It’s good to be first. That’s the idea behind Stagecoach Festival announcing its 2023 lineup with headliners Luke Bryan, Kane Brown and Chris Stapleton, and ticket on-sale on Sept. 9 — almost eight months in advance of the April 28-30 event.
By so doing, Stagecoach beat every other 2023 festival to the punch as the first to market. That’ll go a long way toward selling out the more than 80,000 tickets for the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. It also gives Nashville a route to start planning for 2024
And Nashville’s cadre of agents, managers and promoters needs to know where its artists are going to be in 2023 so that it can start planning 2024. Headline artists have album release schedules to follow, tour offers from major promoters to consider, festival plays and residency opportunities to consider. As Stagecoach the first major country music festival of the year, it’s important for artists to lock down their plans so that they can start planning the rest of their year.
For Stacy Vee, VP of Festivals at Goldenvoice, the AEG-owned company that promotes Stagecoach, however, this hardly seems early at all. “I wake up every morning thinking about Stagecoach,” she says. Still, assembling a lineup in 2022 that will still feel exciting in 2023 takes some serious consideration.
“I want every person to see themselves in the lineup,” Vee says. “My goal is to make sure that I can deliver an incredible experience to every kind of Stagecoach fan,” Vee says.
In this year’s headliners there’s Bryan – the bonified Nashville star and “massive titan,” says Vee of the Georgia-born hitmaker who headlines the festival Friday night, his fourth top slot overall for Stagecoach and his sixth appearance, beginning in 2008 for the second ever Stagecoach.
Saturday’s headliner is Brown, the ascendant star who like 2022 headliner Thomas Rhett, 2019 headliner Sam Hunt, and 2018 headliner Florida Georgia Line played festival’s smaller stages before earning his place closing out the Mane Stage. Brown toured arenas prior to the pandemic under the AEG Presents banner.
And then Sunday night belongs to Stapleton, the songwriter genius and late-bloomer megastar who has played Stagecoach once before – in 2016, when he also played Coachella, a rare crossover accomplishment for live artists.
The headliners and the headliner openers – artists like Old Dominion, who played the festival in 2016 and 2018 and toured on a Goldenvoice-backed club tour in 2016, and Brooks & Dunn, who play prior to Stapleton on Sunday and headlined the first Stagecoach Festival in 2007 – are critical to helping
There’s also the left of country acts like ZZ Top, Bryan Adams and rapper Nelly that give the festival some added cool factor fire power that most other festivals can’t pull off. Vee also books a number of alt country acts for the festival’s Palomino Stage including Kentucy’s Tyler Childers, Ryan Bingham and red dirt country road warriors Turnpike Troubadours, who are now managed by TMWRK, the same company that manages Stagecoach’s favorite electronic artist Diplo, who returns this year for his third Stagecoach festival.
Diplo was ultimately tasked with co-curating the Palomino tent with Vee, selecting the DJs for thea dance hall-style indoor venue playing country classics and honky-tonk hidden gems.
“This year he told me he’d love to play a bigger part in Stagecoach and asked if there was any opportunity to curate something,” Vee said, pointing to artist Nikki Lane who manages a vintage western market at the festival and small stage, or chef Guy Fieri who brings his signature barbeque style to the barbeque area.
Stagecoach is also an important platform for artist development and Vee spends a significant recruiting new artists to play Stagecoach’s development stages, including artists like Morgan Wade who’s 2021 album Reckless hit #14 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, North Carolina singer Kameron Marlowe from NBC’s The Voice and Wild As Her singer and The Voice contestant Corey Kent from Tulsa.
She said she’s excited about new artists including Nate Smith, Jackson Dean, Warren Zeiders and Lily Rose.
“There’s a lot of up and coming artists on here who have really, really strong music,” Vee says I predict there’s a lot of artists who are kind of on the bottom of the poster, who in a few years, we’re gonna see them in much more significant time slots.”
“We absolutely love him,” Vee says. “He has a new album out right now Mr. Saturday Night, which is amazing,” Vee says. “We just wanted to bring high energy, good vibes, dancing and friendship and super positive energy,” she tells Billboard. “We’ve just been saying ‘sunshine state of mind at every turn. And so we just tried to fuse happy and positive vibes into everything with the show and even with a lot of the women, which we have over 20 women on the line up this year” including Elle King, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Melissa Etheridge.