The word from Indio, California is that 2015’s installment of the Stagecoach Festival was a big success, and many of the patrons and artists who attended the gathering raved about their time in the desert. But similar to previous years of Stagecoach, numerous arrests were necessary by local law enforcement.
A total of 157 arrests were made by the Indio Police Department according to Sergeant Dan Marshall, down from 177 made in 2014. The majority of the arrests stemmed from incidents involving alcohol.
Of the arrests, 1 was made for simple battery, 1 for sexual battery, 1 for felony vandalism, and the rest for alcohol violations. Texas country artist Jason Eady also had his wallet stolen from the green room on Sunday night of the festival. The perpetrator made unauthorized transactions on his debit card, and Eady missed his return flight to deal with the issue.
High arrest numbers are nothing new at the Southern California music festival, or its corresponding Coachella Festival held the weekend before. 2013 saw a drop in arrests at Stagecoach to 124, but 2014 saw an upsurge in police activity with a record 177 arrests. In 2012, Stagecoach also saw a big surge in arrests and incidents, including a disturbing account of a 17-year-old girl who was inside a portable bathroom when three men forced themselves inside and assaulted her. The case was never solved. A total of 174 arrests were logged at Stagecoach in 2012, up from 88 arrests in 2011, however 2011’s Stagecoach was only a two-day festival.
Compared with Stagecoach’s sister festival Coachella, the percentage of arrests per festival goer has been significantly greater for Stagecoach over the years. In 2012, Coachella expanded to two weekends, and Stagecoach expanded to three days. 2012’s Coachella saw a total arrest number of 235 over the two weekends compared to Stagecoach’s 174. However with Coachella’s 85,000 attendees per day compared to Stagecoach’s 55,000, the rate of arrests per thousand attendees was over double for Stagecoach compared to Coachella. Fans were arrested at a rate of 0.46 for Coachella, but for Stagecoach the rate was 1.05 according to Ron’s Log.
Coachella’s 2015 arrest numbers came in at 226 over the two-weekend festival. Once again taking into consideration the length of the festivals and the amount of attendees, Stagecoach’s arrest percentage was doubled compared to Coachella.
Though Stagecoach and Coachella are just two festivals in an increasingly-crowded festival circuit, the side by side comparison of two separate festivals in the same location is further evidence that country music is now attracting the most unruly crowds in all of mainstream music. The Stagecoach arrest numbers come as country music gets ready for the start of the summer touring season a year after arrests, assaults, rapes, hospitalization numbers, and even multiple deaths dominated headlines in 2014.