Goldenvoice has quietly instituted a new rule banning Confederate flags at this year’s Stagecoach, according to the General Resort Rules page on the festival’s official website. The change was first spotted by Palm Springs’ Desert Sun.
The rule bans “divisive symbols, including, without limitation, Confederate flags and racially disparaging or other inappropriate imagery/public displays” on Stagecoach’s campground, known as the “The Resort.”
Goldenvoice declined to comment when Billboard reached out about the ban.
Stagecoach attendees have previously complained in online forums about the display of Confederate flags at the festival. One of them, Gigi Mitchell, started a Change.org petition in 2020 calling for a ban, though it garnered just 57 signatures.
The Confederate flag has long had a presence at country music events, though modern-day stars including Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton and Luke Combs have more recently been critical about the display of the racist symbol at concerts. Guyton, one of only a handful of Black performers to find success in country music, has recalled “singing in front of Confederate flags” at concerts while on tour. “That absolutely inspired [my song] ‘Black Like Me,’” said Guyton, who scored a Grammy nod for best country solo performance for the 2020 track, marking the first nomination for a Black female solo artist in the category.
During a virtual panel on inclusivity at the annual Country Radio Seminar in February 2021, Morris slammed the display of Confederate flags at country music festivals. “I don’t want to play those festivals anymore,” she said at the time. “If you were a Black person, would you ever feel like going to a show with those flying in the parking lot? No. I feel like the most powerful thing as artists in our position right now is to make those demands of large organizations, festivals, promoters, whatnot. That’s one of the things we can do, is say, ‘No, I’m not doing this. Get rid of them.’”
During the same panel, Combs apologized for photos that had recently surfaced of him posing with the Confederate flag. Claiming the photos were seven or eight years old, Combs went on to say, “I think as a younger man, that was an image I associated to mean something else, and as I’ve grown in my time as an artist and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, you know, I’m now aware of how painful that image can be to someone else. … I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else.”
The Confederate flag – which was brandished on the battlefield by Confederate troops during the Civil War but was never the official military or government symbol of the Confederacy – became a symbol of racist hate for white supremacist groups starting in the post-Reconstruction period. In 1948, the flag was adopted by the pro-segregation “Dixiecrat” political party, which was founded in resistance to civil rights reforms ushered in by then-president Harry Truman.