It is hard to top a three-day country music festival in Las Vegas. The Route 91 Harvest Festival was held at the Las Vegas Village located across from Mandalay Bay and the Luxor. The three-day festival showcased many of today’s best country artists. There was no shortage of cowboy boots, cutoff jeans, and cowboy hats. The only thing missing was the moving walkway to take you back to your hotel at the end of the night.
BEST ON THE MAINSTAGE
Hands down, Lady Antebellum was my favorite main stage performance. I was blown away by their set. Their energy and sound was unbelievable. Worst part was hearing that they will be taking some time off after the Wheels Up Tour. Any band that covers Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine” automatically grabs my attention. Their vocal connections are undeniable.
Following Lady Antebellum was Keith Urban. I’m fairly certain that every woman in the crowd wished their significant other spoke with Urban’s accent. During “We Were Us” Sierra Black (FOX5’s Sing With Keith Urban contest winner) won the opportunity to sing the song onstage with Urban. What an amazing moment to witness in person.
Dallas Smith opened Day 2 of the Festival. He had quite the following. Some were Canadian country fans, while others saw him close the Next from Nashville stage the night before. Smith sang “Cheap Seats” and “Kids with Cars.” I couldn’t help but notice his bass player looked a lot like Austin from Big Brother. I have a strong feeling Dallas Smith will be playing on more main stages in 2016.
BEST FOUND TALENT
The best part of Route 91 was the two stages – a main stage and the Next from Nashville stage. While most media focused on the main stage, I spent most of my time watching Next from Nashville artists.
Tucker Beathard caught my eye. He is young and very talented with songwriting in his blood. His father, Casey Beathard, is a songwriter who wrote hit songs “Don’t Blink” and “Homeboy.” Tucker has a bright future, and you can bet he’s going to write about it.
David Fanning and JT Hodges were two artists also on my radar. Fanning is an artist and producer. Anyone who works with country artist Lindsay Ell is someone I want to see. He is well-diverse in the country music industry. Another highlight was his lead guitarist who would give Brad Paisley a run for his money. JT Hodges played at the same time as my Illinois friend Brett Elderdge. I hope Brett isn’t upset I missed most of his set. Hodges had a great set. He has a fun personality, which shows on stage, and he was kind enough to meet fans after his performance.
As a country music blogger, I never expected to find the country duo Sundy Best at the same festival as Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Gary Allan, and Jake Owen. This Kentucky duo blew my mind. I’m always looking for unique sounds and I found it in Sundy Best. Lead singer Nick Jamerson’s raspy voice has a hint of soul, bluegrass, and rock, while Kris Bentley’s cajon drumming was mesmerizing. Watch their performance of “Four Door” from the Next from Nashville stage.
Route 91 Harvest Festival in Vegas was a great experience. I met country music fans, country artists, and country music media. Reflecting on Route 91 leaves me with two thoughts for future festival experiences. First, see an artist you’ve never seen before. This artist might become your new favorite. Second, if you decide to wear cowboy boots, make sure you bring an extra pair of shoes. See you next year Vegas!