For those of you that aren’t familiar with Stagecoach, it’s a country music festival that takes place in California in April at the Indio Polo Grounds – the same place that the Coachella Festival happens – way out in the So Cal desert. It’s on this weekend & this year is its 5th year – but my first time attending. Why am I there this year. 3 reasons I guess – it’s definitely an experience & an opportunity to see Americans at leisure on their home turf, we usually go to Coachella but this year the tickets sold out so fast we weren’t in time; some of the music is interesting and thirdly my friends wanted to go.
This is a quick review of Day 1. We made the mistake of hanging out at the main stage most of the day. Really the place to be was probably either of the two minor stages. As a result the first 3 acts I saw were more like pop music with a bit of country twang thrown in – Steel Magnolia (a young poppy country couple), Chris Young (again – something for the younger pop crowd – he sang a lot of songs about saving water by drinking beer which the crowd loved) and Darius Rucker (once of Hootie & the Blowfish, a rocker turned country – he was wearing a very cool t-shirt). It was all very enjoyable & provided a decent “day out” backdrop for chatting with a gang of friends. The real action at the main stage however was in the people watching. In my life I have never seen as many:
· cowboy hats & bras (the latter on young girls but I saw quite a few men that would definitely have benefited from a bit of “support”)
· semi-naked girls – a lot of them quite drunk
· bad dancers – again – a lot of them quite drunk (American dancing looks strange to us Europeans anyway – lots of waving of arms in the air goes on) (see photo number two for a real horror sighting)
· portable chairs – fine during the day but a menace at night once abandoned
Kenny Chesney was the big act Saturday night at the main stage. We ducked out to go & see Kris Kristofferson at one of the side stages. Very glad we did because he was entertaining & excellent whereas this morning’s Los Angeles Times described the Chesney performance as “lite as usual” & “including many songs about the choice to be made between a beer & a margarita”. Kristofferson is 75 in June but he’s every inch a real heavyweight star – no doubt about that whatsoever. He sang & talked for over an hour and his set included many of his great & famous songs – Me and Bobby McGee, Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down, For the Good Times, Help Me Make it Through the Night, The Silver Tongued Devil & I, Here Comes that Rainbow Again. He is clearly adored by his fans and I’m pleased to have snapped one really good photo of him (featured). He told stories as he went along & said he wished he was in better voice – but then went on to say it had always been that bad. He was well worth seeing.
Annoyed to have missed the Cleverlys and Mel Tillis yesterday but better prepped for today & especially looking forward to seeing Rosie Flores, the great Wanda Jackson, the Gatlin Bros and Leon Russell. I’m also going to take photos today of a lot more of the side action going on around the music as that’s at least half of the craic. Part 2 tomorrow folks – happy to receive comments/stories from anyone else that was there yesterday.