By. Wednesday M., HR Manager for Boot Barn
Do you eat, breathe and live country music? Well, I almost do. I love country music, always have. In 2009, some of my family and friends decided to go to the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, California. At the time, we had no idea what to expect; however, we were raring to go. We had such a great time the first time around that we decided to go again in 2010.
I was especially excited this year because I am a huge fan of country music, and I am also a new member of the Boot Barn team. Boot Barn had a huge booth at Stagecoach this year and it was extremely successful.
Our group headed out on Thursday and we set up camp in the Eldorado 1 campground adjacent the area where the festival is held. We referred to our camp as our “downtown camping” spot. This means that we camped in trailers, we also had indoor plumbin’.
Friday morning, some of us headed over to the Boot Barn booth to meet BBJ, aka Boot Barn Jonny to help him and his Stagecoach crew set up the booth. We emptied boxes filled with great merchandise. The Boot Barn, Stagecoach crew was awesome to work with and by mid afternoon, the merchandisers arrived to work their magic.
Friday afternoon/evening we headed back to our “downtown” area so we could get to the real business at hand – fun, fun and more fun! Camping is the only way to go at Stagecoach. Everything you needed was only footsteps away within the camping area. And, what you didn’t have, you could purchase whether it was ice, aspirin, beer, bikinis and sleeping bags. If you needed it, Stagecoach had it.
Besides the incredible music that you can experience at Stagecoach, the people watching is at an all time high for fun. The adventure of Stagecoach and the people that attend are an experience like no other.
People that love country music are some of the best people that you will ever meet in your life. Country people are proud to be flag waving Americans that have simple core values like friends, family, mutual respect, and they just like to have a rootin’ tootin’ good ol’ time. I am happy to say that “Country” was alive and well at Stagecoach.
At Stagecoach, you can walk anywhere in the campground and find people dancing, sitting in their blow up pools, playing cards, beer pong (not me, ha! ha!) and just having a great time. Friday night brought on the Go Country Dance Party, camp karaoke and what my family refers to as going on a “walkabout”, which simply means going from camp to camp meeting people and having a good old time.
Saturday, the excitement really kicked in. A couple of us were back to the booth on Saturday morning to see the amazing overnight transformation which was incredible thanks to the hard work of many happy hands. There were a lot of good vendor booths this year, however none more spectacular than our very own Boot Barn booth. We had some great merchandise this year; I know this to be true because my bank account reflected it. How many hats do I really need?
The gates opened at noon to the festival grounds and people were lined up to get in. There were three stages this year that held some of the greatest country music artists ever. Some of the big acts included; Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn, Keith Urban, Sugarland, my new favorite Jason Aldean and my old favorite Merle Haggard.
All of the music was fabulous and there were people dancing everywhere all day and into the morning. It is a wonderful thing to see so many people truly enjoying themselves.
Since I mentioned my new and old favorite country music singers, I thought I would give you a little taste of my experience.
Jason Aldean, what can I say? Is he married? Does he like older women? Will someone please let him know I am available? Did you know that Jason is a Pisces? Jason, as I like to refer to him, was fabulous! Working for Boot Barn this year allowed me the opportunity to receive a VIP wrist band and the only time I took advantage of the VIP status was to see my Jason. Girls, when he sang Relentless I thought I was going to faint. It could have been the heat, however I would like to think it was Jason’s eyes under that palm hat, and yes, I bought that hat too.
Jason also sang, A Grown Women, Not Every Man Lives and the crowd favorite, and one of our young Boot Barn family member, Aiden Dyer’s favorite, My Big Green Tractor. Jason Aldean definitely lived up to my expectation and will be worth purchasing a ticket in the future.
On Saturday afternoon, all my family and friends hiked down in the late afternoon sun to enjoy the sweet, deep tone of Merle Haggard’s voice. I was the blonde standing five rows back singing every word to Branded Man, I’m a Lonesome Fugitive, Wanting You and Mama Tried. To mix it up a little, Merle did a great rendition of Johnny Cash’s, Folsom Prison Blues and the crowd went crazy.
I loved seeing my all-time favorite, the one, the only – Merle Haggard and his band The Strangers. I don’t want to date myself, however for Merle I will. Merle Haggard was the first concert my parents took me to at about age five, and we saw Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton. What a great way to expose a child to country music – thanks Mom and Dad. Merle, The Hag, was the Top New Country Music Artist in 1965, the year I was born.
Merle is an extraordinary country musician: one minute, he is rockin’, then next, he is crooning and he can yodel with the best of them. For me, Merle encompasses the best of traditional classic country music. He is an incredible singer/songwriter and musician, and was voted Top Male Vocalist many times. Merle is an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame as well. I have seen Merle Haggard many, many times since I was five years old and for me, the highlight of the weekend was singing classic Merle songs with my Mama Pat, Auntie Linda and my daughter Autumn at my side. Listening to all of our awful voices blending together in almost perfect harmony – three generations of California women enjoying the music of the legendary Merle Haggard. This was a bittersweet moment for me.
As you may have surmised by now, I love country music. My cell phone ring tone is the famous Barbara Mandrell song, “I Was Country, Before Country Was Cool”, or at least I think I was.
Unfortunately, we had to pack up and head out on Monday morning and head back to the OC. Our four-day weekend camping “downtown” at Stagecoach was one of the best of my life. The Boot Barn booth and the team that made it a success will be remembered in my heart forever. My family and friends made the weekend even more special and I will treasure the memory forever too.
The Stagecoach Country Music Festival has become an annual event for my family and we are already planning for next year. I encourage all of you out there that want to get in touch with the country music in your soul and enjoy a fabulous weekend away with family and/or friends to plan for Stagecoach Country Music Festival 2011. Down here in the south, South Orange County that is, we like to say, “y’all come back now ya hear?” See ya next year at Stagecoach 2011!