Let’s keep this one simple,
since simplicity is what we seek,
sought through and betwixt,
the intricacies of trial and tribulation a mixed.
Unaware and avoiding a simple, known fact,
that battles fought beyond the lines of white & black
are but the densely-filled colors of our seeking soul,
drawn and designed to create
.The Unique and The Bold.
Day 3 would begin with less than 3 hours sleep before a beast of a day,
returning from Day 2, 2 hours after midnight
(or 2 ‘Ante Meridiem’ (’before midday’ though middle of the night))
as a ‘dropping off’ drive to the airport, the first order of ‘Soldier Sunday’,
given my buddy, David’s plans for a week in Cancun,
spent with a different kind of music and sunny days
raging amongst revelers under a birthday-filled Full Moon.
Before we begin, let it be known,
curated and tailored having perfectly sewn,
a string of acts, notably of cult notoriety and mostly little-known,
aside from a favorited and flourishing few
performing their parade on Mane Stage, Backyard, Honky-Tonk, and The Horseshoe,
and having shared space with 57 acts in total to date;
roughly and nearly a 70% viewing rate,
the day’s winner as you must already know,
goes to the historically phenomenal, Palomino.
34 miles of dusty, blistered, and bruised walking,
head-banged and bounced over the 102° weekend,
dropping to 82° the very next day, on the 1st of May,
historically and astronomically known as May Day;
marking the point exactly halfway
between the Equinox in Spring and the Summer Solstice,
where Spring festivals were celebrated as if Christmas,
by every spritely soul,
collected, congregated, and catered to while dancing round the Maypole.
Wildflowers of all variety,
just as can be found throughout humanity,
were strung together and around;
networked to create a Spring-inspired crown,
raucous raves revolved round the flaming pit,
given this is the ‘Day of Fire’ as some have long called it,
culminating in chants and chalices, toasting the talk of the town;
the chosen May Day Queen and her fecundly, phaliced-King,
having proven to be, sewable seed-worthy,
thriving, if not blossoming through the stress and pressure of party-filled heat,
a necessary scorched scar, turned catalyst for growth of the soul
and its branched baggage of material meat,
having also endured the death of Winter’s long haul & strain,
providing garden-esque villagers with sustainable seeds of reign,
unsuccumbing to Summer’s stressing heat,
to be reaped the following Fall, not in vain.
Sunday’s and day before May Day’s Queen
had proven to be, chosen by me; her self-appointed King,
none other than the aforementioned legend of a stage,
hosting soul-sparking show after show,
curated and crafted by wizard or mage,
Stagecoach’s soundly storied, Palomino.
Crowning a stage
‘the Queen of the Day’s Desert Heat’,
at a festival with a stage name known for its Shotgun Seat;
providing protection over otherwise dangerous & deadly transportation,
and a connection connecting points of destination;
points of where you are and where you’re going,
then where you were and where you now are, assuming.
Stagecoach is our chariot through fire, our Merkava of change,
and Palomino our protector and security in knowing
that our path from and to our home on the range
will result pleasurably, despite catalytic & rough going.
provided veil-piercing proof
of promising hope
Throughout the day, this stage would house and host
many of the most sincerely sound artists,
beautiful in name & stylistic jist;
not resting on, but starting with
one of a handful of whistling wonders and Ozark-raised,
paying homage to new old-timey Country,
tweaked with social-norm-tampering twist of phrase,
and classically cunning craftiness like my newly crafted word, prose-etry.
then 49 Winchester,
a Virginia-based band of talented small towners,
a closely-knit group of longtime friends and life-learning music lovers,
having secured my heart in the back pocket of their soul,
only just learned of their beautiful art shared not more than a few months ago,
and now experiencing first-hand, 7th heaven,
whilst sitting on the 9th cloud of Palomino,
watching a first-rate band two-steppin
their way through creating plethoraful pleasure, as if second nature.
