When I asked my sister what she wanted for her 30th birthday, all she said was for me to fly down to Palm Desert for StageCoach Country Music Festival. Being that it was the big 3-0, I obliged. I hadn't been to the dusty desert fest since 2012 and truthfully, despite the fact that I am not a big country music fan, was really excited to get back to Indio. There is something magical about a weekend spent with warm weather, loud music, and nothing to consider other than what cocktail to have for breakfast.
With the more popular acts taking stage after sundown, the days are spent waking up slow, fastening the strings of your bikini and catching a tan just as quickly as you catch a buzz. Myself and 6 other women rented a condo in a near by golf course/housing complex. The community pool was 1/2 a block down and booming with other festival goers, equally as eager to "live the leisure life" for the weekend with their giant pool floats, speakers blaring and flip-cups flipping. That is the beautiful thing about weekend festivals like this; everyone is riding the same high. Good vibes are palpable and every one shares the common sense of ease.
Each day, we used a pre-arranged driver to take us to and from the festival grounds. If you are planning to head out to Coachella, StageCoach, DesertTrip or any other festival in this area, I HIGHLY recommend you pre-arrange a shuttle service, or local ride share other than Uber and Lyft. (The lines for those services can be up to 3 hours long.) Many Indio and Palm Desert locals shuttle attendees to make some serious extra dough for the weekend. When its 1am, after a long evening on your feet and a several mile walk to your designated drop-zone, you are going to be glad you did!
Once into the festival, it is all about grabbing a 21+ wristband, getting in line for a cocktail and situating yourself in a position to both see and hear the acts. With 85+ thousands people elbowing for space, its no longer about how close you are to the stage. Find a stack of speakers and a monitor close by for visuals and park it. In my opinion, the further back you are, the more room you have to boogie down.
The "Golden Hour" out in that desert is one of a kind. Warm, low rays drench the landscape turning everyones shimmering hair to a copper glow. It's a special place to be and I am so happy to have made it out to celebrate my beautiful sister.
For me, the highlight of the whole weekend took place on a side-stage, under a giant tent. John Fogerty, formerly of Creedance Clearwater Revival, took us back to the 1960's and 70's with all of his classic hits. With both my sister and best friend Nikki, shouting out his every lyric, and dancing high above the crowd on hay bails, I was overjoyed. It was the most rock n' roll moment of the weekend and it was a memory I won't soon forget!
StageCoach 2016 was a success and I look forward to returning to Indio.
Preserve Your Penny:
When committing to a 3 day long music festival, you know there will be money to pony up. (Pun-Intended.) Aside from the blow of the expensive ticket, here are a few quick tips on how to cut corners, while you cut a rug!
- Book smart! Rally as many concert goers you know and try and shack up. The more people you can accommodate, the smaller your portion to stay becomes. Be on your game about booking your accommodations early - It would be a pity to have a pass but no place to sleep at a great price!
- The grocery store is your friend. With so much of the day spent at your compound before the festival, hitting the grocery and stocking the house with the essentials is the way to go. Eating out gets expensive; particularly on the festival grounds. $30 for a beer and corndog is NOT the business.Have snack, sandwich fixings and an assortment on drinks at the pad. We had 7 women in your place, and averaged $35/person for 4 days. Less than $10 per day to be full and buzzin.' We even had stuff to take home after. Its the only way to go!
- Hitch a ride! Do not leave it up to Uber and Lyft to get you home. The lines are outrageous and the price is too. Often the festivals will add in a shuttle pass that seems to be a great deal, but isn't. Pre-arrange a ride from a local, TRUSTED, individual that is shuffling people around for extra cash those weekends. Fix a rate - and get home safely! Make smart choices, and move forward professionally.