Faster Horses Festival Replay
July 19, 20 and 21
Senior Writer: Spring Sault
Senior Photographer: Charles Rush
Win, Place, or Show: Faster Horses Finishes Strong at MIS
This year’s Faster Horses Festival was the seventh annual, held July 19, 20, and 21, 2019. Headlined by Keith Urban, Toby Keith, and the Zac Brown Band, the lineup for this three-day country music festival was flanked by such supporting acts as Old Dominion, Randy Houser, Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne, Kip Moore, and Brett Young, among others – all of which played their utmost for appreciative crowds.
In May 2019, the event won an Academy of Country Music award for Festival of the Year, making the self-proclaimed “party of the summer” shine bright on the national stage and spotlighting the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) and Live Nation as a top-tier venue and event leader, respectively. And, now that literally thousands of fans have headed home for another year of anticipation, plans have already begun for next year’s event. The “three-day hillbilly sleepover” will return to MIS July 17, 18, and 19, 2020. Although lineup announcements won’t start happening until January, upwards of 40K will begin hatching their plans to make the pilgrimage into the Irish Hills a year from now.
An illustrious lineup of some of the biggest names in country music isn’t the only reason fans return to the Faster Horses Festival on a yearly basis. They camp to their heart’s content, enduring almost everything Mother Nature and Southeast Michigan can throw at them, from epic heat and humidity, to tornado warnings, and heavy downpours. They sing, dance, and visit amongst each other like they’re old friends, making new acquaintances at every turn who become trusted pals in the process, sharing a love of country music and summer fun.
And, despite the fact that infield campsites have a notorious, almost hedonistic partying reputation that starts on Thursday, in advance of the festival, MIS campgrounds and area lodging support fans of all ages and stages, from those who are more family oriented to those who are simply out for a good time. Themed campground decorating contests, a bubble tent, line dancing, and amusement rides are just some of the amenities at this country festival that epitomizes what the fan’s experience is all about – music, fun, and summer love in the LP (“Lower Peninsula,” for you non-Michiganders…)
Weather played a starring role at this year’s event, with a massive heatwave moving into the area on Day One, and storms forcing an evacuation of the festival grounds on Day Two. But, did that stop the crowd from enjoying their experience? Absolutely not! Like the troopers they’re known to be, the Faster Horses fans carried on through humidity, high winds, and rainstorms to hear their favorite country music stars as they took the stage, giving performances beyond all expectations – including Day Three’s closing act of the Zac Brown Band, which was recognized by festival organizers for their stellar Sunday night showing amidst a downpour.
What can future ticketholders for the eighth annual Faster Horses Festival expect in 2020? A gigantic lineup, high-gear activities, interactive fan experiences, and a summer staple of a country music show are just the tip of the iceberg, if the past successful seven years have been any indication. Festival mastermind and the President of Country Touring at Live Nation, Brian O’Connell (also known as “BOC,”) will be making announcements, appearances in Michigan, and prepping the would-be “three-day hillbilly sleepover” guests in advance of the event. The festival that perpetually regenerates itself has transformed into an engaging fan experience with no signs of stopping soon!