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Saturday, Feb 24, 2024
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TRAVELOGUE

Orange County isn’t known for its country music scene. Headlining country acts often jump from Los Angeles to San Diego.

That could be why there was a large Orange County contingent at the annual Stagecoach music festival held recently at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio.

For those who haven’t heard of the event—now in its fourth year—it’s like Coachella but with cowboy hats and beer instead of piercings and drugs. Headliners this year included Sugarland, Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn and Toby Keith.

Over the years, I’ve seen the crowds get bigger and rowdier and the number of acts get smaller and in some cases less famous, but one thing has remained consistent—Cookie Lee jewelry.

The Tustin-based designer has maintained a booth hawking her chunky designs with rotating neighboring booths ranging from apparel maker Affliction Holdings LLC of Seal Beach to a seller of cowboy hats made from recycled 12-pack beer boxes.

The varied retailers reflect the changing audience makeup as Stagecoach draws families and kids, the tattooed working class and the well-heeled who are willing to drop $20,000 on autographed guitars. The continued involvement of Soap Nation TV network also brought out a few looking to be discovered in the desert heat.

And Stagecoach, with its three music stages, barbecue competition and abundant liquor tents, has a little something for all of them.

Julie Leupold

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