The three-day country music festival returns to the Irish Hills of southern Michigan loaded with a star studded line-up to celebrate its five year anniversary.
In only its fifth year of existence, the Faster Horses Festival has become a mecca event for the country music concert goer. This year’s event has it all, ranging across the musical genre with a combination of pop country to traditional country and even a little from the Texas country sound.
Major touring artists along with accomplished mid-range artists perform each day on the festival’s main stage while up and coming smaller acts get a chance to introduce themselves and play on the Next To Nashville stage.
The 2017 Faster Horses Festival started off with Muscadine Bloodline opening the Nashville stage on day one. Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton of Mobile, AL perform songs from their self-titled debut EP that includes the current single “WD-40.”
Next up on the Nashville stage were longtime friends Trey Smith and Jennifer Fielder of the duo act Smithfield. Along with performing their debut breakout single “Hey Whiskey” from their 2015 self-titled EP, Trey and Jennifer also introduced new music from an upcoming album with their new single “When You’re Gone.”
The Canadian brother duo of High Valley open the main stage on day one with “Dear Life,” the title track to their first major label album release. During their cover performance of John Michael Montgomery’s “Be My Baby Tonight,” Curtis halts the song so that he can make the announcement that today is his brother Brad’s birthday. In order to celebrate the birthday in style, Curtis calls out Brad’s sons to the stage to be part of the moment with their father. As the boys carry out a birthday cake, the crowd sing out “Happy Birthday” to Brad. The brothers finish their set with their current single “I Be U Be.”
Drawing the largest crowd of the day inside the Nashville tent, Dylan Scott entertains the crowd with a high energy performance as he comes to the weekend festival with the #1 song on the Billboard charts with “My Girl.”
Craig Campbell travels down to the thrust of the main stage to invite the crowd to “Keep Them Kisses Comin'” before traveling back up to the stage to grab his guitar for his 2010 debut “Family Man,” both from his self-titled album. Craig also performs his current single “Outskirts Of Heaven” from an upcoming album to be released at a later date.
Carly Pearce ends the day inside on the Nashville stage performing her breakout debut single “Every Little Thing.” The latest up-and-coming female artist is on fire right now and taking country music by storm. With each performance, she is showing why she is being labeled as “One To Watch In 2017” by many inside the music industry.
As a last minute addition to the main stage performance schedule, The Michigan Muleticks come to center stage to perform a three song bluegrass set. In reality, the Muleticks is Dierks Bentley and his band dressed up in costume, performing a short bluegrass set and having fun before his headlining performance later in the evening.
Maddie and Tae give the ladies in the crowd something to sing about with songs they can relate to with their performances of “Fly,” “Shut Up and Fish” along with their signature hit “Girl In A Country Song.”
The 2017 ACM’s New Male Vocalist Jon Pardi brings some of his Texas swing music to the festival playing his two #1 hit songs “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt On My Boots” before his current single “Heartache On The Dancefloor.”
Cole Swindell returns for a second visit to Faster Horses, this time performing on the main stage. Cole entertains the crowd with songs from his two studio albums that include “Chillin’ It,” “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” “Let Me See Ya Girl” and “Middle Of A Memory.”
Cole calls out Craig Campbell to perform some 90’s country music with Joe Diffie’s “John Deere Green.” Cole ends with his dedication to his father, hoping he is watching today, with “You Should Be Here.”
Keeping the night one party going, Dierks Bentley gives his fans a show to please. Dierks comes down the stage onto the thrust fired up and pumps the crowd up as he calls a fan up on stage to shotgun a beer with him. With a flurry a hits, they come one after another with “5-1-5-0,” “Am I The Only One,” “Every Mile A Memory,” “Black,” “Riser,” “Somewhere On A Beach” and “What Was I Thinkin.'” Elle King appears on the video screens to assist in the duet of “Different For Girls.”
