The She's Gone Country girls headed down to Brooklyn, Michigan to check out the second annual Faster Horses Festival. Taking over the Michigan International Speedway, the festival expanded from last year's event to include more camping availability and more attractions. The 3-day event welcomed some of country music's biggest and best to perform to a record number of attendees.
The grounds were packed with concert-goers from near and far decked out in boots and plaid, cowboy hats, camo and fringe (not necessarily all at once, but not necessarily not all at once).
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Some wore band shirts, some made their own, and some took advantage of the stocked festival merch stand which included shirts that allowed the wearer to specify which campground they should be returned to if lost (or drunk, or both). Some people didn't wear shirts at all and opted for Star-Spangled bikini tops or just proclaimed their undying love for the artist of their choice across their chests with Sharpie.
The best part about festival shows in my opinion is the crowd diversity. Prime people-watching begins in the late afternoon. Earlier in the day the true-blue music fans hit the field to stake their claim on a coveted spot as close as possible to front stage action, while the people drawn to the event for the “atmosphere” are still asleep in their tents recovering from the night before. When they finally make it to the concert part way through the afternoon, many have spent the morning prepping for the event at their elaborate campsites and are already feeling three sheets to the wind. The best people-watching happens about half way through the headliner when some of the rowdier groups are making their way to the late-night dance party festivities, while others are having the dry heaves into garbage cans and some can be found “napping” near the port-o-potty line. Either way, they are all having an incredible time.
Friday, the “Next from Nashville” tent stage was opened by the lovely Paulina Jayne. We had a chance to chat with her a bit and hope to set up an interview with her in the future about some of the HUGE things that she is currently working on. Clare Dunn, Glen Templeton and Dylan Scott also kept the side stage crowd going and the incredible Drake White & The Big Fire headlined. We are a little biased because we have had the chance to check out Drake White before (shout out to Whiskey Jam) and may have a bit of a crush on him. But the fact that he is adorable aside; he is one bad ass musician.
The Main Stage saw native Michigander and up and comer in the Nashville music scene, Maggie Rose open the show, followed by Austin Webb. Country duo Dan + Shay (who are managed by Scooter Braun – famous for the Justin Bieber connection), were up next to perform their hit 19 You and Me, along with some classic covers: Tom Petty’s Free Falling and Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me.
Sometimes actress/sometimes singer Jana Kramer of One Tree Hill and Friday Night Lights fame, (a native of Detroit, Michigan) took the stage showing off her kick ass toned legs and megawatt smile to perform for her hometown crowd.
Next up on the main stage was 2012 “The Voice” winner, Cassadee Pope. Don’t let the reality TV start fool you; this girl can sing. After wowing the crowd with her soaring vocal skills, Cassadee Pope headed over to the merchandise booth to do a free autograph signing.
Kip Moore took the stage as more festival goers began to emerge from their campsites ready to rock. Mr Moore delivered.
The evening’s headliner, Tim McGraw, fresh off of his fan-slapping incident in Atlanta days earlier, took the stage to close the show, performing a plethora of hits spanning his 30 year career. We’re happy to report that Tim McGraw left the crowd pumped and wanting more, excited for the rest of the weekend, with no casualties.
Saturday, the “Next from Nashville” tent stage was opened by Annabelle Road, followed by Old Dominion, David Fanning and Canadian Dallas Smith. Sam Hunt headlined. I have to say, Sam Hunt was the best surprise of the weekend. Not knowing much about him before going to Faster Horses Festival, the She’s Gone Country girls checked out his set on the recommendation of a friend who is in the music industry. Upon getting to the “Next from Nashville” stage, we saw an impressively large crowd of (mostly female) fans – all decked out in neon shirts for Sam Hunt. It didn’t take us long to figure out why they were there. Sam Hunt is an incredible singer/songwriter (he penned Billy Currington’s #1 single, We Are Tonight, Kenny Chesney’s #1 single, “Come Over” and Keith Urban’s “Cop Car”). Sam Hunt is definitely one to watch and we don’t think it will be long until he’s headlining main stages and we’ll be telling everyone we saw him, “before he was famous”.
The Main Stage was opened by JT Hodges. Next up was Joe Diffie, capitalizing on his new found fame from Jason Aldean’s 1994, but can you blame him? He played his some of his big songs from the early 90’s as well as “Girl Riding Shotgun” which he calls his response to Jason Aldean’s song.
Chase Rice, who was a cast member of Survivor before breaking onto the country music scene and co-writing hits such as Florida-Georgia Line's Cruise, took the stage to perform his newest hit, “Ready, Set Roll” much to the crowd’s delight.
The day seemed to get noticeably hotter (or maybe it was just us) as Brett Eldredge performed. He’s pretty, and he can sing, too! The perfect combination.
Next up was Darius Rucker, you may know him as Hootie. I appreciate that he has not abandoned his beginnings and played songs from his entire catalogue, from the Hootie days to the country hits. I don’t think anyone can hear Let Her Cry or Only Wanna Be With You and not want to smile and sing along, even if you’re at a country festival.
Headlining on Saturday was Keith Urban. He closed the evening with a rocking set full of hits. The crowd loved him and he loved them right back! What a great live show! If you’re lucky enough to get an opportunity to catch a Keith Urban show, don’t pass it up.
Dee Jay Silver, arguably the hardest working performer of the weekend, kept the party going late into the night on both Friday and Saturday, with his “Late Night from Nashville” set. Dee Jay Silver is definitely one of She’s Gone Country’s picks from the weekend. He has toured with just about EVERYBODY in the industry. In addition to touring, putting out an EP in 2013, Dee Jay Silver also hosts a weekly syndicated country radio show. He is also one of the nicest guys there is. Stay tuned for our exclusive interview with Dee Jay Silver coming up!
After two full days of binge drinking, festival goers somehow found it in them for round three.
The day started out with many up and comers taking the “Next From Nashville” tent stage: Matt Austen, Corey Cox, A Thousand Horses, Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys and headliner, Natalie Stovall and the Drive.
The Main Stage saw Chris Stapleton, followed by Ashley Monroe. Monroe is a member of the Pistol Annie’s alongside friend Miranda Lambert, so it was no surprise (but to much delight of the crowd) when Lambert popped up on stage during Ashley’s early afternoon set to join her on “Happily Unmarried”. Charlie Worsham, Parmalee and Cole Swindell kept the crowd rocking all day long. Little Big Town rocked the stage with incredible harmonies while Miranda Lambert closed the festival with a powerhouse performance.
-Organization: for a festival of this size, the organization is amazing. No lineups at entry, and staff, volunteers and security are all very well informed.
-People watching: some of the festival goers rivaled the artists for entertainment value.
The 2nd Annual Faster Horses Festival was again 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. We can't wait to see what you come up with for next year!! Looking forward to Faster Horses Festival 2015!!
Stay tuned for videos from the event!!!