Faster Horses set to draw the country music masses

Michigan’s biggest country music festival is back in the starting gate. And it’s poised to…

Michigan’s biggest country music festival is back in the starting gate. And it’s poised to be not just the state’s biggest gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but one of the first major festivals to return nationwide.

Faster Horses, which traditionally has drawn 40,000-plus daily, will hit Michigan International Speedway next weekend for three days of camping, country tunes and red-white-and-blue partying as the July tradition notches its eighth installment.

Headliners Luke Combs (Friday), Thomas Rhett (Saturday) and Jason Aldean (Sunday) lead a lineup that’s unchanged from the bill originally set for last year before Faster Horses and the rest of the concert industry got sidelined by the pandemic.

Faster Horses has typically loaded up on hot hitmakers of the moment with a few veteran acts sprinkled in, and this edition is the same: Other main-stage acts include Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Lane, Jon Pardi and Tracey Lawrence, while the Next From Nashville tent will introduce fans to budding acts.

In a nod to Aldean’s hit of the same name, “We Back” has been the running tagline for Faster Horses since Live Nation announced in June that the fest was a go, just days after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer outlined the state’s reopening plans.

Jason Aldean is the July 18 headliner at the 2021 Faster Horses festival.

For Brian O’Connell — the Live Nation president of country touring who’s familiar to Faster Horses fans as “B.O.C.” — there’s a sense of excitement amid the urgency as he and his team get “back to work, full-tilt boogie, with a relatively short runway.”

“The most important things we’re looking forward to are the obvious ones — like the first fan that gets there, the first artist that plays, the first headliner, the first magical festival moment,” he said. “But right now, we’re building a city in a hurry. We know that the payoff is coming, but we’re so busy right now we’re not thinking much in the abstract.”