Every year the release of the lineup for the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California is a good case study into who to watch for on the rise in country music. Foreshadowing the success of folks like Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and Chris Stapleton, and always paying more attention to the legends of country music than most corporate festivals, the Stagecoach Festival poster is a good barometer on what and who is trending in country music. Even if you have no intention to make it out to Indio come April 28th-30th, it’s worth scanning the names to see what you might be missing.
Similarly, every year a ruckus is made by traditional and independent country fans about how certain names are assigned a larger font than others in what seems like a backwards system. “How can Shania Twain get billed ahead of Willie Nelson!?!” The answer has solely to do with economics. Kenny Chesney is a bigger draw than Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, or Margo Price. That’s just the way it is.
What’s exceptional about Stagecoach (it’s the country version of the all-genre double weekend festival Coachella) is that they’re booking legends and small-time country and Americana artists at all. You won’t see this level of diversity from the other major country music festivals of the year. So don’t focus on the font. If it makes you feel better, read it from the bottom up.
Names you won’t see playing any other major country festival except Stagecoach include Aaron Lee Tasjan, Anderson East, Brent Cobb, Cody Johnson, Dan Layus, Drew Holcomb, John Doe, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Nikki Lane, Robert Ellis, Randy Rogers Band, Rhiannon Giddens, Ryan Hurd, Steve Moakler, Terry Allen, The Cactus Blossoms, The Sadies, and many more.
Stagecoach 2017 also includes country legends Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Cyndi Lauper. 🙂
Feast your eyes on the entire lineup below: