The inaugural Faster Horses Festival took over the Michigan International Speedway this past weekend (July 19th - 21st) featuring some of country music's hottest stars. Playing for more than 80, 000 fans over the three day event, country superstars Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean and many more took to the stage with high energy, boot-stompin' performances. A sea of tanned, bikini-top clad, beer chugging, star spangled banner waving, U-S-A chanting concert goers, braved the heat, waiting for hours for a glimpse at their favourite performers.
The speedway was transformed into a fairground, complete with two stages, a jumbo inflatable waterslide, a giant swing and other carnival rides, plenty of fried-everything-on-a-stick and even a foam party tent.
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Friday kicked off with a bumping performance from Jukebox Mafia on the mainstage, followed by Jon Pardi, David Nail and an incredible solo performance by Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn fame. A barefoot, blue-jeaned Jake Owen didn't let his recent go-kart hand injury interfere with his energetic performance as he bound across the stage demanding the crowd get rowdy.
Next up on the main stage, Chris Young didn't let a little rain keep him from rocking the house. The Aw Naw singer, charmed the crowd with his soaring vocal skills and smile (it's nice). Dierks Bentley played a rocking set to cap off the first night, leaving the crowd pumped for the rest of the rocking festival weekend.
The sky opened up and the She's Gone Country team, took cover in our flea-bag motel (there was nothing else available in Brooklyn, Michigan with the popular festival in town that weekend) and felt sorry for all the suckers who kept the party going all night at the on-site campground. Though the thunder, lightning, winds and hail hit for a bit, the campers partied hard in their tents, RVs, teepees and 'Merica-themed buses.
Earlier in the evening, Will Hoge headlined the festival stage with a rocking set that included the #1 hit Eli Young Band single that he penned, Even If It Breaks Your Heart and his new song Strong, which has been featured on the new Chevrolet commercials. A lot of festival attendees may have missed out on this performance, but I would highly recommend that you take in a Will Hoge show, if you ever get the chance. He's pretty much the best.
Saturday, Brett Eldridge, Drake White, Jon Pardi and Colt Ford graced the mainstage, while Chris Stapleton headlined on the festival stage. Crowd-favourites, the Dirt Road Diaries tour rode into Michigan for Faster Horses. The front rows of the crowd were stacked with young girls who waited over 13 hours, to run for a coveted stagefront spot when park gates opened. Many spent the day in the blistering heat without leaving to use the facilities, eat, drink or rest, in order to be as close as possible to the action.
Florida Georgia Line didn't disappoint with their surprisingly impressive vocals and stage presence, pelvic thrusts and all. The handsome duo, got the crowd going wild with their hits Get Your Shine On, Cruise and Round Here. Definitely She's Gone Country approved – we can't wait to catch another FGL show!! I stand by anyone who can unabashedly rock flares, embrace the art of bedazzling, steal some of the best dance moves from 90s boy bands and pull off frosted tips. It's everything that makes me happy rolled into one band!
Thompson Square blew up the stage – or the power at least, quite literally. The If I Didn't Have You performers, rose magically onto the set, performing half of their first song, before all power on stage – lights, instruments and microphones, went dead. The pair took the mishap in stride, holding up red solo cups and cheering to the crowd, before making an exit while crew members tried to solve the problem. Luckily, the power was up and running again within minutes and Thompson Square returned to finish warming up the crowd for the headliner with their hits and covers of Tom Petty's Won't Back Down, Fun's Some Nights, Kiss' Rock n' Roll All Night and Eminem and Rihanna's Love the Way You Lie.
The much-anticipated reigning King of Country Luke Bryan, took to the stage to an excited crowd – a mass of sunburned, sweaty, writhing, punny sign holding, drunken, music lovers who had anxiously awaited his performance all day. Luke didn't disappoint, as the singer flirtatiously played up his sex symbol status with suggestive dance moves while playing his hit songs Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, Rain, Country Girl (Shake It For Me) and Crash My Party. Luke Bryan invited his tourmates to join him on stage for a lengthy medley which included Maroon 5's One More Night, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song, The Joker, Bruno Mars' Locked Out of Heaven, Baby Got Back, New Kids On The Block's The Right Stuff, Alabama's Song of the South, Wiz Khalifa's Young, Wild & Free, Biz Markie's Just a Friend, The Judds' Grandma and Miley Cyrus' Party in the U.S.A, leading into a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Sunday, Miranda Lambert tourmates Jukebox Mafia played the Festival stage, while the Main stage was graced with the likes of Chase Rice, Greg Bates, Jerrod Niemann, Thomas Rhett and headliner, Jason Aldean. Jason Aldean, one of the biggest country performers made a stop on his Night Train tour to play for the packed festival crowd. Playing a set of some of his biggest hits such as Fly Over States, My Kinda Party, 1994, Night Train and Take a Little Ride, Aldean proved his immense talent and demonstrated why he is such a fan favourite. He was even joined by special guest Kelly Clarkson to perform their hit duet Don't You Wanna Stay.
The weekend was an incredible success and we would like to thank everyone from Live Nation, Faster Horses, The Green Room PR and the Michigan International Speedway for their help, hospitality and graciousness. The event could not have been so well run without all of your hard work. We can't wait to see what you come up with for next year!! Looking forward to Faster Horses Festival 2014!!
Stay tuned for videos from the event!!!