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In photos: Stagecoach festival day 1 with Eric Church, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more

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The 8th annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival kicked off on April 25, 2014 at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, CA. Dubbed ‘California’s Country Music Festival’ and arguably the west coast’s largest country festival, the three day event is staged on the same grounds that held the previous two weekends Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

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Since its launch in 2007, the festival has built a great reputation for bringing in a diverse mix of legendary country acts, alternative indie favorites, and top 40 country hit makers. The first day of the event featured two of mainstream country’s brightest stars as its headliners– Eric Church and Brantley Gilbert. Chuch, known for his hit singles "Drink in My Hand" and "Springsteen" drew the festivals largest crowd while Gilbert – performing before Chruch on the main stage – sang some of his biggest hits including "Kick it in the Sticks," and "You Don't Know Her Like I Do." Legendary Jacksonville, FL Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd headlined one of the two side tents, and also brought in a large audience despite only featuring one original member of the band (guitar player Gary Rossington).

Other performers on the first day of the Stagecoach festival included: Easton Corbin, Thomas Rhett, Eric Paslay, Jon Pardi The Black Lillies, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, Lindsey Ell, Hannah & Talbot, the Howlin' Brothers, Sarah Jarosz, Shelby Lynne, JD McPherson, Katey Sagal & the Forest Rangers, Shakey Graves, The Wailin' Jennys, and The Wild Feathers.

Check out these exclusive pictures from the first day of the festival. All concert photography by Scott Dudelson.

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