The Stagecoach Country Music Festival and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival returned to the Empire Polo Club this spring for the first time in three years. The festivals take place on consecutive weekends and share some similarities in addition to the differences between the stars.
Here’s how the two festivals compare:
Coachelle: Coachella’s music incorporates genres and acts from around the world. This year’s festival saw no rock bands headlining the Coachella stage and instead focused on pop headliners such as Harry Styles and Billie Eilish.
There were also plenty of hip-hop acts, including Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lil Baby. Perhaps the biggest change to the Coachella stage this year was the increased incorporation of Latin music artists, which included groups such as Grupo Firme and Banda MS and reggaeton stars Anitta and Karol G. He there are many more artists performing at the festival every day. than at Stagecoach and the last performance of Coachella usually goes well after midnight.
Diligence: As a country-centric festival, it’s no surprise that the bulk of the line-up consists of country acts, including big headliners such as Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Luke Combs. This year, however, marks one of Stagecoach’s most diverse lineups, which included black and Latino artists and several LGBTQ artists. The diverse list included Motown and R&B legend Smokey Robinson, country rapper and producer Breland, and multi-ethnic country and folk singer Rhiannon Giddens. The list of artists is shorter than that of Coachella and at midnight all performances are over.
The two festivals also shared performers Diplo, Orville Peck and Yola.
Layout and crowd
Coachelle: One of the biggest differences between Coachella and Stagecoach is the stages. Coachella has seven main stages: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theater, Sonora, Gobi, Mojave, Sahara and Yuma. The age demographic of the festival also tends to be younger.
When it comes to seating, the floor is your only friend at Coachella, but you have to choose your spot wisely because people are constantly walking from stage to stage.
Diligence: Stagecoach has three stages, including the Mane Stage, which shifts 90 degrees from the Coachella Stage, and the Palomino Stage, which evolves from the Mojave Tent. There’s also the Sirius XM Spotlight Stage in front of the Mane Stage, where up-and-coming artists perform earlier in the day. The Yuma tent transforms into a Honky Tonk dance hall.
Crowds at the festival tend to be more multi-generational, often including families ranging from grandchildren to grandparents.
The festival allows guests to bring their own portable chairs and also spreads hay bales on the grounds for additional seating. Portable chairs can be brought into the general admission area behind the VIP section, which has its own standing room and seating. It also includes walkways set up for people trying to move to another stage or through the thousands of chairs. But if you still want to sit on the floor on a blanket, no one will stop you.
Coachelle: The festival tends to be dominated by tall, bright structures, and this year was no different. Artwork included buoys, light-up butterfly chairs, science tunnels, flower dogs, and Rage Against the Machine-inspired artwork.
Diligence: The art of the festival is less central than Coachella and more extensive. It included a horse made out of horseshoes and giant cowboy boots.
The festivals share the huge rainbow observation tower, “Spectra”, which gives people walking through the tower a view of the festival in different color hues and a giant horse sculpture.
Coachelle: Most fashion trends are influenced by social media, which continued to play a role this year. This year’s festival looks included matching two-piece sets, button downs, shirts and mesh dresses. The variety of makeup styles was also integral in a way Stagecoach wasn’t.
Diligence: One of Coachella’s most significant contrasts was the amount of clothing bearing the American flag. Outfits also included denim, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats.
The two festivals shared two fashion elements. The first was bandanas, which help keep dust out of your face no matter what festival you attend and never seem to go out of style. The second was the cow print. Although cow print clothing might seem like a country festival exclusive, it has been widely popularized on social media, in part due to Doja Cat’s viral song, “Mooo!” on which she sings wearing a cow print.
A similarity in layout was the location of the Ferris wheel, which offered the first 50 people in line a free ride at each festival.
Coachelle: The food at Coachella generally showcases the L.A. food scene, which includes a variety of trendy foods and plenty of Asian and Latin-inspired dishes, as well as vegan and vegetarian stalls.
Diligence: The festival relies much more on meats, with barbecue at its heart. Celebrity chef Guy Fieri returned with his 40,000 square foot tent of smoked and seasoned meats, Guy Fieri’s Stagecoach Smokehouse, where he handed out free barbecue samples to those who hung out near the smokehouse.
Coachelle: Heineken returned as the official beer sponsor of the festival and brought their Heineken home. The space included a beer garden for visitors to sample different company beers and provided games such as cornhole for people to play while drinking. The Craft Beer Barn has also returned with many local and regional craft beers including IPAs, Sours, and hard Kombucha.
Diligence: Budweiser Clydesdales may not be here this year, but finding a Budweiser and other American beers throughout the festival was not difficult. The craft beer bar was also back for Stagecoach, as were tents from top brands including Angry Orchard, Bud Light, Malibu and Jameson. One of the most striking differences is that people can walk around freely with booze and are not restricted to beer gardens. At one point, vendors were walking between crowds selling beer.
The two festivals shared a secret bar on site, themed tiki and shipwreck.
Coachelle: The festival usually offers tent or car camping, which remains relatively popular. The campsites offer activities such as morning yoga sessions, pilates and DJ sets.
Diligence: Instead of cars and tent camping, the festival offers RV camping, which sells out pretty quickly each year. It’s a big part of the festival culture, with campers socializing and playing cornhole and other drinking games.