The Faster Horses Festival returns to Brooklyn, MI for a fourth year bringing some of country music’s biggest acts to the stage.
Spread out over many acres of the scenic landscape of the Irish Hills area, lays the Michigan International Speedway that is home to the Faster Horses Festival.
Inside of the first four years, the Faster Horses Festival has grown by great leaps. What started out as a few near full campgrounds and 20,000 people in attendance has matured to sold out campgrounds with a record high in 2016, of 50,000 country music fans attending the festival.
14-July-2016 | Budweiser Campfire Kickoff Party
In 2016, the festival started a new tradition by adding another music stage closer to the campgrounds for the Budweiser Campfire Kickoff Party on Thursday night. As you arrived and set up camp, you could then start the weekend off with a little get together of friends and entertainment.
For the inaugural event, local artists (Audrey Ray, Bear Creek Brothers, Paulina Jayne, and Matt Austin) from around Michigan performed before the headlining act, LoCash. As the party ran throughout the evening, local disc jockey DJ JAY VEE kept the music spinning in between bands stage changes.
15-July-2016 | Day One
Day one kicked off with a small crowd of dedicated fans rushing through the gates as they opened, devoted to standing up against the railing as close to the stage and artists as they could get.
As the show got started, LoCash returned to open the main stage on early Friday afternoon. A crowd favorite, they sang tunes from their recently released The Fighters album that included their #1 hit “I Love This Life” and their current single “I Know Somebody.”
Next to take the main stage was Michigan’s own actress turned female country music artist, Jana Kramer. Jana came to the stage looking radiant all while getting the young men in the crowd’s attention. Singing songs off from her album Thirty One, the crowd was ready to sing along to her recent hit “I Got The Boy” as she also introduced her current release “Circles.”
Brett Young entertained crowds that surrounded the Next From Nashville stage as he performed. With young ladies hanging over the front railing to get closer to him, Brett teased them with his single “Sleep Without You.”
Back on the main stage, Jon Pardi lead his devoted fan section as they say along to his big hit “Head Over Boots” from his new album, California Sunrise.
Wynonna & The Big Noise brought a mixture of old and new music as she entertained the crowd. Singing her current single “Ain’t No Thing” and adding songs from her early days back in the 1980’s with her mother Naomi as the mother/daughter duo The Judds. She brought the crowd to their feet as they sang along to the duo’s hit “Why Not Me.”
Eager with anticipation, the girls stormed past the guys in the crowd to get to the front of the stage for Sam Hunt. Although the women in the crowd were excited to see him, the guys in the crowd also sang along with him to songs like his hit “House Party” from the album, Montevallo.
The festival audience reached its peak size of the evening as Eric Church came to the stage as the opening headliner for the weekend. With bodies pressed tightly against one another in the standing pit area, girls were hunked up on their guy’s shoulders to make room for others and to get a better view hoping to be noticed by The Chief.
Eric performed for the large crowd with hit songs from his five studio albums including the current Mister Misunderstood album and its single, “Record Year.” With the large crowd singing backup to Eric, they all came alive with their vocal talents on the hits “Drink In My Hand” and “Smoke A Little Smoke.” Eric ended the evening with a cover by Bruce Springsteen of “Dancing In The Dark” before blending in with his “Springsteen.”
16-July-2016 | Day Two
Saturday started off with Canadian native Lindsay Ell rockin’ out with her guitar on the main stage. Getting all the guys warmed up with her beauty, she kept them in check with her intimidating guitar solos and sassy vocals as she included her new single “By The Way.”
Dee Jay Silver entertained the crowd at the main stage for Saturday and Sunday in between all the musical acts with his DJ services.
Mo Pitney displayed his guitar expertise on stage as he performed his set. The tall, slender young man wowed the crowd with his vocals that covered his hit “Boy And A Girl Thing.”
On the Next From Nashville stage, Kelleigh Bannen performed songs from her recently released EP, Cheap Sunglasses, that contains this year’s summertime anthem “Landlocked.” Before ending her set, Kelleigh surprised her fans with guest Lindsay Ell joining her for a duet performance and guitar solo to “Tennessee Whiskey.”
