Stagecoach competition pronounces lineup for 2023

In 2007, capability for the inaugural Stagecoach nation music competition wasn’t decided by the quantity of foods and drinks available or by the variety of folks native officers stated may very well be safely accommodated.

“The cap was how many tickets we could sell,” stated Stacy Vee, vp of Los Angeles-based Goldenvoice, which places on Stagecoach together with the annual Coachella competition on the sprawling grounds of Indio’s Empire Polo Membership.

The reply again then was 12,000, which was the dimensions of the gang that turned out to see George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Brooks & Dunn whereas surrounded by the mountains and palm timber of the Southern California desert.

Fifteen years (and one world pandemic) later, Goldenvoice is hoping to attract greater than seven occasions that many followers to Stagecoach with a 2023 version it introduced Monday can be headlined by Luke Bryan, Kane Brown and Chris Stapleton. The singers put contrasting spins on nation custom, with Bryan (often known as a decide on “American Idol”) doling out amiable get together songs, Brown dabbling in slick hip-hop beats and Stapleton pushing his raspy voice towards old-school soul music.

The lineup for the 2023 Stagecoach competition.

(Stagecoach)

Different acts on the three-day present, set for April 28-30 on the Empire Polo Membership — one weekend after Coachella 2023, which can run April 14-16 and April 21-23 with a lineup but to be revealed — embody Jon Pardi, Riley Inexperienced, Previous Dominion, Gabby Barrett, Parker McCollum, Melissa Etheridge, Morgan Wade, Tyler Childers, Bryan Adams, ZZ Prime and — again once more — Brooks & Dunn.

“This will be our 15th anniversary,” Vee stated of subsequent yr’s competition, accounting for the hole introduced on by COVID, “so they’re kind of bringing it full circle.”

The starry invoice displays Stagecoach’s standing because the “granddaddy of country festivals,” in response to Jay Williams, co-head of WME’s Nashville workplace.

But the lineup announcement comes at a difficult time for competition promoters normally, and for Goldenvoice particularly. After frequently promoting out for a decade, Stagecoach didn’t hit its goal of 85,000 tickets this previous April, when Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Luke Combs headlined the occasion. And this yr Goldenvoice referred to as off a pair of festivals — the Latin-focused Viva L.A. and the hip-hop-based Day N Vegas — reportedly on account of low ticket gross sales; Palomino, a brand new one-day alt-country present held in July exterior the Rose Bowl, earned admiring opinions however drew a smaller crowd than the corporate had hoped.

“It’s tough out there,” Vee stated. “Rising production costs, inflation, lingering COVID effects — there are a lot of things working against festivals right now.”

A woman with long blond hair in a red striped sweater

“It’s tough out there,” stated Goldenvoice’s Stacy Vee, who books Stagecoach. “Rising production costs, inflation, lingering COVID effects — there are a lot of things working against festivals right now.”

(Jennifer Riley)

Add to the listing a variety of lethal tragedies at latest fests comparable to final yr’s Astroworld in Houston, the place 10 folks died in a crowd rush, and December’s As soon as Upon a Time in L.A. at Exposition Park, the place rapper Drakeo the Ruler was fatally stabbed. Vee declined to touch upon issues of safety at these festivals, each of which had been placed on by live performance big Stay Nation, a major competitor to Goldenvoice’s company dad or mum, AEG. However talking broadly of the ticket purchaser’s expertise, she stated, “You should be able to assume you’re going to be safe at a festival.”

So what’s Stagecoach — whose general-admission passes value $389 however whose varied VIP packages prime out at an eye-watering $2,749 — doing to draw a full home? Past the top-line expertise, the present will function celeb chef Man Fieri doing cooking demonstrations with artists. It should function a trio of musician-slash-actors — Ryan Bingham, Lainey Wilson and Luke Grimes — who’ve appeared on the hit TV collection “Yellowstone.” And, Vee stated, it guarantees unannounced visitor appearances alongside the traces of Weapons N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose’s shock drop-in with Underwood in April.

“I know for a fact that next year’s headliners saw that happen, and they’re like, ‘We gotta get to work,’” Vee stated. Of Rose’s cameo, through which the singer joined Underwood for performances of GNR’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City,” Vee stated, “It was something that had been floating in the ether for like a year beforehand because Carrie loves rock ’n’ roll. And Axl” — who performed Coachella with GNR in 2016 — “couldn’t stop smiling the whole time he was onstage.” After the gig, Vee stated, the 2 “stayed and partied at Stagecoach until the wee hours of the morning.”

A woman sings and plays acoustic guitar onstage

Melissa Etheridge will carry out at Stagecoach 2023.

(C Brandon / Redferns through Getty Photographs)

Stagecoach can also be working to deepen its fame as a spot of range in a rustic music scene roiled of late by conversations about institutional racism and sexism. In an e mail, Brown, who would be the first particular person of shade to headline the competition, stated, “A lot of people when they first look at me don’t think I’m in country music.” However, he added, “You don’t have to look a certain way to listen to or love country music. Stagecoach is one of my favorite places to play, and I can’t wait to be back with everyone.”

Although the 2023 invoice lacks a feminine headliner — a reality seemingly to attract some criticism — it options rapper Nelly, who’s collaborated with Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line, and Breland, the younger Black artist behind the viral country-rap hit “My Truck,” in addition to a number of members of the LGBTQ group in Etheridge and Trixie Mattel.

“They’re absolutely making an effort to expand representation,” stated Etheridge, who added that she’s needed to play Stagecoach for years. “And because it’s in California, they’ve kind of got the space to do that.”

Requested how assured she is that the competition will promote out subsequent yr, Vee stated she was inspired by a powerful advance presale Stagecoach held earlier than the lineup was introduced. (Common passes will go on sale Friday morning.) “To have those tickets in the bank gives you a little confidence in the market, which is an amazing feeling, especially right now.

“But,” she added, “85,000 tickets is a lot of tickets to sell.”