‘Garthcoach’ 2018


Photo Credit: Chelsea Heath

Iconic Ferris wheel lights up the night for Stagecoach

Chelsea Heath, Staff Writer

              Just a week after Coachella, the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California set up for country music’s largest festival–Stagecoach. The grounds were magically transformed into a Western wonderland and a country music lover’s dream.

             The biggest headliner of this year was none other than country music legend Garth Brooks, which prompted the festival to be branded “Garthcoach”. Brooks, who semi-retired in 2000, has been absent from the music scene until the release of his 2016 album, “Gunslinger.” Throughout his set, Brooks mentioned several times that he took the time away to “raise his babies.” His raw energy was electric as he lit up the stage, belting out some of his greatest hits. There were times when the audience took over, and Brooks took a moment to stop and admire the sound of the collective voice that came from thousands of fans. Despite the heavy wind and the threat of losing his baseball cap, it was an epic performance and one hell of a comeback.

             Other headliners included Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line, who brought out some special guest stars of their own. Jason Derulo and Morgan Wallen, who had been on stage earlier in the day, joined Florida Georgia Line later in their set. FGL also sent a video to singer Bebe Rexha of the audience singing their collaboration song “Meant to be” since she was unable to attend. Keith Urban was joined on stage by Dwight Yoakam and Brothers Osborne, who had also performed earlier that day. Brooks even spared a few minutes of his set for his wife Trisha Yearwood to join the stage, and later sang a duet with fellow country musician Lee Brice.

             While the overall performance line-up was, in general, slightly underwhelming, there were some solid performances by up-and-coming artists like Morgan Wallen and Kane Brown; as well by those who are more established like Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, and Lee Brice.  Stagecoach of course had more than just music to offer. The festival also featured Guy Fieri’s Stagecoach Smokehouse, which brought mouth-watering bbq from across the nation to treat festival-goers. If lucky enough, attendees also had multiple opportunities to catch a glimpse of Fieri himself in action. There were multiple props set up around the grounds to make the perfect photo op, including the iconic Stagecoach and Coachella Ferris Wheel.

            Even with the heat, the Indio dust, aching feet, and mile-long walk in and out of  the festival, Stagecoach weekend was well worth it.