Welcome to Stagecoach Festival 2008, May 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2008, nestled in the scenic town of Indio, CA, surrounded by mountainous views and palm trees.
The 2nd annual Stagecoach Festival was an incredible gathering of camping, partying, tailgating, PBR rodeos, as well as country music; no doubt a successful weekend that far exceeded anyone’s expectations.
Music fans of all ages came to enjoy a weekend of music with over 50 bands playing on three stages set up on the Indio Polo grounds. On Friday, the music started around 3 pm with some lesser-known but still great bands and ended the evening with a line-up that included Trisha Yearwood, John Fogerty and then, lastly, the legendary Eagles. By noon on Saturday, the music had begun again and played late into the evening, featuring such artists as Bucky Covington, Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley, The Judds and, finally, a very energetic Rascal Flatts and, yes, they played the “Cars” song for all you young readers. Sunday ended the weekend with another all-day agenda of great performers which included Trace Adkins, Gretchen Wilson, our favorite “Redneck Woman,” “Big & Rich,” followed by a wonderful performance by Carrie Underwood and ending the weekend with Tim McGraw.
Stagecoach Festival promoters also included PBR (Pro Bull Riders) rodeos on Friday and Saturday, during the day. The PBR arena was very intimate, with the bleachers set only ten feet or so from the arena, which allowed a very up-close-and-personal experience with these massive bulls. These rodeos were a bonus to Stagecoach ticket holders as they did not have the PBR at last year’s event and the stands were packed as it was a huge success.
What brought ToyHauler Magazine to this event was the wonderful mix of country music fans who are also big desert rats. We were amazed at the number of toyhaulers at this event with no toys in them, showing the versatility of toyhaulers and their use for all types of events and camping, not just for bikes, quads, and UTV’s.
Stagecoach Festival camping proved much more uptown than the more frequent desert camping that most of us with toyhaulers participate in. The amenities began by being able to park on the plush grassy polo grounds, and then be able to power up your laptop and connect to Stagecoach’s own wireless connection. Stagecoach promoters included such activities as mechanical bull rides, cantinas, a general store, outdoor movies, WI-FI, and cell phone charging tents as well as a Toyota-sponsored karaoke bar on one end of the polo field. Stagecoach offered raffle prizes, meet-and-greet opportunities with entertainers, free VIP-upgraded concerts tickets and even a free septic pumping as incentives for early-bird campcamping arrivals, in order to control the flow of coaches into the polo grounds.
The Stagecoach Festival organizers had four different camping areas all specifically designated for the experience you were seeking during this amazing festival. The campground titled “International” was specifically designed for families in mind, with a strict noise curfew, with lots of events geared towards the kids even having their very own shaved-ice booth. El Dorado 1 was the crème de la crème camping, as it was the closest camping area to the venue entrance. El Dorado 1 campground area included reserved handicap camping spots, limited electrical hook-up sites, a general store and bar, as well as WI-FI. El Dorado 1 campground had a curfew of 2:00 AM, far late enough for most of the campers who chose this area.
The party crowds and “late-nighters” chose El Dorado 2. Although this area did not have any electrical hook-ups, it provided a huge draw as it had no curfew at all. El Dorado 2 was the farthest campground from the venue, but trams were provided for travel back and forth to the venue.
Lastly, for the tent campers there was a lush grassy area solely for them which even had a very quaint choo-choo tram to shuttle them to the venue.
Arriving on the Wednesday before the event we were amazed at the crowd of coaches that had gathered in lines on all streets surrounding the Indio Polo Fields. Amazingly enough, these were all the early-bird arrivals all seeking the best camping spots for this event. Being early would hopefully secure you an aisle camping spot so that you may possibly have some elbow room, as the designated spots were only 1000-square feet per RV and Tow Vehicle.
By Thursday morning, the campground was almost full to capacity. We started to wonder if anyone in Southern California had a job. Stagecoach promoters had indeed anticipated this and had events ready to entertain. There was an outdoor movie screen playing a John Wayne movie and two bars on the Polo Grounds--one being in the campground and the other located closer to the entrance of the Polo Grounds. Most campers made their way to the bar in the campground area as it was a very nicely set up outdoor bar, complete with a dance floor, karaoke, and offering prizes and free gifts from Toyota.
On Friday morning, it was discovered that the campgrounds had been oversold and late arrivals were held in lines for over three hours, as they were told there were no open spots, camping was full. Stagecoach security was scrambling to get everyone into the campgrounds and trying to appease the angry crowds. After much contemplation, all coaches were parked-- anywhere that had even the slightest space left over. Refunds and backstage passes were issued in an attempt to compensate the mass of mad patrons. All were finally settled and the partying began with a Bloody Mary bar in the campground and neighbors helping neighbors settle in.
The campers at this event were creative in utilizing their ramps to bring the most unique items to this event, all in an effort to have the most awesome camping and tailgating set up. Some camps had brought swimming pools; some rolled out full-size BBQ’s; some brought out huge lighted palm trees and various inflatables, while others used their ramps to roll out the beer pong tables, horseshoes and full-sized picnic tables. Some brave campers brought their Rhinos, Rangers and Golf carts, which were not allowed, but, what the heck, it was worth a try . . . They made a nice decoration for their campsites, as they were locked up all weekend by order of the security department.
Stagecoach Festival 2008 was a huge success and a great time was had by all. If you like country music, rodeos, tailgating, meeting other desert rats, or just want a great camping experience, bring your toyhauler and head out to this music festival in 2009. The 3rd annual Stagecoach Festival will be in May of 2009 and look for tickets and camping reservations to go on sale November of 2008. If you would like to view the full line-up from 2008, as well as more details of this amazing event, please log on to: www.stagecoachfestival.com YEEHAW…