INDIO (CNS) - Thousands of country music fans will convene in the desert today to celebrate the start of the Stagecoach Music Festival in Indio.
Gates open at noon for Friday's 18 acts, topped off by Florida Georgia Line on the ``Mane'' stage. The Nashville-based duo previously performed at Stagecoach in 2013 and 2014, but this year marks their first headlining gig at the festival.
Keith Urban, who headlined in 2010 will be back on the Mane Stage Saturday night, while Garth Brooks closes out the festival on Sunday.
In addition to the big name acts, the festival will feature six up-and- coming performers each day on the brand new Sirius XM Spotlight Stage.
New additions to the festival also include TV's Guy Fieri bringing his culinary expertise to the desert at the Stagecoach Smokehouse, a 40,000 square-foot barbecue area featuring pit bosses from restaurants across the country.
The new Bazaar will feature 35 vendors, including Nikki Lane's Stage Stop Marketplace, bringing the singer's fashion line out for festivalgoers. Lane also made onstage Stagecoach appearances in 2015 and 2017.
Of course, there will be the returning favorites, such as the Budweiser Clydesdales, the Half-Pint Hootenanny for the kids, and the Honkytonk Dance Hall with dance lessons from esteemed instructors.
As with the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which occupied the polo grounds during the previous two weekends, traffic was expected to be heavy this morning on westbound Interstate 10 and on Indio's surface streets surrounding the venue.
Police say the following roads will be designated as primary access routes for the festivals and will be ``severely impacted'' this weekend:
-- Jefferson Street, from Interstate 10 to Avenue 52;
-- Washington Street, from Interstate 10 to Avenue 52;
-- Monroe Street, from Interstate 10 to Avenue 52;
-- Highway 111 at Jefferson Street;
-- Highway 111 at Monroe Street;
-- eastbound Interstate 10 exit at Jefferson Street;
-- eastbound Interstate 10 exit at Monroe Street; and
-- eastbound Interstate 10 exit at Washington Street.
Road closures include:
-- Avenue 49, between Hjorth Street and Monroe Street;
-- Avenue 50, between Madison Street and Jackson Street;
-- Hjorth Street, between Avenue 49 and Avenue 50; and
-- Madison Street, between Avenue 49 and Avenue 52.
Those looking to avoid driving altogether can be dropped off by ride- sharing services and taxis at the southwest corner of Avenue 49 and Monroe Street or dropped off and picked up by friends and family at the northeast corner of Avenue 52 and Madison Street.
Heavy traffic delays are also expected on eastbound Interstate 10 between Banning and Indio starting this morning.
To help make traffic smoother within the city, a yearlong road project widening Highway 111 in Indio has been suspended until the festival season wraps up April 30.
General admission passes for $399 remain available at http://www.stagecoachfestival.com/passes. Children 10 and younger get in free.
Photo: Getty Images