Saddle up for a Weekend of Country at Stagecoach 2016
Growing from its humble beginnings as a modest two-day festival in 2007 with superstars Kenny Chesney and George Strait on the bill, Stagecoach Festival has grown at a faster pace than its sister festival Coachella with the 2012 festival’s 55,000 attendees marking its first sellout crowd. Now a three-day event held on the same Empire Polo Grounds as Coachella, Stagecoach will be taking over April 29 through May 1. This celebration of music has become the highest grossing festival centered on country music in the world. Whether the acts be mainstream or relatively unknown, the lineup ranges to include everything from folk, classic country, bluegrass, roots rock as well as alternative country, making the weekend a huge blur of laid back vibes.
Past lineups have featured mainstream giants like Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts, and 2016’s set of performers is just as impressive. This year’s concert can boast an equally exciting list of solo artists including Eric Church, Emmylou Harris, Sam Hunt, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton and Luke Bryan taking the stage alongside ensembles like Little Big Town, The Band Perry, The Doobie Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, country’s bad to the bone Billy Joe Shaver and rock legend John Fogerty. The weekend is set to be one for the books. One of the reasons Stagecoach has seen such exponential growth is because of the festival’s ability to bring together established and classic artists alongside more alternative performers who push the boundaries of the country genre varying the content and ensuring each year tops the last. One of the best summer music festivals in the nation, Stagecoach doesn’t hold back and neither will you once you arrive on the polo fields.
Aside from the hours of music, Stagecoach provides some of the best entertainment this side of the Mississippi! From air conditioned Nordstrom shopping to an almost 24-hour honky tonk dance hall, there is always something to do between sets. Try your skills out in a life-sized foosball competition, knock out a few rounds of pinball or twister or sing your heart out on the festival’s karaoke stage! Love food? In addition to the regular finger licking options available on the grounds, head to the Stagecoach BBQ contest, a Texas-style competition with the winner advancing to the World Championship in Kansas City and providing you with their blue ribbon spoils.
Now that you’ve settled into your new digs for the weekend, you’re going to need some sustenance to keep you going strong throughout the festival. Make Wilma & Frieda’s Cafe your pre-fest stop for an amazing breakfast or brunch. Their Marionberry French toast or chef’s biscuits and gravy can please even the pickiest of eaters.
Want to stick close by? Give the Ritz-Carlton’s top dining spot State Fare Bar & Kitchen a visit. The home of classic American cocktails and award-winning California wines, State Fare Bar is the ideal spot for a relaxed gathering and a light bite. Their innovative cocktail selection featuring fresh seasonal fruit juices and small batch spirits will keep you coming back for more. Or keep things casual at Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar. Located in the middle of the insanely beautiful Gardens on El Paseo shopping district, Tommy Bahama is the spot to collect yourself, have some classic American fare and sip on a Mai Tai before heading off to your next adventure. The casual dress code makes this a great spot to roll into following a day of hardcore festival activities. If you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated, look no further than Mastro’s Steakhouse. This elegant restaurant combines world class service with acclaimed cuisine and live entertainment to create an energetic atmosphere fit for a big night on the town.
Stagecoach provides a great excuse to eat, drink and be social and Palm Desert has some ideal bars to help you do just that. Start off with the visitor favorite, Eureka!. Open from 11-1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, Eureka! serves up delicious food, craft beer and artisan cocktails to help you get in the zone. Its contemporary yet rustic environment make it the perfect spot to catch a football game and go over the inevitable lineup conflicts you will be facing. Or you can get down with the locals at Neil’s Lounge, a classic dive bar complete with quintessential bar food, pool tables and a dance floor.
For the peak of relaxation, consider the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort your spa away from home. You enter along a palm-lined path through a lobby complete with a cascading waterfall and then to a spacious room with all the amenities. Explore the area and discover a desert oasis perched on a hillside with panoramic views of Palm Desert’s mountaintops and picturesque valley at The Ritz-CarltonRancho Mirage. The most luxurious option is also a short drive from the festival, making it not only elegant but convenient. Looking for something more intimate? The extravagant Chateau at Lake La Quinta with its bright contemporary suites may be for you. Situated on lake La Quinta and just 32 miles from Joshua Tree National Park, this hotel makes it easy to get out and explore the surrounding area. Panoramic lakefront views and two-person spa tubs and steam showers also offer a great excuse to stay in.