Country and Roots Music Comes to Southern California this weekend for Stagecoach


Country and Roots Music Comes to Southern California this weekend for Stagecoach

By Kim Grant

Now that the indie music festival Coachella has wrapped up, the Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA is getting a makeover to welcome the country cousin of the festival, Stagecoach.  The Stagecoach Festival is the only outdoor country music festival that gathers talent from the spectrum of mainstream country to well-known Americana, roots rock, bluegrass or country acts and relatively unknown artists.

Stagecoach is held over three days and this year the 8th annual festival takes place Friday, April 25th through Sunday, April 27th.  Founded in 2007 by Paul Tollett and presented by Goldenvoice Promotions, the festival has grown faster than its Coachella counterpart. The year 2012 marked its first sold-out show with 55,000 people in attendance and since then the 2013 and 2014 festivals have also sold out their passes.

MD_CoverIt could be argued that Stagecoach is an acid test for improving the country music format, with country and folk legacies Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, John Prine, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Brenda Lee performing along with up and coming acts that have been taking the Americana music world by storm; Jason Isbell, Sarah Jarosz, Holly Wiliams, JD McPherson, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Los Angeles’ very own, I See Hawks in LA.

Along with the music, the festival allows for on-site camping  for Recreational Vehicles and tents and offers food, beverages (including full bars) and merchandise for purchase.  The Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned the Stagecoach Invitational BBQ Championship in 2008 and continues to include teams from across the nation competing for the title of KCBS California championship.

For the first time this year, there is the addition of the air-conditioned and family friendly, Honky Tonk Dance Hall in the Terrace.  Curated by Karen Rappaport McHugh of Muddy Girls Productions, the talent is pure California.  The stage will have Southern California’s DJ Staci leading you through swings, stomps and two steps alongside cloggers, square dancers and live music sets in between the dances.  The live music will include Los Angeles locals punk-Americana outfit Nocona, harmony-laden roots trio CALICO the band and the kid-friendly Earthworm Ensemble.  Mixed in will be California folk artist John Malcolm Penn and bluegrass and old-time musicians The Blacksmith Boys, who not only perform but also actually show you the art of blacksmithing.  And rumor has it the band I See Hawks in LA will pop by Sunday evening for a special guest set.

AXS TV will once again be broadcasting the show for those who weren’t able to purchase passes.  The host is Ashley Eicher and the broadcast will be shown Friday-Sunday 8:30 pm ET or 5:30 pm PT.  (Check the website for interviews and shows and re-airing times).  This year the broadcast will also include a 30-minute “Countdown to Stagecoach” pre-show, which will air on all three nights with a behind-the-scenes look for the audience.

Friday’s lineup is capped by Eric Church and includes Brantley Gilbert, Easton Corbin, Loretta Lynn, Thomas Rhett, Shelby Lynne, Eric Paslay, Jon Pardi, Corey Smith, Katey Sagal and the Forest Rangers, The Wailin’ Jennys, Shakey Graves, The Black Lillies, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, Lindsay Ell, JD McPherson, Sarah Jarosz, The Howlin’ Brothers, Hannah and Talbot, Radney Foster’s Bluegrass Trio and the Wild Feathers.

Saturday’s lineup is capped by Jason Aldean and also includes Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Nettles, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Crystal Gayle, Tyler Farr, Ashley Monroe, Don McLean, John Conlee, Trampled by Turtles, Daniel Bradbery, Holly Williams, Dan + Shay, Jason Isbell, Hooray for the Riff Raff, Spirit Family Reunion, Sara Haze, Whiskey Shivers, The Seldom Scene, Willy Watson and Corb Lund.

Sunday’s lineup is capped by Luke Bryan and will also feature Florida Georgia Line, Lee Brice, John Prine, Dustin Lynch, Chris Cagle, Michael Nesmith, Asleep at the Wheel, Charlie Worsham, Brenda Lee, Duane Eddy, Shovels and Rope, Sleepyman Banjo Boys, Kelleigh Bannen, Johnny Fritz, The Railers, Susanna Hoffs, I See Hawks in L.A. and Shelly Colvin

Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51 92201 Indio, CA, US
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