For years, the Stagecoach Festival in Indio has had a side stage, dubbed the Palomino tent, that is a virtual festival-within-a-festival, focusing on alternative country, Americana and heritage country acts, “cred” artists that tend to draw a largely different audience than the larger one that stays at the mainstream main stage all day. This summer, Goldenvoice is branching off that approach into a one-day gathering of its own — the Palomino Festival — set to go down for the first time July 9 in Pasadena.
Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson & Family and Jason Isbell are newly announced as the headliners for the inaugural event, which will take place at Brookside at the Rose Bowl, a park adjacent to the storied stadium that Goldenvoice has used for a number of other genre-specific festivals in the last decade.
Others on the bill include a couple of current nominees in the Grammys’ American roots categories, Valerie June and Amythyst Kiah, plus Orville Peck, Old Crow Medicine Show, the Turnpike Troubadours, Sierra Ferrell, Morgan Wade, Charley Crockett, Paul Cauthen, Langhorne Slim, Sierra Hull, Low Cut Connie, Logan Ledger and Ian Noe. Nikki Lane, who curates a retail village at Stagecoach each year, will also be performing. The Compton Cowboys, a troupe that carries on a history of cowboy culture in that mostly Black city, are set to be featured as well.
General admission for the single-day event begins at $199 plus fees, and VIP passes will start at $399. An ultra-premium High Life pass, designated for attendees 21-and-over only, is $699 plus fees.
The festival is being spearheaded by head Goldenvoice talent buyer Stacy Vee, who has famously kept the alt-country side of Stagecoach going with her leadership of that festival, even though many of the cooler artists booked there have little of the draw of the superstars on the main stage.
“It has been a dream for as long as I can remember to do a festival taking a modern, fresh approach to today’s alt-country music,” Vee said in a statement. “Artists in the space have been pushing boundaries, creating sounds that are brand new. I wanted to fan these flames and celebrate this changing culture. We at Goldenvoice love doing things ‘our own way,’ and there are a lot of artists out there right now doing the same thing. We came together to celebrate carving your own path: this is Palomino.”
Goldenvoice’s announcement about the Palomino Festival did not mention the Stagecoach Festival, although its status as an unofficial offshoot is hard to miss. But he Palomino tent seems to be continuing with business as usual for now at the Stagecoach Festival April 29-May 1, where more left-of-field artists on the lineup like Brandi Carlile, Margo Price, Yola, the Black Crowes and Rhiannon Giddens are expected to appear on that side stage.
Only a handul of acts have been booked by Vee for both Stagecoach and the new Palomino Festival — Peck, Kiah, Crockett, Lane and the Compton Cowboys.
Both the Palomino Festival and the Palomino tent at Stagecoach are understood to borrow their name from the legendary Palomino in North Hollywood, one of the most famous country music clubs in the world from 1949 until it closed down in 1995.
Brookside at the Rose Bowl is already hosting three other Goldenvoice festivals this summer. The Cruel World Festival will take place May 14-15 with Morrissey headlining and Blondie, Bauhaus and Devo on a bill that skews toward ’80s and ’90s alt-rock. The following weekend, on May 21, the Just Like Heaven Festival will feature the indie-rock likes of Interpol, the Shins and Modest Mouse. On Aug. 27-28, the This Ain’t No Picnic festival will also bring the indie, with the Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Phoebe Bridgers and many others.
In 2017-18, Goldenvoice made use of Brookside at the Rose Bowl for inaugural editions of a festival called Arroyo Seco Weekend, which included artists like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Neil Young, Jack White, Mumford & Sons, Robert Plant and Weezer, along with more outlier adult-oriented acts like Pharoah Sanders and Kamasi Washington. Although in the past Goldenvoice reps have said Arroyo Seco could return, the promoter seems to be finding success by creating whole new series of festivals that draw somewhat more narrowly targeted audiences into that green space.
The site is lined around the edges of the concert spaces by trees, which is where VIP areas have tended to be located, offering the possibility of shadier spots on summer days. The High Life pass that has been created for the Palomino Festival goes well beyond that, with not just upfront viewing space at the different stages but closer-in parking, specialized merch, artisan tacos, margarita tastings, an AC tent and even “transportation between stages on the Palomino Express.”