Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just three stages at Stagecoach 2008

The Stagecoach Festival set schedule released yesterday by Goldenvoice reveals that the festival will present three simultaneous stages in 2008, down from four last year and five from the previous week's Coachella, held on the same site. 

On the other hand, the festival has added a third day with a Friday session beginning around 3 pm. So the overall number of bands remains about the same as last year. 

It seems that the programming on the two main stages is consistent with last year. The big Nashville artists are most booked on the Mane stage. The Palomino stage hosts alternative country, Texas country and other less mainstream styles. 

The cutback comes by combining the programming that ran last year on a bluegrass-oriented tent and a Western tent featuring mainly cowboy musicians. This year, the cowboys and bluegrassers are sharing the Mustang Stage on Saturday and Sunday, while that venue is given over to country newcomers on Friday night. 

Attendees like me who are drawn mainly to more authentic country music will do well to set up mainly at the Mustang Stage to catch artists like the Dan Tyminski Band, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and The Greencards, while planning regular visits to Palmino for the likes of Billy Joe Shaver, Charlie Louvin, and Shooter Jennings, not to mention country greats Dwight Yoakam, George Jones and Glen Campbell. 

I'll also be sampling the big acts on the Mane Stage, names like Tim McGraw, The Judds, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood, Carrie Underwood and lots more. Friday night on the Mane stage are two acts—The Eagles and John Fogerty—that could draw a different and older crowd for the added night. 

Overall, it is clear that Goldenvoice is still tinkering with the Stagecoach formula to find the right combination of musical styles that attracts a mega-audience to the country extravaganza. 


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