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Coachella Or Stagecoach – Which Is Your Best Fit?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

It’s that time of the year again! April rolls around, and just like clockwork, it’s officially festival season.

Living in a house with eleven other girls, during Coachella and Stagecoach season my house is always buzzing. April is a month of music and crazy-themed outfits in preparation for finally making the voyage to the desert.

This year I am not attending either festival (my vibe is usually spending a summer weekend in San Francisco for Outside Lands), but being surrounded by Coachella and Stagecoach lovers has taught me a few things. I think the most important thing to know before planning to attend is to know which one is your vibe. Coachella and Stagecoach could not be more different from each other besides being held in the exact same place.

Let’s start with Coachella first.

Coachella, officially called the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, originated in Indio California in 2009. It is known for showcasing a variety of genres of musical guests. Coachella was originally known for being more of a hippie vibe, with flower crowns and peace signs galore. Now in 2024, the festival has transformed into more of a rave atmosphere focused on house music and campy outfits. The lineup this year had headliners like Tyler, the Creator, Lana del Rey, and Doja Cat with other artists like Sabrina Carpenter, No Doubt, John Summit, Dom Dolla, and many more.

With John Summit and Dom Dolla as two of my favorite house artists, I had a bit of FOMO seeing my friends at their sets.

While I have never attended Coachella, I do find it incredibly interesting how Coachella seems to evolve at the same pace as pop culture. For example, as house and electronic music continues to grow in popularity, Coachella welcomes more artists within that genre. Along with the evolution of music, Coachella is growing as an influencer hot spot. Celebrities and influencers like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Alix Earle, and most recently, Taylor Swift have all been caught attending Coachella, and to celebrities — the Coachella afterparties are more of their focus than the festival itself. This is not how the festival was initially intended, so watching it evolve into something focused on glitz and glam is disheartening.

Occurring during the two weekends before Stagecoach, Coachella sets the tone for the rest of April. Stagecoach sure has a tough act to follow.

Stagecoach, which also originated in Indio California, first took place in 2007. I was surprised to learn that the first Stagecoach occurred before the first Coachella because Stagecoach is a smaller festival. When I say fewer attended, I mean just under 100,000 attendees compared to Coachella’s 130,000. Both generate a major turnout.

Stagecoach is a country music lover’s dream. Attendees wear their favorite cowboy hats and boots and dance and drink the days away. It is more uncommon to see influencers and celebrities attending, as the energy is more laid back and casual. This festival is centered more heavily around the actual music itself as opposed to the vibes. Some of the biggest names in this industry have performed on the “Mane” Stagecoach stage. Notable performers like Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, and many other icons bring thousands of attendees to this festival.

This year, Eric Church, Morgan Wallen, and Miranda Lambert are headlining which I would assume would bring more attendees than ever before with this caliber of a leading lineup. I am not a country music fan, but even I would love to see Morgan Wallen! While I do not think I would ever pay to attend Stagecoach, my friends who attend always come back with the most amazing stories and memories.

To me, each festival has its pros and cons. Do I align more closely with the vibes and music at Coachella? Yes. Which festival am I probably more able to afford? Stagecoach. Will I be able to survive the dry desert heat? Knowing myself, no.

For these reasons, I have yet to attend either festival, but I do want to eventually. And hey, I have until next April to make my decision. Who knows, maybe my vibe next year will be different than I thought and I’ll have to participate in the great debate of Coachella or Stagecoach, we’ll just have to see!

Hi there! I am from Newport Beach California and am a fourth year communications major here at UCSB. I love going for walks and runs around Isla Vista, going to the beach with friends, and going on spontaneous adventures. I am so excited to be able to contribute to the amazing writing platform that is Her Campus.