If you are heading back to the Los Angeles area Sunday night after spending a raucous, country weekend at the monster Stagecoach Festival in the desert outside Palm Springs, get ready for some monster traffic jams.
Sunday is the final day of the 10th anniversary of the event before a sold-out crowd of 75,000 country music fans at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio.
The Indio Police Department will be offering traffic information through the weekend via Nixle.com. Callers who text STAGECOACH to 888777 can receive traffic updates on their cell phones, as well as information regarding weather and safety.
Traffic out of the region was expected to be heavy as thousands of festival-goers depart, particularly on Interstate 10. As with the Coachella festival that ended last weekend, authorities encourage drivers wait until Monday afternoon to leave, if possible, to avoid bumper-to-bumper conditions on the highways heading westward.
But road-weary drivers may think the traffic is a small price to pay after seeing the festival headliners.
Luke Bryan will headline the final night Sunday of the festival on the Mane stage, in a day that will also feature the Doobie Brothers, Dustin Lynch, and Little Big Town.
Bryan also headlined the final day of the 2014 festival, as well as making several other festival appearances over the course of its decade-long run.
Stagecoach is coming off a recent Festival of the Year nod at the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this month and looks to earn that title with a strong finish today.
Outside of the music, the festival will feature a full slate of amenities and activities for both adults and kids.
Those looking to do more than just watch the music can show what they can do at the Honkytonk Dance Hall, which will feature DJs, live bands and dance instructors that will lead crowds through line dancing, square dancing, country two-step, round dancing and the “good, ‘ol fashioned country hoedown.”
Kids will have plenty to keep them busy at the Half-Pint Hootenanny, hosted by stuntman and illusionist Johnny Hotshot and staffed by the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council and Boy Scouts of America. The Hootenanny will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, featuring live music, animals from Live Animal Barn and the Living Desert, interactive activities from Rancho Mirage’s Children’s Discovery Museum, art, and more.
The festival will also host its customary, annual BBQ Championships with everything from Pig Candy to Moo-Oink Balls on the menu. All previous years’ winners will be vending their BBQ items for the public, while participating cooks will face off in an Outlaw Chili Championship Sunday.
The Budweiser Clydesdales will also make their customary appearance at the festival entrance, following a Wednesday arrival to the Coachella Valley that saw the horses and their Dalmatian coach parading through downtown Palm Desert.
Tickets, priced at $299, sold out earlier this week both to the general public and at a special Coachella Valley residents only sale held Wednesday in Indian Wells.
Those who cannot attend may stream the festival live at http://stagecoachlive.tumblr.com/ .
Day parking lots at the Polo Grounds will open at 9 a.m., but attendees are encouraged to leave for the festival as early as possible, as local freeway and surface street traffic is expected be heavy.
For more information, including festival maps and offsite camping accommodations, visit www.stagecoachfestival.com .
–Staff and wire reports