I had the opportunity to attend the largest country music festival in America April 27-29; Stagecoach 2012 was held in Indio, Calif. The event was attended by 55,000 people, according to event organizers. Music acts included Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and many others over the course of three days.
The three-day event ran from noon to midnight from Friday to Sunday. Obviously people had to get to the venue from their hotels, nearby RV parks and even grocery store parking lots around the area. Many of the music acts themselves needed transportation for band members and support personnel.
It was clear that Cardiff Limousine and Transportation of Palm Springs, Calif., had the lock on this event. Cardiff buses were spotted everywhere in town. Most of the buses running in the area were sporting the Cardiff logo and those that weren’t were probably subcontracted by Cardiff, said Jennifer Ellison of Cardiff.
Ellison reported they ran about 70 buses over the three-day event to transport an estimated 4,000 people back and forth between the venue and various shuttle stops. If you didn’t take a shuttle, the walk from the makeshift parking lot was easily a one-and-half to two mile walk to get into the festival area. Arriving by bus in the shuttle drop off zone reduced that to a half-mile walk. Not to mention the area was saturated with law enforcement in cars, on foot, on horses, motorcycles and bikes. With plenty of alcohol being served at the festival, Cardiff provided a safe method to get back to the hotel at the end of each day.
Cardiff ran continuous shuttles from 11 a.m. each day to 1 a.m. each night. If you had a shuttle pass, you could travel back and forth as many times as you wanted. The efficiency was phenomenal. My group never waited for more than five minutes for a shuttle at either end. Every bus we rode on was immaculately clean. Snacks and bottled water were provided free of charge. I even checked the restrooms of each bus I rode on and found them to be cleaner than the restrooms at the festival. Ellison reported that not one bus had any evidence of a passenger vomiting. While this may seem strange to comment on, it is a fact of life in our business. Moving 4,000 drunk people at the end of a 12-hour drinking binge can almost guarantee someone is going to get sick either from the motion of the bus while intoxicated or just too much booze.
Ellison reported they had multiple mechanics on-duty all weekend “just in case,” and the mechanics were prepared to work on their own buses as well as any sub-contracted buses if there were any mechanical issues. But no problems arose during the entire weekend. Cardiff is commended for its top-notch operation.
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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