Coachella: Let The Rampant, Ill-Informed Speculation Begin

Today’s L.A. Times has an update on next year’s Coachella festival, a.k.a. “Schvitzville”: The event will be expanded to three days this year, from April 27 to 29th, and will once again be held on the Empire Polo Field. But more importantly, it will have its own spin-off series:

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….

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.

If that doesn’t sound exciting to your non-country ears, here are some helpful musical analogies: Keillor is country’s Frank Black; Nickel Creek is its Jay-Z; and Williams is its Patti Smith.

As for the alt-rock Coachella, no names have been announced, but here are our completely random guesses, based on the formula (reunion + alt-rock stalwart + up-and-comers + Brits + random rap act) established during the past few years:

· Smashing Pumpkins · Apples In Stereo · Jarvis Cocker or Pulp · Clipse · Tom Waits · Arcade Fire · David Bowie · Bad Religion · Mew

Keep the guesses coming!

A country twang for Coachella [LA Times] Photo courtesy of Synthopia