Howdy Folks! With the announcement of the 2018 Lineup for Stagecoach being released early this morning, it is more important than ever to start planning your most white girl country outfits with shirts that say things like "Willie Nelson is my spirit animals" or "trucks, girls, dip, beer". I'm not judging you, I have a Johnny Cash shirt but granted he is flipping you off.
Why go to Stagecoach? Why go to the desert? Why male models? Stagecoach is a 3-day country music festival that takes place each year in Indio, California where country music's brightest and up & coming perform in one weekend of bliss & Pabst Blue Ribbon. This is a fun event to go to with a group of girlfriend, a significant other or you can brave the country main stage by yourself. Held the last weekend in April, I had the opportunity to attend the festival and came back with no voice, but plenty of tips and tricks.
I cannot harp on this enough. If you are die hard committed and not flakey (it's my pet peeve, be my person). No matter what route you want to go down for lodging, hotel prices spike to unreasonable amounts, camping is gross (personal opinion), & you may end up looking straight out of 127 hours by the end of the week. Don't be James Franco.
More tips to come on the shuttle pass, but most hotels in Indio, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Palm Springs, Shadow Hills & Indio itself are the closest with Palm Springs being the farthest from the venue. For cost effective options closest to the venue, consider the Holiday Inn Express Indio or the Homewood Suits by Hilton. For medium to high price/nicer options, The Indian Palms Country Club, The Chateau at Lake La Quinta, the Embassy Suites La Quinta or the Renaissance Indian Wells are nicer accommodations along the shuttle line. (Don't hate me but I was lucky enough to stay at a home close by, which is where this picture was taken)
Purchase a Shuttle Pass
Please do not drink and drive. I truly cannot think of anything more stupid. Buy a shuttle pass, avoid driving/parking at the venue, & drink all you want. The great thing about the shuttles is they align with most major hotels that are along the "shuttle lines" to the venue.
If you can't stay at one of the hotels, uber or lyft to one of the hotels that has shuttles coming and going. The wait times for shuttles are minimal, most buses being there upon arrival and the most we waited being 15-20 minutes before the next one came. You can also take the shuttles back from the venue to your lodging locations. Passes cost $75 (2017).
Purchase an RV Pass
Full disclaimer, I did not and will not stay in an RV Park. Nope. Not for me. However, they throw the best and wildest parties before and after the actual festival. I truly can say it was the most fun part of the experience. Other notable perks? It is the only pass that will allow you to move in and out of the venue. You read this correctly. You cannot get out of the venue once you are in without an RV Pass. I purchased mine on Craiglist for $100, however, you can purchase them for less with pre sale tickets or bundles.
Other fun perks? Dance floors after the concert ends, drink stalls, & of course campsite after campsite of parties.
Bring a Small Backpack
A weird item to mention as a top tip, but I swore by it the entire weekend with several comments regarding "thank god for the backpack" (see above). They sell lockers at the venue which is truly a waste of money if you drink responsibly and keep that backpack on your back.
Need a Packing list? Here You Go: You can keep all photography devices safe and with you to take epic photos, sunscreen (nobody likes a lobster), rose water (great for the heat and keeping skin fresh), snacks (venue food is $$$), an extra pair of socks (cowboy boots aren't as forgiving) a personal fan (you'll be thankful you have it, I promise), and all money related/ID items. I purchased this one on Amazon.
Consider Alcohol Restrictions
You knew this had to be a topic because I don't think you can go to a country concert without drinking alcohol. They won't let you in. But they also won't let you in with alcohol.
The lay of the land upon entry is your ID check, following a metal detector with bag checks, then a metal detector into the entry of the RV park on the right and the concert venue on the left.
The rules of entry are that you cannot have a fifth just hanging out in your backpack. We did this. We got lucky. Don't test your luck. I have a couple suggestions for how to get in the booze, with the most obvious being strong pre gaming. They do not care what you do on the shuttle, feel free to bring your booze on the bus, but BE MINDFUL this doesn't mean you should be falling all over yourself. Come on, we don't want Sigma Chi formal 2013 all over again.
Weirdly enough, our plastic bottles of cocoa cola were the things that were thrown out, so don't bring in your nice water bottle and pass it off. Ideally, if you have friends staying in the RV park it would be best for them to purchase your alcohol beforehand and save you some serious money. RV Park attendees CAN bring in their own alcohol so this would by far be the best option. Or meeting some friendly strangers who will share their jungle juice, or even offer to venmo them!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
This certainly is not the right idea with photo, but it was too good not to share. BREAKING NEWS: DRINKING WATER IS GOOD FOR YOU. IT GIVES YOU LIFE.
You will find yourself in 95-100 degree temperatures every day. Purchase a water bottle inside, use it for the rest of the day to fill up, or if you're Beyonce keep purchasing water. Your body will thank you.
Bring Throat Soothers
As working girls in the 9-5, our PTO days are limited and we have to be professionals after a weekend of binge drinking in the desert. After the first day, I had completely lost my voice. And by the time Monday hit and I was on a phone call with a prospect with no ability to speak it was clear I should have brought something with me to soothe my vocal cords from screaming the words to "5-1-5-0".
My suggestions would be a tea to drink at night, cough drops to carry around with you, or something generally with a healing capability to have between days of singing and dancing. You can't sell software if no one can understand you.
Through all the ups and downs, Stagecoach will be an experience I will always remember. From my forever dirty cowboy boots to the 300 pound jean shorted man dancing in the honkey tonk, you will find that the memories made here will be things to avoid telling your kids someday.
Stagecoach Website: http://www.stagecoachfestival.com/
Purchase Tickets Here: http://www.stagecoachfestival.com/passes
Lineup 2018: http://www.stagecoachfestival.com/lineup