Missing, unfortunately, another small-town joy, Sierra Ferrell
and her brand of Siren-sung psalms of life’s pleasant peril,
due to decision-made sacrifices sacrificed in sound decision,
for the likes of uniquely sounding, rustingly-velvet voiced Tyler Braden
and Warren Zeiders cross-town as Mane Stagers.
Braden, once again smooth and confidently sold,
belting out hypnotically catchy playlist builders, and later, Zeiders,
grinding out grit-filled, guttural gold,
of whom I’d promised a video of “Ride the Lightning” to a buddy, Chris
soon before gifting me his Saloon band later, though I’d be remiss,
after expressing gratitude,
not mentioning reluctance in accepting again, a fact that bewilders,
but truth be told; for the exchange to have happened,
the sacrifice would be a full dose of Tyler Childers.
But not yet,
that would come later,
now, we taste test a new flavor.
forever a recipe, long in the making,
the making of a future singer or leader of the band;
beginning with looks and build of the tried-and-true beauty of a siren or leading man,
coupled with enduring fame from a western-culture
and long-admired landmark name,
typically caught seasoned on the black box of thought,
reasoned by hypnotically moving pictures,
programming masses with pop-history fixtures.
Add an inkling of relevant potential,
pump out a parcel of poetic compositions and pageantry,
and we’ll have ourselves a Country singer, conventional;
whose set I savored, though his confidence seems to have wavered.
And I’d again be remiss, if I didn’t add emphasis
on his potential being much more mentionable.
But back to the Palomino I go, crotch-whiskey sippin’,
though I oughta litter in
the plethora of talent-filled offerings I engaged
over on the Horseshoe Stage;
the coziest and comfiest under scorchingly cool shade,
covering Compton Cowboys and their small herd of horses,
and a village of veritably vintage vendors,
to include a batch of on brand country-note flavors.
And a quick stint
in the Bud Light Backyard tent,
to catch some rockin, country sung words.
filled with soul and gospel flavor,
provided by the beautiful Madeline Edwards,
newly added to my playlists of which I’ve come to savor,
voice of a Californian born, Texas raised angel, God-sent,
Over on the Horseshoe, a coupla oat-sowers,
bands like the moody mellowings of Embla and The Karidotters,
kickass Kenny Feidler and the Cowboy Killers;
killing me by not hearing “Barrel Racerland” among solid space-fillers.
Just having raced over while regrettably missing
the opportunity I’ll forever regret pissing, a Stagecoach lamentation,
none other than a fast track to fame,
stardom-seeking missile of country sensation,
the lovely lyric’d, Lainey Wilson.
Though comforted in the regret-softening fact, catch her, I will soon,
and obviously a New Moon,
fun fact: also making an appearance,
in addition to Wilson & the eclipse,
one of our favorites, Niko Moon.
Earlier in the day under Nikki Lane’s Yee-Haw,
I was treated to Aloha vibes of passion,
in country and singer-songwriter fashion,
in the form of Hawaiian born, Kapali Long;
not short on rhythmically mesmerizing songs,
an instrumental madman
with kindness of island culture in a one-man band.
Kapali I’d later catch,
in the following weeks, playing
in the perfectly curated Americana West Festival, worth saying,
whose second dessert of a treat performance it was, to match.
Also of note, having been able to view,
also, a fiddler in The Turnpike Troubadours; one of the greats,
while playing The Horseshoe,
Nix, non-fiddling front-man
with fairly newly-formed outfit, guitar in hand,
would later be found fiddling on the Palomino
in the talent-touting tremendously-twangy storied band,
The Turnpike Troubadours with a helluva show.
Kyle Nix and the 38s sung western-style stories,
filled with triumphant trials and glorified tales of glory,
hinting of their own glorious path into playlists
of Country listeners and troubadour-style enthusiasts.
