Promising to be the country equivalent to what the Coachella music fest is to pop/rock fans, the Stagecoach Festival debuts May 5 and 6 at Empire Polo Field in Indio (the same venue as Coachella, the week after Coachella). While some wonder if the concert will appeal to country fans, promoters Goldenvoice/AEG are betting big that it will. Included among the 50 artists booked are Willie Nelson, George Strait, and Alan Jackson.
One insider claims that the Stagecoach Festival will hurt business at Coors Amphitheatre, which hosted five country headliners last year.
"I think Brooks and Dunn and Kenny Chesney are bypassing San Diego this year because they'll be at Stagecoach instead," says the insider. (Both artists have been summertime regulars at Coors: Chesney has played Coors each year since '03; Brooks and Dunn stopped there in '05 and '06.) Of the other acts that played Coors last year, "The belief is that Rascal Flatts will play a smaller venue like Cox Arena or Sports Arena and that if Brad Paisley comes back to San Diego this year it won't be at Coors. I haven't heard what Toby Keith may do."
Regarding other potential country heavyweights who may play San Diego, "I heard Keith Urban might play the Sports Arena. I think Tim [McGraw] and Faith [Hill] might play Cox Arena.... Country fans tend to be adults who aren't willing to put up with the pain in the butt that Coors can be."
Coors general manager Michael Enoch says Brooks and Dunn and Chesney may decide to come to Coors after they appear at Stagecoach. "It hasn't been decided if this market is big enough [to make it a profitable venture]."
Coors Amphitheatre attendance was off by 33 percent last year; down from 241,000 tickets sold in 2005 to 160,000 in 2006.