Recommendation: As much as it pains us, we'd say catch Wire, then dash to Animal Collective, who have been debuting new music at recent shows. The Big Audio Dynamite reunion alone had us considering a flight to Indio, but they've since announced a U.S. tour, so you can catch them later on in the year in a less-confined venue.
Start your own internal debates with the full Coachella schedule.