For an encore, Dierks climbs out of an airplane that has landed on stage, dressed as a drunk airline pilot for the single “Drunk On A Plane.” During the song, Dierks is joined by his tour mates Jon Pardi and Cole Swindell before a flight attendant with a beard brings each of them a shot of liquor and helps end the first night of performances.
Georgia boy Jon Langston gets the girls in the crowd warmed up as he dances across the Nashville stage performing his latest single “Right Girl Wrong Time.”
Aubrie Sellers opens the main stage on the second day with “Light Of Day” and “Liar, Liar” from her 2016 album New City Blues.
The Randy Rogers Band was up next with his hits “Buy Myself A Chance,” “Interstate” and “Last Last Chance” containing his Texas country sound.
Seth Ennis performs his 2016 hit “Woke Up In Nashville” from his 2017 debut album Mabelle.
The 80-year-old Grammy Award winner Charlie Daniels from North Carolina set the main stage afire with his classic fiddle playing. Also known for his strong patriotic stand, Charlie recites the Pledge Of Allegiance and sings “In America” before speaking in his narrative voice about the bombings and war of his day growing up as a child.
Performing his hits that include “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye,” “The Legend of Whooley Swamp,” “Long Haired Country Boy” and “(What The World Needs Is) A Few More Rednecks,” Charlie closes his performance with “How Great Thou Art” and “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”
The Texas trio of Midland close out day two on the Nashville stage with their 2017 hit song “Drinkin’ Problem” from the 2016 self-titled EP.
Dan + Shay bring the ladies to life as they dance back and forth up and down the trust of the stage during their performance on the main stage. Entertaining the crowd with songs “Nothing Like You,” “Show You Off,” “19 You And Me” and “Road Trippin'” from their two studio albums Where It All Began and Obsessed, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooneys also add covers like Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name” to tease the crowd with.
Darius Rucker, the former guitarist and lead vocalist to Grammy Award winning rock band Hootie & The Blowfish, comes to the stage next joined with his country band. Along with his hits “If I Told You,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “Alright” and “Come Back Song,” Darius also included hits like Garth Brook’s “Friends In Low Places.”
Calling Dan + Shay back out on stage, Darius performs “Hold My Hand” before ending with his biggest song to date on his solo country effort with his version of the crowd favorite “Wagon Wheel.”
As one of country music’s leading female artists, Miranda Lambert is called upon to headline and close out the second day of the three-day festival. Arriving on stage as the “Fastest Girl In Town,” Miranda fires up the crowd with a little “Kerosene” before sharing a “Heart Like Mine.”
With her feisty attitude and going no holds barred, Miranda keeps both feet on the gas and the crowd rowdy throughout her 90-minute set that is full of upbeat tempo songs. She included songs like “Baggage Claim,” “Vice,” “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “White Liar” and “Automatic.” Showing that she does have a soft side to her, she does however slow things down for her soft ballad “Over You” and her Grammy winning “The House That Built Me.”
With the energetic crowd feeding off her, Miranda finished her set with “Gunpowder and Lead” which leads the crowd to call her back out for an encore. As Miranda returns to the stage, she is in tears due to the overwhelming support being shown to her and her band as she thanks the crowd for being her biggest and best crowd of the year. For her encore, Miranda performs her current hit “Tin Man” before ending the evening with the crowd assisted U2 hit “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
The final day on the main stage at Faster Horses Festival gets underway with Michael Ray leading off with “Kiss You In The Morning,” “Think A Little Less” and new single “Get To You.”
Lauren Alaina, the pop country sensation that finished runner-up on the 10th season of American Idol opens her performance with “Georgia Peaches.” For her new song, “My Next Boyfriend,” Lauren calls a young man up on stage to join her in singing the song. As he gets on stage she notices he is wearing a go-pro camera on his head to record his experiences throughout the day and not wearing a shirt. Having a hard time keeping her composure, she continues with the song while he dances beside her. Lauren wraps up her set with her single “A Road Less Traveled.”
