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Faster Horses Festival saddles up for second year

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Brian O'Connell of Live Nation kept it close to the vest last year, but he says that "when we got to opening the doors on Friday that we would have a year two" of the Faster Horses Festival.

Faster Horses, a three-day country music and camping festival at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, holds that second year this weekend (July 18-20), with headline performances by Tim McGraw on Friday, Keith Urban on Saturday and Miranda Lambert on Sunday, atop a lineup that also includes Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, Kip Moore, Cassadee Pope, Parmalee Rochester's Jana Kramer and others. And O'Connell is pleased to report that last year's attendance of 20,000 per day is "already in the rearview mirror" thanks to its unqualified success.

"Our job the first year was to plant a flag," O'Connell explains. "It's a lot for people to comprehend -- 'OK, we're going to do this festival that no one's ever heard of in a place that has a pretty sparse population and call it something they have no idea what it means (it's from an old Henry Ford quote about cars). It takes time to educate the public on what this is.

"So last year's fans turn into this year's ambassadors and they tell two friends and you pretty soon you've really got something (big) on your hands."

O'Connell says some changes have been made to the festival grounds to "improve the fan experience," including layout, entrances, signage and additional amenities. "It's stuff nobody will notice but it'll make life easier on everybody," he says.

"We're not interested in trying to be just another festival," O'Connell adds. "I want Horses to find it's place, but the one thing we're going to insure is that it's the best it can possible be. We'll continue to tweak things and continue to work on different strategies. We're not going to just book 35 bands and say, 'Here, give us your money.' That's not a festival. There's no soul to that, and that's not what will keep people coming back."

Faster Horses Festival

Friday-Sunday, June 18-20

Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.

Three-day passes are $180. Single day tickets are not available.

Visit www.fasterhorsesfestival.com

Web Site: www.fasterhorsesfestival.com

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