AP Dhillon Skips Second Coachella Weekend After Guitar-Smashing Controversy

Indian culture holds musical instruments in high regard, and the Indo-Canadian's attempts to defend his actions have spurred further critique

Photo via @ap.dhillxn on Instagram

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Apr 18, 2024

If you listen carefully, you can hear the faint sound of David Crosby rising from the ashes — and Phoebe Bridgers calling him a little bitch

As we all know, the first weekend of Coachella has happened, and what happens in the desert doesn't stay in the desert. Indo-Canadian singer/rapper AP Dhillon, one of the innovators leading the Punjabi wave sweeping the nation, performed at the festival and caused controversy by smashing an ESP LTD Kirk Hammett V guitar at the end of his set. He has since dropped out of the second weekend due to "scheduling conflicts."

Although Bridgers never heard the end of it that time she smashed her guitar on SNL, most of us can agree that it's a pretty common Western rock 'n' roll trope to go ham on an expensive axe for spectacle's sake. However, Indian culture holds musical instruments in high regard, prompting criticism from back home for the Gurdaspur, India-hailing Dhillon.

What made matters worse were the musician's attempts to defend his actions on Instagram. Posting a video of the guitar smash, many commenters couldn't help but point out how "cringe" the stunt was — or that Dhillon doesn't have one song where he needs to be doing all that. 

Dhillon captioned a carousel post with further images from the show — including the artist performing in front of a screen that read "JUSTICE FOR SIDHU MOOSE WALA," the Brampton-based Punjabi rapper shot and killed by unidentified assailants in 2022 — with the bold statement, "The media is controlled and I'm out of control." The final slide was a video of Kurt Cobain smashing a guitar.

As one commenter put it, "But Sidhu Moose Wala would have also respected the musical instruments, being an artist, if he was here to see this. So before making loose statements like 'media is controlled,' you better learn some good manners and values, buddy. God bless."

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