Apr 7, 200807:02 PMThe Life
Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival makes Coachella Valley home in Indio, California
Trade the cowboy boots for flip-flops — keep the hat, because it's sure to be sunny — and revel at Stagecoach in Indio, California.
The event touted as California’s Country Music Festival returns to the Coachella Valley on May 2-4 for its second year at the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio.
Stagecoach added a third day, showcasing seasoned and recently reunited musicians and even an American Idol winner. The festival offers all things country. The music’s diversity and increasing popularity have widened the audience and made Stagecoach a hit.
Plan to hear mainstream country, bluegrass, folk, roots rock, and alt-country. Expect to see the legendary Eagles, mother-daughter duo The Judds, country music chart-topper Tim McGraw, pop-country trio Rascal Flatts, and Idol-turned-Grammy-winning-artist Carrie Underwood.
Headlining Friday night, the Eagles — fresh off a European tour — make Indio their first stop back in the United States. Fans of the band will surely be awaiting a rendition of “How Long,” this year’s Grammy winner for Best Country Song Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. The song is off the Long Road Out of Eden album, released last year. It is the Eagles’ first full studio album release in 28 years. And there’s really no better venue for the classic “Hotel California.” John Fogerty and Trisha Yearwood also top the first night’s lineup.
Saturday night headliners Rascal Flatts and The Judds will surely bring fans out in massive numbers.Top-selling artists of 2006, among all musical genres, the Flatts blend pop and country in a way that continually adds to the country music trio’s mass appeal.
One of the most popular music duos of the 1980s, Naomi Judd and her daughter, Wynonna, reunite at Stagecoach after saying goodbye to fans during their 1991 farewell tour “Love Can Build a Bridge.” This is the pair’s only U.S. performance scheduled for this year.
Though the festival nears its end on Sunday, the caliber of country music greats continues. Headliners Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood share top billing with performers Big & Rich, “Redneck Woman” Gretchen Wilson, and “American Man” Trace Adkins. The 25-year-old Underwood, who has said she probably would have walked away from her music career had she not won American Idol, will be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry only days after her performance at Stagecoach.
The 50-plus music acts will grace four stages named in keeping with the country theme: Mane, Palomino, Appaloosa, and Mustang. General admission tickets allow fans to roam from stage to stage. Shaded areas are provided for moments of rest or to grab a bite to eat.
Although jampacked with country favorites and ensembles, the festival offers much more than music. Socializing and meeting fellow country-music lovers from near and far contributed to its debut success, with a crowd of 55,000.
Family-friendly, with children 14 and under admitted free, the event caters to the young ones with its Half-Pint Hootenanny kids’ activity area. There’s plenty to keep fans of all ages and interests busy all day — all weekend, even. Take a hayride, learn how to lasso and rope, and view the collections of country-music art memorabilia or purchase your own cowboy gear and artwork. If you’re feeling really daring, jump on the mechanical bull and ride ’em cowboy.
Dance to your favorite country tunes and make new friends while surrounded by the picturesque mountains of the Coachella Valley. Whatever you do, there’s a good chance you may be spouting the words of festival headliner McGraw: “I like it. I love it. I want some more of it.”
See you on the polo fields!
Photographs: Courtesy Stagecoach Festival; crowd shot, Jay Jorgensen
Friday, May 2
Glen Campbell & Family
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Sons of the San Joaquin
Saturday, May 3
Cross Canadian Ragweed
The Dan Tyminski Band
Riders in the Sky
Sunday, May 4
Big & Rich
Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys
Halfway to Hazard
Michael Martin Murphey
Wylie & The Wild West
Billy Joe Shaver
Carolina Chocolate Drops