Bobby Bones and The Raging Idiots is made up of country music radio host and comedian Bobby Bones, his producer Eddie and other talented songwriters from Nashville performing cover tunes. On occasion, due to tour schedules, The Raging Idiots will also be joined by other artists such as this weekend’s guest, the talented guitar sensation Lindsay Ell. The band plays cover songs that include the opener “Thank You For Being A Friend” along with “Purple Rain,” “All About That Bass” and “Friends In Low Places.”
Old Dominion proves again why they are a fan favorite wherever they may play with songs like “Snapback,” “Shut Me Up” and “Said Nobody.” As a five member band of songwriters, they show off one of their many songs they have written for other artists with “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” by Tyler Farr. The crowd goes crazy upon learning that guitar and piano player, Trevor Rosen, is a Michigan native, calling Detroit home. Old Dominion wraps up their set with their top hits “Break Up With Him” and “Song For Another Time.”
Brett Eldredge dances his way down to the thrust of the stage where all the screaming females await for him eagerly as he sings his hit songs from his still young career. Although he is in his seventh year of performing, Brett has amassed quite a fan following who have waited for his show this evening. Brett performs his #1 songs “Don’t Ya,” “Wanna Be That Song,” “Beat Of The Music,” “Mean To Me” and “Lose My Mind” before his current hit “Something I’m Good At” from his newest self-titled album. Besides his own hits, Brett also adds a favorite of his by performing a cover of Train’s “Drops Of Jupiter.” As Brett prepares to leave the stage at the conclusion of his performance, he brings his dog Edgar out to the stage and introduces him to his fans before leaving.
After three hot humid days and a brief thunderstorm that evacuated the festival grounds earlier in the day, putting the show on hold for over an hour and a half, it was time for one of the hottest acts in country music today to close out the festival on its fifth year anniversary.
Although feeling a little under the weather and apologizing to fans, Luke Bryan put on a show that any artist would be envious of. With the Faster Horses show being his fourth show in four nights, Luke’s voice is a little off but that doesn’t bother any of the 40,ooo fans who have waited all day for the superstar artist.
Luke plays a full 90-minute set despite the 90-minute rain delay earlier in the day that continued to push everyone’s performances back. When he finally comes to the stage, Luke gives them all he has and asks for them to give him all they have. Luke powers through his set playing hit song after hit song and not missing a beat. From his debut hit song “All My Friends Say” in 2007 through to his current single “Fast” Luke has added 15 more #1 singles to his collection for a best of show night after night.
After Luke’s “Kick The Dust Up” he laughs about his hit “Rain Is A Good Thing” – “unless you are at a music festival and have to evacuate.”
During his performance of “This Is How We Roll” that he recorded with Florida Georgia Line, Luke asks the fans if anyone has the lyrics to “My House” by Flo Rida. As he is in the mood for some karaoke, he takes a girls phone from the crowd so that he can read the lyrics. As he tries to sing, the phone continues to get text messages coming in from “McCoy.” After stopping the band to ask who McCoy is, “cuz he is blowing your shit up,” he reads the text aloud and responds that it is him and sends a selfie to verify.
During “Crash My Party” Luke drags a cooler down to the bottom of the stage so he can pass out cans of beer to share with those in the crowd. Afterwards, he helps the stage staff sweep off the remainder of ice left on stage.
At the end of the show, Luke wraps up with two of his top hits “Drink A Beer” and “Hunting, Fishing And Loving Every Day.”
With all the musical selections of artists performing over the three days, for the 40,000 fans in attendance, the festival was a success. You can already hear them talking and making plans of returning for the sixth year of Faster Horses.
If you are interested in returning or coming for the first time, the dates for the 2018 Faster Horses music festival are July 20-22, 2018. To follow along with news and updates follow along with the links below.
Event Date: 21-23-JUL-2017