Michigan’s music weekend ramped up with 40,000-plus country revelers at Faster Horses, a capacity crowd at Bell’s Beer Garden, the debut of White Lake’s Walk the Beat, an outdoor Elton tribute in GR and more.
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Anytime 40,000-plus country music fans gather for a weekend, all bets are on a mammoth party.
And with Eric Church, Morgan Wallen, Tim McGraw, Jake Owen, Brothers Osborne and more on the bill, last weekend’s Faster Horses festival at Michigan International Speedway in Jackson County had plenty of star power to keep that party lit and rolling deep into three straight nights.
Initial media reports that things went relatively smoothly at the 2022 edition of the festival (after several deaths at last year’s event) helped keep Faster Horses galloping along amid temperatures that reached the upper 80s at one point and an ebullient crowd on hand. Some daily highlights:
FRIDAY – Even with the mercury reaching nearly 90 degrees, fans were in great spirits as they bounced between stages, growing in size and excitement throughout the day. King Calaway wrapped up the “Next from Nashville Stage” as Jake Owen took the main stage in his laid-back beachwear. The crowd happily sang along without missing a beat, even when Owen brought out Michigan native Mike Posner to play some familiar hits. As the sun set, Morgan Wallen was welcomed by a sea of screaming fans who knew the words to every tune.
SATURDAY – Fans crowded the main stage for Chris Janson and Brothers Osborne. Eric Church played for nearly two hours before wrapping up Night Two with a medley of hit songs as lightning started to light up the sky behind the stage. In true Faster Horses fashion, organizers evacuated the field due to the incoming weather.
SUNDAY – With temperatures cooling off a bit, the final day had Priscilla Block wrapping up the Next from Nashville stage and Cole Swindell emerging as a fan favorite on the main stage, leaving many fans in tears after singing along to “You Should Be Here.” Veteran Tim McGraw later took the stage for a high-energy set that came to an end with the crowd singing along to “Humble and Kind” as fireworks closed out the festival. – By Tabatha Grover
PHOTO GALLERY: Faster Horses 2022 in Brooklyn, Mich.
Photos by Eric Stoike
BONUS WEEKEND COVERAGE:
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS, WALK THE BEAT, BRADLEY SINCLAIR, DARCY WILKIN
While a host of country stars lit up Faster Horses in Brooklyn, Mich., a country-hued rock band revved up a big crowd Sunday night in Kalamazoo.
Georgia’s Drive-By Truckers, with alt-country’s Lydia Loveless getting things started, played nearly nonstop for more than two hours at Bell’s Brewery Beer Garden, touring behind the group’s latest rock-driven release, “Welcome 2 Club XIII.”
As Local Spins photographer Derek Ketchum put it, “The only breaks were for some stories in between some of the music and the crowd was loving it all. The crowd was electric all night, with many singing along to all of the songs.”
Earlier in the weekend, the popular Walk the Beat festival expanded for the first time to the White Lake area, with 40 bands and solo acts playing 20 different locations in Whitehall and Montague on Saturday afternoon, with fans strolling from venue to venue to vote for their favorite performers.
In the end, Void, a rock cover band of teenagers hosted by Grand Rapids’ Red Rose Music Lab collected the most votes and took home the top prize, which includes studio time at Third Coast Recording in Grand Haven.
Academy owner Branden Garner said the young band has been together for about five years, mentored initially by Luc James. The band features guitarists Drew Beers and David Molhoek, drummer Dane Fitzgibbon, bassist Drew Shripka and keyboardist Cari Shaffer.
Chief Walk the Beat organizer Dave Palmer said the inaugural White Lake event “went great,” adding that attendee Drake Middlecamp won the $5,000 grand prize in the Walk the Beat raffle.
Later that same day, Rockford native Bradley Sinclair delivered Saturday evening tributes to Elton John and Michael Buble with help from The Corey Sound for Listening Room’s Listening Lawn series at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids.
And Kalamazoo singer-songwriter Darcy Wilkin brought her new project, “The Darcy Wilkin Whatzit Hour,” to Kalamazoo’s Dormouse Theatre for an evening of music and conversation, including an appearance by Jay Gavan, who talked about songwriting, guitars and his new album. Read more about “Whatzit Hour” online here.
Check out recaps and photos from Thursday and Friday shows here: Summer Strains — Here Come the Mummies, Troll for Trout, Red Wanting Blue & More
PHOTO GALLERY: Drive-By Truckers, Lydia Loveless at Bell’s Beer Garden
Photos by Derek Ketchum
Photos by Holly Holtzclaw