A Thousand Horses continued to motivate the main stage crowd with their hits “Smoke” and “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” from their Southernality album.
Telling the crowd that he still gets extremely nervous and that he was while on stage, did not affect the way David Nail performed. With the crowd’s help, they helped with singing David’s top hits “Whatever She’s Got” along with his signature song “Red Light” before adding his current single “Night’s On Fire” from his Fighter album.
The crowd’s excitement started to build as The Modern Day Outlaw, Travis Tritt, came to the stage with his southern rock sound. Singing his current single “That’s What Dreams Do” off his The Calm After… album prepared the crowd for Travis’ finale with some help from the crowd of The Eagles cover “Take It Easy” and “Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares).”
Gary Allan entered the stage “Watching Airplanes” and never looked back as he continued to pump up the crowd with his performance. As a true musical artist, guys and girls alike were infatuated by his artistry of his singing and guitar playing. Asking the crowd “Do You Wish It Was Me,” Gary concluded with his hit “Nothing On But The Radio.”
Throughout the day and weekend, the crowds came in and out of the festival grounds as they took breaks from the heat and the long lengthy days of summertime. But at this time everyone that had a wristband for Faster Horses had congregated close to the stage for Saturday night’s headliner, Jason Aldean.
The 2013-2015 ACM Male Vocalist Of The Year brought his 2016 Six String Circus tour to Brooklyn and the Faster Horses Festival for one thing, “to give you the best show you have ever been a part of.”
As Jason went through his library of top hits, the crowd fired back at him and his band as they stood and sang every song word for word. With crowd favorites “She’s Country,” “Big Green Tractor,” “Dirt Road Anthem” and “When She Says Baby” Jason also added his latest single “A Little More Summertime” from his upcoming album They Don’t Know due out in September.
17-July-2016 | Day Three
The third and final day of the festival started off with Brooke Eden opening the main stage with her single “Daddy’s Money.”
Granger Smith was next on the main stage as he performed his songs “Boots” and the title track from his current album, Remington.
After his set, Granger returned to the stage as his alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr. to the fans delight. Waving a flag with “YEE YEE” across it continued to fire up the crowd as Earl started with his latest “Merica” followed by “Back Roads Song.” Earl finished with his signature move of crashing two beer cans together then swallowing any that may have been left before putting a fistful of tobacco into his cheek. The Granger Smith/Earl Dibbles Jr. set has come to life and continues to pick up momentum as they play in front of large crowds and grow their fan base.
Joe Nichols kept the crowd on high as he entertained them with hits of old and new. Getting help from his audience, Joe started with his new song “Undone” although he couldn’t help going back a few years to his summer song “Sunny and 75” and then the party song of his career “Tequila Makes His Clothes Fall Off.”
Big & Rich brought a gentleman on stage who had served in the armed services for 16 years and was preparing to return to serve another tour in Iraq. This led into a toast to all serviceman and woman along with police officers before “The Eighth Of November” and “God Bless America.”
The party rolled on as the leaders of the Muzik Mafia called out their friend Cowboy Troy to assist in the country rap song “I Play Chicken With The Train,” before wrapping up with their universally wild hit song “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy.”
Alan Jackson was next on stage, welcomed by a thunderous roar from the crowd as a display of love and respect for the country music icon. The former Entertainer Of The Year played songs dating back to the early beginnings with “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” to “Chattahoochee” to the ever popular hit “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.”
To close out the 2016 Faster Horses Festival was Lady Antebellum. Lady Antebellum is a trio made up of members Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley. They entertained the energized crowd with their smash hits “American Honey,” “Just A Kiss” and “Lookin’ For A Good Time” before leaving the stage to a screaming crowd wanting more.
They returned to the stage for an encore of “Need You Now” before saying goodbye to 2016 Faster Horses.
For those who attended Faster Horses Festival knows what is all involved in the “Three Day Hillbilly Sleepover” event. If you would like to return next year or you haven’t been and want to attend, mark your calendars for July 21-23 for Faster Horses Festival 2017. For more information on festival events, be sure to check on the links below.