The Cool Kid’s Guide to Stagecoach

Nab yourself a cowboy or cowgirl at three-day event

Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival brings artists with country leanings, folk foundations, and even alt-country superstars to the Empire Polo Grounds starting today through the weekend (April 26-28).

Stagecoach Country Music Festival

Growing up in Shreveport, La., I became immersed in the country music culture at a very young age.

I can remember friends like Lindsey Fertitta and Chris Pate, as well as my high school bus driver working feverishly to engage me in the world of Garth Brooks, Rick Trevino, and Billy Ray Cyrus. They were successful.

After all, it’s not everyday that you meet a black kid with indie rock leanings who can sing “Friends in Low Places” or “Achy Breaky Heart” from start to finish, without the least bit of irony in her voice. Thank you very much.

That’s why Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival is so cool. Artists with country leanings, folk foundations, and even alt-country superstars will converge on the Empire Polo Fields starting today through the weekend (April 26-28).

You’ll hear excellent tunes from Dierks Bentley, who is fantastic live. I saw him play a show at the Avalon in Hollywood with Cross Canadian Ragweed back in 2004. I don’t mean to brag, but backstage was a hoot and a holler, if I do say so myself. Catch him live April 26.

One-time pop superstar, Darius Rucker (at left, of Hootie and the Blowfish fame) has discovered his inner cowboy. Check out his headlining set April 28.

But it’s not just current chart-toppers who find favor at Stagecoach; this year’s lineup boasts a number of veteran performers that many music fans only know through biopics and pop culture lore. Grammy Award-winner Charley Pride will perform April 28. Also, expect to see Hank Williams Jr., and pop crooner Kenny Loggins hit the stage with his outstanding band, Blue Sky Riders.

Television fans have a lot of reason to rejoice this year. Many familiar faces from popular sitcoms and reality programs are also scheduled to perform. Hillary Scott – who has made a splash on the current season of “The Voice”, will take to the stage with Lady Antebellum and sing hits like “Our Kind of Love”.

“Married with Children” star Katey Sagal will return to singing with her band, The Forest Rangers. Remember when she used to sing backup for Bette Midler? And strong, silent type Trace Adkins, from “The Celebrity Apprentice” will excite the crowd with hits “You’re Gonna Miss This” and “Gone Fishin”.

If you’re heading into town for Stagecoach and need a little help spicing up your wardrobe, head over to Pony Express Western Wear (68535 E, Palm Canyon Dr.
Cathedral City) for sexy, classic country gear. You’ll love the selection of shirts, Ropers, Wranglers, hats, and more.

Or if new country is more your thing, look elegant in styles from Raymond | Lawrence (830 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-322-3344) or Wil Stiles (875 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-327-9764). Strut your stuff like one of Nashville’s finest superstars in contemporary duds fit for the red carpet.

For excellent dining, head over to Jackalope Ranch (80400 Hwy. 111  Indio, 760-342-1999) for savory California-style barbecue. Yeah, that’s right: We do it pretty well out here, too! You’ll also fall in love with the sophistication of Ruth’s Chris Steak House (74740 Hwy. 111, Palm Desert.,760-779-1998). Sink your teeth into some juicy, all-American beef.

Remember, passes to Stagecoach are still available, so if you’re on the fence, hop down and head on over. You’ll be glad you did.

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