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An Eyewitness at Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival

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It was a hundred and fifty billion degrees. My friend got sunburned. I spent a fortune on smoothies. But was it worth it? Heck yeah! Where else could I have seen so many cowboy hats, beers, smoke, and tattoos of bald eagles? None of which I had.

This past weekend, I attended California’s biggest country music festival: Stagecoach. I saw seven great acts and that’s after I missed quite a few. My friend and I drove three hours just to see Danielle Peck, Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, Reba, Brad Paisley, Randy Houser, Zac Brown Band, and Lady Antebellum. And we could have seen more if we didn’t have to go back to school the next day.

And if you think that line up is great, remember that last year Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, and the Eagles were there. I was initially disappointed with this year’s line-up, but I have to say, this year’s acts delivered.

We took the cheap route and brought our own chairs. I got to carry the blankets. Just understand that if you carry your own chairs, it’s much harder to see the stage. Would I do it again? If I go next year, I’m buying the reserved nicer seats, and out in style!

Danielle Peck took the Mane Stage (Get it? Like the horse. Ha ha.) first. Her band was excellent, but there was something wrong with her acoustics. I’m not quite sure what happened. Perhaps it was the sound system. Most didn’t seem to pay attention. She was a good opening act, but I wouldn’t pay just to see her.

At five, Darius Rucker (The lead singer from Hootie and the Blowfish) sang. I was very excited to see him in the line-up and I wasn’t the only one. Many people stood up and paid attention right away. He played guitar and looked like he was having fun. He kept it fresh and there wasn’t a song I didn’t like. Man, that guy can sing! I loved him even more in person. I really did. When we got back at the hotel, at one in the morning, we didn’t go to bed until we played his music for a bit.

After that, was Little Big Town. I found them extremely boring, but maybe that’s because they had to follow Darius Rucker’s amazing performance. It wasn’t that they were bad, but they did nothing to keep the crowd entertained. I got up for food at this point. The only song that I actually really liked was “Fine Line,” but I still wouldn’t buy it.

I really don’t like Reba. At all. I never have and I probably never will. She’s a pretty good actress, but she’s probably one of my least favorite country singers of all time and I was really annoyed that she got this great time slot. However, the woman knows how to work a crowd. Lots of dancing. She’s better live; if you like Reba, she’s worth seeing.

There’s a reason why Brad Paisley is my favorite singer. He’s absolutely amazing. I saw him last year and loved him and was so happy that he’d be at Stagecoach this year. He did not disappoint. I loved him, I loved him, I loved him! The lights were amazing. What was most interesting was I could remember which song would be next, but I was still entertained. I would see him again and I hope he comes back to L.A. soon. The main disappointment is he didn’t play his new single, “Then.”

After crashing for a few hours Saturday night and getting little sleep, my friend and I headed back to the concert. Randy Houser was up first. I recognized the name, but couldn’t place the songs at first. He was a nice opener, but I’m not sure if I’d see him as a headliner. I loved “Anything Goes.” It was so much better live. He exceeded expectations. I can’t believe I was actually considering blowing him off and hanging out somewhere else! I liked all of his songs.

The Zac Brown Band is a band that I like, but wouldn’t buy their CD. I’d listen to them on the radio happily. They started with “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” and I liked their version. If you are huge fan, you would like them live. Everyone danced to “Chicken Fried,” but they just seemed like an opening band for Lady Antebellum.

We were technically supposed to leave before Lady Antebellum got started. But we begged and pleaded that our parents would let us stay just through Lady Antebellum. We could deal with missing Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, and Kid Rock, but Lady Antebellum? Couldn’t do it. So, were they worth it? Yeah! I don’t even know why they aren’t headlining their own tour! I’d pay to see them. Lots and lots of money! I just have so much respect for the entire band. They engaged the audience and they have talent.

The major problem was that people could smoke in their seats even though there was a specific spot for smoking. I beg Stagecoach to create a smoking section next year or ban smoking in the seats. I’m allergic to the smoke and it was rather hard to breathe. My friend had trouble too. Apparently, it hurt her contacts.

So, the real question is: Would I could back next year? I’m going to say yes. Stagecoach was a fun experience. Especially for only 100 bucks.

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