Live Nation Country president Brian O’Connell had a vision last year of bringing a major music festival to the Irish Hills.
His vision paid off when the inaugural Faster Horses Festival, held in a field near the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, drew more than 20,000 fans a day over a three-day weekend in July.
He has even more grandiose plans this year when the festival returns on July 18-20.
“We were completely blown away by the response last year, and it’s pushing us to keep making it bigger and better,” O’Connell said.
Those plans start with a power-packed lineup, which is headlined by Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, and Miranda Lambert. Other big names include Little Big Town, Kip Moore, Parmalee, Jana Kramer, Ashley Monroe, and Joe Diffie
“I wanted to evolve the festival to include more female artists, which was directly in response to fans’ comments. Additionally, I wanted to go after some of the genre’s biggest superstars. Well, Tim, Keith, and Miranda certainly fit that bill,” O’Connell said. “Lastly, I wanted to continue the goal of exposing the Faster Horses fans to some acts that they may not have seen before, like Chris Stapleton, one of the best singers I have heard in a long time.
“Year one was awesome, but a little one dimensional. I really like the more well-rounded feel of this year’s lineup.”
An emphasis of the festival last year was on creating a community feel and to make the festival grounds a late-night gathering spot. That idea will continue with a number of late-night jam sessions planned. During the day, there will be water slides and giant swings. There will be nine campgrounds available.
“If the fans keep showing up, we’ll keep trying to surprise them with whatever crazy ideas we come up with next,” O’Connell said.
Three-day festival and camping passes go on sale on Thursday, Jan. 23. For more information and a lineup of current artists, go to fasterhorsesfestival.com. Additional artists will be announced at a later date.