For those country music fans in Southern California, Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival (or just known as “Stagecoach” to the locals and the regulars) has been a three day festival of the biggest names in country music and home to a lot of tailgating. Apparently the partying has gotten a bit out of hand and the promoters of the festival are cracking down on camping to the point many are calling this the death of tailgating at Stagecoach.
MyDesert.com: Goldenvoice acts to cut Stagecoach partying
The Press-Enterprise: STAGECOACH 2013: All those rowdy friends must settle down
Next year’s Stagecoach Festival will feature Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band as headliners set for April 26-28, 2013. Other acts scheduled to perform include Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley, Trace Adkins, Darius Rucker, Jerry Lee Lewis and Dwight Yoakam. Tickets for the 2013 edition of Stagecoach go on sale this Saturday, Oct. 20.
The new stricter rules focus on prohibiting car and tent camping, a ban on rented RVs and reducing the number of RVs allowed into the camping area. In addition to the stricter rules, concert promoters might be trying to discourage those fans only showing up to party by raising prices in the RV section. In 2012, RV camping ranged from $350-$850, before fees. For 2012, it will be $855 and $955.
Many longtime and loyal patrons of Stagecoach are crying foul and are threatening to boycott the entire event unless tailgating and camping regulations are more relaxed. An anti-Stagecoach Facebook page titled “Stagecoach 2013!! We want our Festival back” was created on October 9th. In less than two weeks the Facebook page already has close to 3,800 fans.
Fans upset about the new Stagecoach camping and tailgating restrictions have also started a Twitter account, @BoooStagecoach, to push back and voice their disdain with the promoter’s choice to restrict the party. In addition to the social media outcry, many Stagecoach fans have threatened to refuse to buy tickets and some may choose to attend competing country music festivals that do not take a hard stance on camping and tailgating.
Goldenvoice, the festival’s Los Angeles-based promoter, defended the camping and tailgating rule changes based on complaints logged by primarily families. Those complaining to the promoter were concerned the event was becoming more focused on partying and debauchery than on the music. Goldenvoice claims fans were complaining it was no longer a festival they felt safe to take children to attend and it was no longer a family friendly environment.
Some recent events do back up those claims. In 2011 a woman was raped by a parking attendant in a parking lot. At this past April’s event, a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted inside a portable toilet. In 2012, 174 people were arrested at Stagecoach presumably for public drunkenness or disorderly conduct. It is unclear if those arrest were all made in the camping area or inside the concert venue but you can be quite confident the promoters will point to the camping atmosphere and tailgating as the main culprit for the arrests.
Please make no mistake, sexual assaults shielded by the events surrounding the camping and tailgating sections at Stagecoach are unacceptable. With that said, it appears that Goldenvoice is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. By cracking down on the camping and tailgating so severely, instead of solving the problem Goldenvoice may have created a bigger one.
More than likely, those who enjoyed the concerts as much as the camping and tailgating will probably not buy tickets for the 2013 festival. And those families that complained Stagecoach was no longer a family friendly experience will probably sit out 2013′s festival to make sure the changes are effective and more under control.
…You can’t tell us that someone like Toby Keith whose recent hits are “Red Solo Cup” and “I Like Girls That Drink Beer” would not be in support of those who enjoy tailgating before a concert…
We here at TailgatingIdeas.com support responsible tailgating but will not stand idly by when restrictions on tailgating become too harsh and oppresive to the point nobody wants to return.
Our suggestion for those concert goers that want to go to Stagecoach but are upset about the tailgating restrictions, the solution is simple. Speak with your wallet and your checkbooks.
Just don’t buy tickets when they go on sale this Saturday. Just refuse to buy them not only when they first go on sale on Saturday but don’t buy them at all. If Goldenvoice is hit where it hurts the most, in THEIR bank account, they will have to sit up and take notice.
We would also suggest, in addition to not buying tickets, drop an email to those at Goldenvoice telling them why you are not buying tickets this year. Former patrons of Stagecoach need to explain the light ticket sales are not because of a dislike of the musical artists performing in 2013 but because the restrictions and exorbitant fees placed on those camping and tailgating are too harsh.
Lastly, we would suggest contacting the musical artists that have already committed to perform at Stagecoach in 2013 and alert them to the changes being imposed. Contact the fan clubs and try and get in touch with publicists and those that have the artists’ ears. You can’t tell us that someone like Toby Keith whose recent hits are “Red Solo Cup” and “I Like Girls That Drink Beer” would not be in support of those who enjoy tailgating before a concert. Can you imagine if Toby Keith or any of the other headliners pulled out of Stagecoach 2013 and told the promoters it was because of the strict tailgating restrictions? What do you think Goldenvoice would do if that happened?
And before you disregard the idea of putting that much pressure on a concert promoter being effective, just take a look at what the music fans out in the Washington D.C. area did to Jiffy Lube Live when they banned tailgating. The fact remains that when fans act in a grassroots manner and in solidarity, their voices can be heard loud and clear. Don’t discount the effectiveness you can have most notably when you speak loudest by keeping your wallets tucked in your back pockets.
We will keep an eye on this Stagecoach situation as it develops and will update it accordingly. We would encourage all concert tailgaters to tailgate responsibly but there has to be a happy medium outside of what Goldenvoice has chosen to do. Hopefully this gets resolved soon and Stagecoach can still be a great place to have fun before the concerts and during the event.