Garth Brooks let the cat out of the bag early with a social media announcement last week that he'll be headlining the 2018 Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio. Yet he didn't reveal his co-headliners: He'll be joined at the top of the three-day spring event by Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line, along with dozens of other country, Americana and classic-rock acts.
Next year's lineup, announced today by promoter Goldenvoice, also includes Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Rogers, Brett Young, Tanya Tucker, Ronnie Milsap, Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real, Cody Jinks and veteran Canadian folk-rocker Gordon Lightfoot.
Stagecoach is slated to run April 27 to 29 at the Empire Polo Field.
"We are doubling down on everything next year," said Goldenvoice director of festival talent Stacy Vee, who selects the acts that play what has become the largest country music festival in the world. This year attendance totaled 225,000, with an attendance cap of 75,000 festival-goers per day.
Vee two-stepped around a question of whether that cap would be raised for 2018, as it was this year for Stagecoach's older sibling Coachella, which bumped maximum daily attendance from 99,000 to 125,000 after Goldenvoice secured more property surrounding the festival site and expanded the concert grounds.
"We're expecting a heck of a lot of people," Vee said. "We're thinking big this year."
The full lineup is posted at the official Stagecoach website, and Vee pointed to the signature Stagecoach mix of a newly minted headliner that's risen through the ranks while Stagecoach has grown (Florida Georgia Line), a firmly established country superstar (Urban) and a festival rarity (Brooks).
Vee noted that the price of a three-day festival pass is holding steady for 2018 at $329. Passes will go on sale Sept. 22.
As country's biggest star of the 1990s, Brooks has rarely taken part in multi-artist concerts, particularly since he started headlining sports arenas and stadiums in 1990. According to a spokeswoman for Brooks, the only such events he's ever participated in were festivals or award shows.
"He has been on our wish list since we started doing Stagecoach" in 2007, Vee said.
As to what kind of show Brooks will bring to Stagecoach, she said, "We have not micromanaged that one bit….. I just went to one of the shows he did at the Forum and was blown away. I think Garth switches it up a lot, and I can only imagine he's going to put something together that's very special."
He performed at the annual Farm Aid benefit that year, took part in 2013 in another philanthropic-focused concert, Toby Keith's Twister Relief Concert in Oklahoma, and twice, in 1998 and again in 2010, for a festival celebrating cowboy culture in Brazil, Festa de Peao de Barretos.
In general he has preferred headlining his own concerts.
Brooks' tweet teased his Twitter followers by way of a question, "Are YOU ready for the BIGGEST party on the planet? Love, g" that appeared after the word "Stagecoach" was spelled out in neon lights, with Brooks' lowercase "g" logo inserted into the festival's name.
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