Every April, the Empire Polo Club in Indio transforms into a music spot hotter than New York City and Los Angeles combined.
For two weekends, celebrities and millennials flock to the field for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to see the likes of Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar and the latest up-and-coming artists.
After that wraps up, the Stagecoach Country Music Festival, which kicked off its 11th year Friday, April 28, brings the biggest and best of country music to the Coachella Valley.
While both festivals bring in tens of thousands of people, the aesthetics of the two events are quite a bit different. This is how Stagecoach compares to Coachella.
1. The music
Stagecoach, which dubs itself California’s Country Music Festival, doesn’t stray from the genre on its largest stage. Heavy hitters of country Dierks Bentley, Shania Twain and Kenny Chesney top the bill this year and the Mane Stage, as it’s known at Stagecoach, hosts plenty of other budding and established Nashville stars.
At Coachella, the main stage featured pop icon Lady Gaga, rapper Lamar and legacy rock act Radiohead, as well as electronic dance music producers, alternative pop songstress Lorde and the moody Bon Iver.
Stagecoach’s eclectic side stages will feature everyone from country legend Willie Nelson to British invasion psych rockers the Zombies to a bluegrass version of The Who’s “Tommy” courtesy of the HillBenders.
Coachella’s side stages offer variety from an EDM-heavy lineup in the Sahara Tent, Latino-influenced and punk acts in the new Sonora Tent and deep house in the Yuma Tent.
However, one thing both events have in common is how the festivals have nurtured talent from up-and-comers to headliner status. In 2017, both Bentley and Kendrick Lamar topped the bills of the festivals where they had played as early afternoon main stage acts years ago.
Country music fans stand near the big boots during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday, April.28, 2017. FRANK BELLINO, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Country music fans make their way in to the Stagecoach Country Music Festival with their lawn chairs at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday, April.28, 2017. FRANK BELLINO, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Country music fan Kelly Swift, 44, from Lake Elsinore watches Dyaln Scott perform on the mane stage during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday, April.28, 2017. FRANK BELLINO, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Country music fans setup their lawn chairs near the on the mane stage during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday, April.28, 2017. FRANK BELLINO, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Country music fans walk by one of the big boots during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday, April.28, 2017. FRANK BELLINO, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
2. The size
Coachella expanded big-time for 2017, adding more attendees, more acreage and a new stage.
For Stagecoach, the Empire Polo Club has trimmed back to its usual grounds, with the three stages much closer together than Coachella’s seven.
Stagecoach also has a very different layout. There are VIP standing and reserved seating areas at the event, and the VIP standing area has a wooden floor for dancing. And since fans in general admission are allowed to bring in low-back chairs, they spread across the field in an endless sea of seats after running in to claim their territory. Many won’t leave those Mane Stage spots, whereas Coachella fans, who aren’t allowed to bring in chairs, wander between stages in an ebb and flow of musical humanity.
3. Festival style
Coachella is practically a walking runway, with sun-kissed desert denizens strutting the polo fields like a catwalk, wearing everything from body glitter and crocheted tops to out-of-this-world colorful fashions.
At Stagecoach, it’s cowboy boots, cowboy hats and anything with an American flag on it.
Both festivals have fans showing off plenty of skin (pasties at Coachella and Daisy Dukes at Stagecoach) and there’s another similarity between the two: flower crowns.
The floral headgear that became so popular at Coachella years ago and inspired a Snapchat filter has gained enough traction at Stagecoach that there’s a booth selling them on the field.
4. The art
Stagecoach’s art is folksy, with oversized rocking chairs and cowboy boots spread throughout the grounds. The popular tractor exhibit is back again, too.
Coachella’s towering art changes from year to year and tends to be more colorful. However, one installation from Coachella, the towering “Crown Ether” treehouse, is still in the middle of the grounds.
And at both festivals, the art provides perfect backdrops for social media profile photos.
5. The food
Do you like meat? What about more meat? Stagecoach is for the carnivore inside its fans, with the aroma of smoked meats wafting through the air. The annual barbecue competitions have become part of the festival’s culture. (Not to worry, there are still vegetarian and vegan options, too.)
There are a lot of fair-style foods at Stagecoach, too.
Coachella has gone high end with its culinary offerings in recent years, offering everything from Indio pop-up outposts of some of L.A.’s hottest restaurants to celebrity chef family-style dinners with Outstanding in the Field.
But, there is more than the usual pizza and chicken tenders crossover at the festivals this year – the popular Korean barbecue taco fusion Kogi BBQ had a booth at Coachella and has its actual food truck at Stagecoach. And for Stagecoach, it’s open to the public, not hidden in the VIP area.
- Live updates from Stagecoach 2017
- Photos of the bands and their fans on Friday at Stagecoach
- Ditch Stagecoach’s Mane Stage for Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis and these other 8 acts
- How to listen to Stagecoach 2017 online
- Here’s when Shania Twain, Dierks Bentley and all of the other performers go on stage
- Dierks Bentley’s fired up to headline day 1 of Stagecoach
- Shania Twain’s Stagecoach set will debut new songs from first album in 15 years
- Stagecoach 2017 isn’t Kenny Chesney’s first rodeo
- How the Stagecoach Country Music Festival honors legends and upstarts
Read more about 5 differences between the Stagecoach and Coachella festivals This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Irvine Shredding Service
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