Faster Horses Festival: Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley Lead New Country Event
Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan will be the headliners for the inaugural Faster Horses Festival, a three-day country music and camping event taking place July 19-21 on the grounds of the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
Kix Brooks, Chris Young, Colt Ford, Jerrod Niemann, Thompson Square, Jon Pardi, Ashley Monroe, David Nail, Brett Eldridge, Drake White, Chase Rice, Greg Bates, Thomas Rhett and DJ Silver will also be on the two-stage bill. Between 40-50 national and regional acts will ultimately be featured according to Live Nation's Brian O'Connell, a multiple Academy of Country Music Producer of the Year award winner and creator of last year's successful Watershed Festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington state.
"The artists are great, obviously they're the drivers," O'Connell tells Billboard. "But the long-term success of a festival like this is people coming and spending three days with us and us entertaining them for three days and nights. We're going to give them plenty of options during the day and evening...to create that vibe that they can't resist."
Three-day tickets for Faster Horses -- which takes its name from a quote by auto pioneer Henry Ford -- go on sale Feb. 25 for $170. O'Connell says there are no plans for single day tickets, and there will be no VIP section at the festival. "There's nothing worse than for an artist to go on at 3:30 in the afternoon and there's a bunch of empty VIP seats staring back at them like white plastic chairs," O'Connell explains, "and 100 yards from the stage there's a fence line that the (other) fans can't get past. So this will be kind of a classless society. We want everybody who comes to this to be able to come as far up to the stage as they want to."
Faster Horses will also feature nine camping sites, including one in the actual race track's infield, a wide array of food offerings, bonfires and other activities for fans. "We have millions of ideas for stuff to do there," says O'Connell, who's also planning to organize late-night jam sessions on the second stage, which will host mostly regional acts during the festival's regular hours. "To me a festival is not just a stage in a field. We need to develop a community, and we're going to do it with other attractions and...interaction with the fans to make it a great experience."
Bentley, who performed at the inaugural Watershed Festival, says he's confident O'Connell can make that happen in Michigan.
"Brian and his team just classes it up, man," Bentley says. "They know how to get a really unique thing going on besides just putting music on a stage. The fans' experience is total. So anything they want to do, I'm on board with, and if I'm a betting man I put money on Faster Horses being one of the coolest festivals around."