The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival will expand to three days next April, but the bigger news is that the West Coast’s premier rock and dance event will also welcome a country cousin: The concert’s stages and tents will stay in place for an extra week to host a country music bonanza featuring George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams.
Coachella promoter Paul Tollett said Monday that he’s not ready to announce the new venture’s name and entire lineup just yet, but he did acknowledge that it will be staged May 5 and 6 at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, a site that has been home to the Coachella festival since 1999. Tickets are expected to go on sale in January. …
There will also be a bluegrass stage with Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs and Nickel Creek. The latter booking takes on added intrigue with the Grammy-winning trio’s announcement that they will be going their separate ways after their 2007 tour, ending a run that began when the group formed in 1989 in Carlsbad.
There will also be tents devoted to cowboy poetry, rural Americana and storytelling, and Red Steagall, host of the syndicated radio show “Cowboy Corner” and the 2006 poet laureate for the state of Texas, has been booked, as has Garrison Keillor of “A Prairie Home Companion” fame. Another tent will have Riders in the Sky, the heritage music and comedy act that has reached the most ears through two Pixar productions, the hit film “Toy Story 2” and the Oscar-winning short “For the Birds.”
Speaking of Nickel Creek (MySpace), Sean and Sara Watkins have been hosts of The Watkins Family Hour at Largo for several weeks (their last show was this past Thursday). I had a chance to catch them three weeks ago when their special guests were the aforementioned The Ditty Bops (MySpace), and their collective version of “I’m An Old Cowhand” was quite a harmonic spectacle. So the opportunity to see Nickel Creek at next year’s Coachella for quite possibly their last performance in the Southland is something I can’t pass up.
(Photo of Nickel Creek courtesy of Nickel Creek.)