Reporting Kurt Wolff
Country music festivals continue to sprout up all across the country. One of the newest is Faster Horses, a three-day festival that took place this past weekend (July 19-21) on the grounds of the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
This was the festival’s very first year, but early estimates put the crowd at around 20,000. It’s an impressive number for a new festival, but that’s really no surprise, considering the top-shelf lineup. Headliners included Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan, and the roster was rounded out by such stellar acts as Florida Georgia Line, Chris Young, Jerrod Niemann, Thompson Square, Colt Ford, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett, and Kix Brooks.
A second stage featured a handful of Nashville artists such as Will Hoge, Kelleigh Bannen, and Chris Stapleton but kept much of its focus on Michigan artists, including Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys, the Kari Lynch Band, and Frankie Ballard. According to Live Nation president Brian O’Connell, this was a deliberate move. “We wanted to keep a good portion of [the second stage] Michigan-centric or regional-centric and then add a little bit of spice with some national artists to make sure we had a good balance. There would be nothing cooler than to break an act from Michigan out of Faster Horses.”
The festival didn’t just bring music, though. The grounds also included carnival rides, horse shows, a foam party, and even a giant water slide.
Steve Wiseman (@stevewisey) July 19, 2013
On Friday, Jake Owen rocked the crowd, despite the limitations of only having one hand due to his go-kart accident earlier this month.
It rained Friday evening, but that didn’t phase Chris Young. In fact, he was actually quite thrilled with the experience.
Sang in the pouring rain!!!! Amazing!!! #FasterHorses you rocked my world! Show of the year—
(@ChrisYoungMusic) July 20, 2013
Dierks Bentley played some material from his upcoming album Riser, along with plenty of past hits and fan favorites. And judging by his response on social media, he was knocked out by the sea of fans who greeted him:
Dierks Bentley (@DierksBentley) July 20, 2013
The only hiccup came during Thompson Square’s set, when they lost power during their first song. Keifer and Shawna (who was, curiously, the only female artist to grace the festival’s main stage) grabbed drinks while the crew worked to quickly bring the power back up.
thompson square (@thompsonsquare) July 22, 2013
Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line then stepped back on stage later that night to join Saturday’s headliner, Luke Bryan, for some free styling to end the night.
Sunday night headliner Jason Aldean had just played Wrigley Field in Chicago the night before, so he was focused and ready for the Faster Horses crowd–which seemed to triple in size when he took the stage.
And Thomas Rhett, who’s been seeing a lot of huge stadium crowds as part of Aldean’s Night Train Tour, was still impressed by the experience.
Thomas Rhett (@ThomasRhett) July 22, 2013
– Steve Wiseman, WYCD Detroit