The Turnpike Troubadours
as previously and aforementioned,
would play Palomino after
Ryan Bingham’s poetic set at 4,
and sweet, singer-songwriter and smilingly-shaded singings of Valerie June at 3, accordingly,
with the intention of creating a Sunday Palomino’s set
stocked from the outset, and formidable opponent
to any other Stagecoach single-day lineup, my mind having been made up;
locked & loaded with poetic cannon fodder;
bursting with a mélange of entendre,
as fanciful tales-told of trials and trails from young to old,
are sold through visual stories, passionately told
as only the poet-singers know how, now known as the singer-songwriter genre.
the Troubadours would, with a mesmerizingly whiney,
yet sincerely loving voice, mimicking accompanying fiddle,
offer up Odysseusian opuses, sung by sextet through rhyming riddle,
cultivating and captivating a cult-like following, divinely.
Valerie June no different, though worlds away,
ethereally evoke emotions and notes of dreaming notions,
with the sweetest voice I’ve heard, easy to say,
since she has captured my heart,
wholly, not just in part,
given her beautiful art.
Walker, otherwise known, in mega-hit Yellowstone,
though previously known
for his Crazy Heart movie Theme, “The Weary Kind”,
forever a poet of the suffering variety,
‘sung stories’ for and with the weary traveler through life, in mind.
Bingham masterfully pulls off his seemingly disasterful life
with magically vibrant concoctions, likely concocted in silent and out of sobriety;
given the visions of the nostalgically old,
and how his stories are gracefully told,
transmuting his pain of lead, instead, to the power of gold,
thus, confirming his alchemist status…
.Bingham needs no fame, he’s already got us.
Packed to the gills, Palomino fills,
amidst subsiding heat,
and sticky conditions,
long, exciting yet tiring day, wearing on our feet,
the day’s dramatic incantation binds and thickens.
Bingham is stricken mid-getdown
when a fan near the front falls to his butt.
Ryan cuts the sound, asks the whole room round,
if dude is ok, having succumbed to the day,
then, sure he was fine, after receiving the sign, Bingham played on
till The Turnpike Troubadours came on,
increasing & adding to the magnification of magical beauty & transfiguration,
dividing this day’s parenthetical genius
from all other days I’ve come to witness,
for Stagecoach Sunday’s Palomino culminatory feature:
Tyler fucking Childers, an otherworldy creature.
Red, affectionately known, if one safely assumes,
gathered from a number of small-town feel tunes,
wailed and hollered to a capacity crowd
neath Palomino’s horseshoed-roof,
stretching spiritually loud past the mammothly shaded hoof,
and throughout annexed-fringes, just barely touching his chilling sound.
Polka-dots of folks in hot spots,
would be heard, days prior, during, and long after Red’s fire,
questioning the seemingly clumsy decision
to place Tyler Childers on Palomino Stage, conjuring visions
from conspiracy breeders hellbent with precision,
labeling the act, a crafty circumcision.
I’m of a different opinion,
basing the certainly facadically-fuckedup decision,
on genius intuition,
armed with a healthy dose of historically sound comprehension;
understanding the legend of Palomino,
knowing Childers played here just 5 years ago,
factoring in his vibe, benefiting from cozy conditions,
a lyrically intimate god, once again in Palomino’s heaven,
Tyler Childers likely chose with self-awareness precision,
to play the west-facing, red-and-gold sunset-silhouetted façade at 7.
.marking yet another exceptional notch in the belt
of a man, myth, and legend with a sound that can poetically melt.
Having left said magic to make an exchange,
of an upgraded experience in the Saloon paddock, adjacent to Mane,
regretting it now, yet with full gratitudinal placation, just sayin,
for Chris, his girlfriend, and his sister; bonafide A-listers.
Though missing a complete set by the aforementioned red-headed deity,
left me wanting, after subpar sound at Mane, though maybe I’m just being needy.
