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Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert + More Kick Off 2014 Taste of Country Music Festival [PICTURES]

Taste of Country Music Fest 2014
Joshua Timmerman for Taste of Country Music Festival

Dierks Bentley and Brantley Gilbert led the charge to get the party started at the 2014 Taste of Country Music Festival on Friday night (June 13).

Eric Paslay, Blackjack Billy and Gwen Sebastian all gave strong performances on the opening night of the festival’s second year at Hunter Mountain in New York, followed by Gilbert, the first of the night’s two headliner.

Gilbert turned in an energetic set that featured 21 songs, kicking things off with a bang with ‘Kick It in the Sticks.’ He followed up with ‘Hell on Wheels’ and ‘My Kinda Party,’ delivering unrelenting good times and high energy until a three-song acoustic medley in the middle of his set.

Brantley Gilbert ToC Fest 2014
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival

The performance included two songs from Gilbert’s current ‘Just As I Am’ album, ‘Bottoms Up’ and ‘Small Town Throwdown,’  and also ran through ‘Take It Outside,’ ‘Read Me My Rights’ and more. Gilbert wrapped up his set with a cover of Bon Jovi‘s ‘Wanted Dead or Alive,’ as well as his first No. 1 hit, ‘Country Must Be Country Wide.’

Dierks Bentley took the stage as the rains that had been threatening the area finally came sweeping in, drenching the audience. That wasn’t enough to deter the crowd, which had swelled to more than 20,000 eager fans who took in Bentley’s set.

Dierks Bentley ToC Fest 2014

 

The veteran performer showed why he is one of the most entertaining live acts in country music today, engaging the crowd with past songs like ’5-1-5-0′ and ‘Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do,’ as well as covers of OneRepublic‘s ‘Counting Stars’ and Bon Jovi‘s ‘Living on a Prayer.’

Bentley also included songs from his recently released ‘Riser’ album, and even pulled one lucky fan onstage to drink a beer with him during his show (pictured above).

The festival continues Saturday night with performances from Randy Houser, Leah Turner and Craig Morgan, as well as headliner Brad Paisley.

See more pictures from Friday below.

Gwen Sebastian
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival
Blackjack Billy
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival
Eric Paslay ToC Fest
Joshua Timmerman for Taste of Country Music Festival
Dierks Bentley ToC Fest 2014
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival
Brantley Gilbert ToC Fest 2014
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival

Next: See the Complete Lineup for 2014 Taste of Country Music Festival

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