This is a continuation of our first post about visiting Palm Springs that can be found here. Be sure and check it out!
Having already spent three days in Palm Springs, I had hoped to have acclimated to the searing midday heat in time to endure the festival grounds for California’s premier music festival, Stagecoach. The festival grounds are actually the Empire Polo Club fields in Indio, California, some of the largest I have ever seen. The space is massive, and having already been trampled from two previous weekends of Coachella the grounds are mostly loose desert dust. It’s tough but worth it. There is an indoor air conditioned venue with a huge dance floor where festival-goers can learn and dance the two-step, but other than that you are outside with only a few shaded areas near the bars and an arena covering one of the stages.
We each bought the 3-day $350 general admission ticket. ID must be shown each day of the festival to get a wrist band that allows you to buy alcohol on the grounds.
Lockers are available for rent to store items as well so you don’t have to drag them to and from the venue as you leave each day. You can buy VIP access for a $1,500 investment. A friend who got a VIP pass said she had full backstage access, food and drinks next to the stage and access to “the pit,” a seating area directly in front of the main stage.
Essential to enjoying Stagecoach: jean shorts, comfortable boots, or at least covered shoes, a bandana to cover your mouth and nose when the dust blows, a hat, sunscreen, a folding chair and an empty water bottle that can be refilled at any number of the water filling stations.
There are also a number of sponsor tents at the festival, and if you plan ahead you can enjoy some nice freebies. Toyota was offering access to their VIP area, DJ entertainment, food and water, charging stations, couches and free cell phone chargers if you showed up with a Toyota key. Other sponsors like State Farm, Bumble, Estee Lauder, Maui Jim and Pantene offered fun activities, photo opportunities and freebies if you registered with your name and email address. Stagecoach food was varied and delicious but not cheap. We loved everything from the vegan options to the dumplings, Korean BBQ, burgers and bowls of quinoa superfoods, tacos and smoothies. Each menu item somehow always came out to about $12 each.
Even though performers start playing the “Mane” stage and the Palomino stage at 12:00 noon, we learned most people arrive around 4:00 to escape the most brutal heat of the day. They set up lawn chairs and then walk around. Parking is free, and it is easier to find a spot and avoid the security check lines if you arrive earlier. It’s an unwritten rule that no one touches set up chairs so you don’t have to worry about losing them. As the sun starts to set around 6:00 the evening really starts to feel great, and the best talent takes the stage. You will want a spot to retreat to as the crowd gets thick.
We enjoyed watching Sam Hunt, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Cole Swindell and even Rita Wilson (Tom Hanks wife) among others over the three day festival. The main stage acts are best enjoyed from the side screens. We did not want to fight the millennials to get close to the stage. Totally not worth it, but we tried for the sake of this article! We learned the closer we got to the stage, the drunker people got and the more personal space disappeared. Better to hang back and dance in front of the big projection screens with 10,000 of your closest friends.
We found the Stagecoach festival-goers to be really fun and respectful. I learned from my cousin that “people-watching”‘ is one of the best parts of the event – we were not disappointed. Everyone was really agreeable about getting their picture taken with you, and we got some doozies.
Accommodations for Stagecoach are best found through VRBO. We rented a great place in the PGA West development right on a golf course with three bedrooms and en suite bathrooms. It was comfortable and best of all had great water pressure for scrubbing off the desert after a long day dancing. Grab your girls, a lot of water, hat and suncscreen and make a plan to check out Stagecoach next year! We promise you will love it!