But away I go, off to the Rodeo
that could easily define the long, legendary history
of the Brooks & Dunn legacy,
stretching 30+ years, countless memorable jams,
downing millions of beers, and courting millions of ladies with yes ma’ams,
music indicative of a 90’s-era Country-rockin American country,
including “Brand New Man”, “Neon Moon”, Boot Scootin’ Boogie,
and “Play Something Country”.
They set course through our favorite memories,
provided subtle chuckles of tongue-n-cheek tidbits
like a nip of a sip from the “Rocky Mountains” distilleries,
likely voicing an opinion on the ridiculous debacle, without making mockery
of what we all likely know to be truth, unshockingly;
better beer can be found after drinking a round
of beers commonly found
to be subjects in Brew Kingdom beneath the King of Beers; self-crowned
and under The Rockies, a natural crown,
then pissing in a fresh-water fountain.
This funny little fake-fact, long renowned.
Brooks & Dunn, now under the nostalgic belt,
buzzing with glowing vibration,
I ride the ride of crowd-surfing, a feeling always lovingly felt,
to circumnavigate the space before Chris Stapleton.
Yet, I must add, my day felt half-full,
again, minus Lainey Wilson from the equation,
then to be filled after summation;
factoring in her surprise addition
in singing with duo, Brooks & Dunn,
rendering the pain I felt for her absence from a perfect day, null,
filled in full with undeniably painful fun.
a gritty-voiced, simple pleasures kind of man,
known for his inspirationally-filled badlands
of magnificently bone-chilling ballads
with singer-songwriter and poetically painful impetuses,
croons while sitting with an occasional stand,
faithfully performing and perpetually facing, the ever-present missus.
His voice guides me through a menagerie of making memories,
walking one final wander
from Mane Saloon, through GA, and amidst fringes yonder,
gathering citations of preciously protected moments-made memories;
folks laying on and tucked in blankets as I pass,
beneath the stars, dancing, laughing,
singing with soft, soothing-sounding Chris and hard-hitting grass.
my imagined transportation,
from Mane to Palomino, Friday-Sunday; feeling more like teleportation.
Diplo my muse, giving my last attention and balance of energy to use,
awaiting guidance through symphonic electronics,
orchestrated by a veteran magician and party-vibe tactician,
aerobically hiking us through regurgitatably retro rockings,
dropping drops on a number of countdowns from 3,
antheming our last and Sunday night
in painfully pleasurable dancing delight.
Diplo, immortal, mortally retro,
capping a day spent mostly in and amongst those of the Palomino,
and I am gracious to say, a day bent in the most perfect of way,
like a magic-filled rainbow, shaped apropos, invoking a smile,
the magnificently famed and aptly-named in Los Angelan-style,
Siren-like Tyler Childers
with chicken-skin producing holler and poetic prose,
producing the fire, round which our soul grows.
Late Night Nelly,
bringing nostalgic party and release;
the dance round the Maypole till lights and music cease.
Stagecoach Red-Headed Step Prince:
bigotry and ‘Mane Stage sound’ soreness,
both of which are forgivable if lessons are learned from pain & awareness.
Stagecoach Jester and Trial-Laden Troubadour:
Sun-Drenching Desert Heat,
providing elemental catalyst, molding heaven for the unscared,
producing frustrating complaints and hell for the unprepared.
There are far fewer greater experiences than can found lurking in the painful shadows,
wrinkling the rollercoaster that is a festival undertaking,
especially in desert environments and on such an expansive campus,
but worth it, it is, at least once and to any degree you find necessary.
And if that once is the one chance you’ll give the world of festivals,
then I hope to share space with you at the indomitable Stagecoach,
given its favorite status with me
and my confidence in its marked uniquess
as the best, even in the worst of years, arguably.
.See y’all soon
Born city, raised country, west coast to east coast and back again. B.A., M.B.A., then back to LA,
lending to a love of capturing moments given any lens, and the adoration of all music, especially experienced live,
where this moment-capturing poet jives and thrives.
work in progress, y’all
[a part of the Founders Yonder Collective (FYCmoments)]