It’s hard to believe that ten years of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival have come and gone…myself and over 90,000 other country music fans (I swear it gets bigger and bigger each year) from all over the US made their way out to Indio, CA looking for one hell of a good time.
And the line-up for Stagecoach this year was is anything short of epic…Eric Church, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan, Chris Young, The Band Perry, Little Big Town, Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Joe Nichols, Eric Paslay, A Thousand Horses, John Fogerty, Emmylou Harris, The Doobie Brothers, Old Dominion and Chris Stapleton just to name a few…
Country music is all about good times,” declared a deejay from one Southland radio station over the weekend in regards to the annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival.
Day 1-Friday Night Lights!
Sharing the same Indio, California venue and huge audience numbers, Coachella is to rock music to what Stagecoach is to country music…Eric Church, Emmylou Harris, Eric Paslay, Drake White and the Big Fire, Aubrie Sellers, Jana Kramer and Marty Stuart were just a few of the names who played Friday night, April 29th for a sold-out crowd.
The biggest highlight of the night was a surprise guest appearance from Snoop Dogg during Sam Hunt’s set, along with Bebe Rexha and G-Eazy, electrifying Hunt’s “House Party.”
Chris Young also had a surprise guest (which we were all secrectly hoping for), Cassadee Pope came out and joined him for their No. 1 hit “Think Of You”. Eric Church was the perfect ending to the first night of the festival…stating that the first time he was on the line up he played the 2:00 pm slot. Oh how times have changed…
Day 2-Small Town Saturday Night
Carrie Underwood headlined the all star line up Saturday night at the 2016 Stagecoach Music Festival proving she is a forced to be reckoned with…she may be small but she is powerful! She performed several songs from her latest album, “Storyteller,” including her set opener, “Renegade Runaway,” “Dirty Laundry,” “Church Bells,” the love song, “Heartbeat” and a boot-stompin’, “Choctaw County Affair,” during which Underwood went crazy on harmonica!
Preceding Carrie was The Band Perry, showing up for their 3rd year at the festival. Kimberly Perry and her brothers, Neil and Reid, have definitely stepped up their game performance-wise and gave the audience a high energy set. Thebrother sister trio played some of their new music for the crowd although they were a little more “pop” than country, they still got everyone movin’.
Chris Stapleton was the big draw Saturday and even though the wind knocked off his signature cowboy hat…he powered through with his hit “Nobody to Blame.” Morgane, his wife and back-up singer, gently swept his hair out of his face as he continued to jam on his guitar.
Joe Nichols also put on a great set on the Mane Stage with suiting hits like “Sunny and 75,” “Yeah,” “Gimmie That Girl,” “Brokenheartsville,” and “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” He may have lost some of the crowd to John Fogerty was cranking out some serious CCR over on the Palomino stage.
Day 3-Sunday Funday
The Stagecoach Music Festival ended on a major high note Sunday night…Luke Bryan headlined the last of the three days jam packed with Country and Americana music at the Empire Polo Club. Set against a beautiful desert backdrop, Bryan’s stage was warmed up by the likes of Little Big Town, A Thousand Horses, the Doobie Brothers, RaeLynn and Old Dominion.
For those who came to “kick the dust up”, Bryan came prepared with a set list of feel-good hits from his 2007 breakthrough hit, “All My Friends Say,” and his 2013’s party anthem, “Crash My Party” and his most recent romantic duet with Karen Fairchild, “Kill the Lights.”
Stagecoach was not lacking in the area of musical tributes to one of country’s greatest singers and songwriters, Merle Haggard. Eric Church, unquestionably included his 2006, “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag,” as well as “Sing Me Back Home” from Crowell and Mo Pitney taking it back to the original, “I Met Merle Haggard Today.” The Malpass Brothers played “Workin’ Man Blues” and Dale Watson brought, “Here in Frisco” among a few others.
There were also a couple tributes to the iconic Dolly Parton…both Carrie Underwood and RaeLynn thanking Dolly for her inspiration to their music.
With the 10th Annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival behind us, we can only hope in anticipation what next year has in store for us, but I’m not really sure how they are going to top this one. Always extraordinary and always fun, it’s safe to say I will be attending this festival as long as the good Lord lets me.
Set aside the rules and regulations and placing your main focus on the music, this venue the perfect place to host the best artists in country music. The experience as a whole is a truly positive one… and I’m really not complaining about the fact that I had to share the venue (mostly the bathrooms and beer lines) with 90k other country music fans or the fact that we had to walk miles in and out of the venue.
There is always and adventure to be had at Stagecoach and that’s what makes it the most memorable. Can’t wait for 2017…let the countdown begin!!
Thank you Stagecoach!
For more information about Stagecoach Country Music Festival, please visit www.stagecoachfestival.com.