blog: Stagecoach features country musicians |

blog: Stagecoach features country musicians

Andrew Fersch
Vail CO, Colorado

Lots of festivals tout their superiority to others’ and of course they succeed in convincing what already was their fan base that they were correct in their assumptions of musical superiority.

Stagecoach is California’s ‘country music festival’ and while that is certainly true it doesn’t necessarily have the feel of it all the time. California has a storied history of doing things it’s own way – and that is pretty much the largest charm about it or compliment it can be given.

Unfortunately, Stagecoach pretty much just felt like one more festival trying to pack in big names in small amounts of time trying to appease as many folks as possible in order to be monetarily successful.

This year some pretty huge names played the show, Trace Adkins, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, and Rascal Flatts, but none of them really carries with them any sort of Cali-vibe, at least not the sort that a stereotyping out-of-towner such as myself (and a good number of the attendees if their license plates were any indicator) might have.

Now that’s not to say that there weren’t a good couple groups there reppin’ west coast like nobodies business. Clearly the Eagles WERE California for a few years and Dwight Yoakam is California’s most beloved (and still underappreciated) semi-native son. That does not mean however that Stagecoach is California’s country music festival just because of its location.

Sure, California is the home of board shorts and dude-guy back jersey name tattoos (and there were more than enough of those to go around) but it’s also the home of forward thinking, progress, innovation, very little of which was present at this gathering. The performers were the usual; obvious choices with few surprises. Sure, Tim McGraw puts on quite a good show and Carrie Underwood can belt out a song, they can do that anywhere though – it doesn’t take some big fancy festival to make that happen.

At Bonnaroo on any given night a random assortment of musicians from all sorts of bands might converge on a stage and just play to their hearts content for the love of music. That love of music is what Stagecoach was missing and that creativity was what it didn’t afford the audience quite enough of.

There were definitely shows where the love was there and where the performer was giving it their all (more say in Carrie’s case than the absolutely atrocious abomination known as Big and Rich) but there was no time when these shows didn’t just feel like one more show that these folks were putting on (other than the physical festival grounds).

Anyone can attend a Rascal Flatts show if they are willing to fork out enough hard earned scratch but it takes a real festival to give you something you’ve never seen before. Maybe it’s too much to ask that Axl Rose and Slash pop out from behind the curtains in their old playground to join Carrie Underwood when she covers G’n’R but it shouldn’t be too much to ask that the best surprise guests aren’t a midget and the most degrading novelty act to ever be introduced into country music (yeah you Cowboy Troy).

Bring on the Tim McGraw’s, bring on the Dwight’s and Underwood’s of the world, if you are going to bring them together though, lemme see what they can do with each other – not what I could see them do anywhere I can see them.

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