Coachella has become a top destination for music lovers. It’s also a fashion event of sorts because many of its attendees go all-out in their Bohemian and hippie fashions. However, as Stagecoach Country Music Festival (Coachella’s sister festival that showcases bluegrass, country, and country rock acts) happens the following weekend in the same location, country fashions have also bled into the Coachella weekends.

Style + Purpose

Both music festivals are held in the Colorado Desert. Logic tells us to stay indoors to avoid UV exposure, but the threat of sun damage doesn’t stop festival-goers from baring their skin to the sun. Fortunately, besides applying high-SPF sunscreen, most inject “sense” into their Coachella fashions and wear country staples like straw hats, ankle boots, and denim jackets.

Contrary to popular belief, Bohemian is not interchangeable with country style. The identifying elements of Bohemian are:

  • Loose, flowing clothing
  • Feathers
  • Scarves
  • Beaded necklaces and other accessories

Cowboy or country style, on the other hand, leans more towards:

  • Plaid
  • Denim
  • Leather
  • Thick belts and buckles
  • Fringe or tassels
  • Stetsons

These styles blend at Coachella. For instance, many young women wear leather or straw cowgirl hats with maxi dresses; Western leather boots with denim shorts and torn tees, and fringed sundresses with hems ending mid-thigh. These outfits look stylish, but more importantly, they serve practical purposes as the festival-goers party under the sun.

Wide-brimmed straw hats, even the ones with slightly-curled brims, protect the skin from direct sun exposure. Leather boots are hot to wear, but they protect the feet from the heat rising from the ground. Tassels, meanwhile, offer little sun protection but they do provide some cover while letting the skin breathe.

During Stagecoach, some country music lovers — those who can stand the heat, at least — don’t hold back. They break out in full Western outfit, from the steel-heeled boots to the three-point topped cowboy hat. Truthfully though, this ensemble is too warm to wear. The majority of attendees wear lighter pieces like plaid shirts, sleeveless t-shirts, and denim shorts instead. “Speedo cowboys” and “bikini cowgirls” have even emerged: men and women who wear cowboy hats, boots, and belts with their swimwear. Stagecoach is the only place people could get away with these ensembles.

old man with flannelThe Music

There might be a high level of interest on Coachella and Stagecoach fashion, but these events are music festivals at their core.

Coachella boasts very diverse line-ups. It features artists playing alternative rock, pop, indie, hip hop, rap, electronic dance, house, R & B, and all other types of music in just three weekends. A few country artists like Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Chris Stapleton, and Kacey Musgraves also make their way onto the Coachella stage, but the main event for musicians from this genre is still Stagecoach Festival.

The main stage is where most of the music is played, but auxiliary stages like the Palomino Tent hosts artists performing alternative country, classic country, and Southern rock. Acoustic performances, meanwhile, mostly occur at the Bazaar vendor village, and the Honky Tonk Dance Hall is where people can freely groove to authentic country dance music.

For fans of country fashion, music, and party atmosphere, Coachella offers a taste while Stagecoach gives the full experience.