live music alive and well at Faster Horses festival

Brooklyn — Neil Diamond isn’t the first artist that comes to mind when you think about country music. But as the familiar sounds of “Sweet Caroline” pumped through the grounds of Faster Horses on Friday, Diamond’s chorus struck an especially poignant chord. 

“Good times never seemed so good,” his song rang out, during an early evening between-performances set from the fest’s DJ-in-residence, Dee Jay Silver, as the crowd roared back the familiar follow-up chant, “so good! So good! So good!” 

So good, indeed. Tens of thousands of fans packed the grounds of Michigan International Speedway on Friday for the first day of Faster Horses, the three-day country music festival that extends through Sunday.

Luke Combs fans listen to his performance during the Faster Horses music festival on July 16, 2021, in Brooklyn.

But this year’s Faster Horses is more than just a country music festival. It’s the biggest concert event to hit Michigan since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the live music touring industry in March 2020, and it’s a return to the familiar concertgoing rituals of music fans in Southeastern Michigan. So what if it rained most of the day. If anything, that only added to the bring-it-on atmosphere.