Drawing a line in the sand, Stagecoach has officially added a new rule to this year’s festival: no Confederate flags.
The three-day country music sister festival to Coachella kicks off today, April 29th, for the first time in three years at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. According to a report by the Desert Sun, organizers updated the General Resort Rules section of the event’s website with the following: “No divisive symbols, including, without limitation, Confederate flags and racially disparaging or other inappropriate imagery/public displays.”
The injunction applies not only to the festival grounds, which includes two separate stages, but also to the overnight camping areas where attendees live for the weekend.
Given the culture surrounding some elements of country music, Confederate flags and other imagery have been common throughout Stagecoach’s 14-year history. Variety reports that at one point in the festival’s early years, merchandise emblazoned with the Civil War-era flag was even sold in the event’s “marketplace.” In recent years, however, there’s been a cultural reckoning around what the symbol actually represents — the white nationalism at the heart of the Confederacy’s mission.
This year’s festival — its first since 2019 after being canceled the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic — is being headlined by Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, and Luke Combs, with additional performances by Maren Morris, Midland, Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker, Brothers Osborne, Lee Brice, Yola, Orville Peck, Cody Johnson, Margo Price, and more. Additionally, Guy Fieri will be on hand, cooking up his “Stagecoach Smokehouse” with many of the country’s best BBQ pit bosses all weekend long.