8 Unforgettable Moments From the 2016 Taste of Country Music Festival
Two dozen country artists played to more than 50,000 country-loving fans during the three-day Taste of Country Music Festival over the weekend weekend. Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock and Jake Owen each headlined a night, with some of the strongest opening acts in Nashville setting the table for them.
Surprises? We had 'em. From unexpected covers to previously unheard new music to five new members getting added to one of country's most popular trios (okay, that was us), ToC Fest 2016 kept fans close to the stage guessing and fans in the campground rushing to fill space on the hill. The fourth-annual camping and country festival again proved to be the biggest and best in the northeast. Here are eight memorable highlights.
Neal McCoy's Heavy Metal Take on Sam Hunt
Wow! That was unexpected. Fifty-seven-year-old Neal McCoy not only covered the hippest man in country music, he took Sam Hunt’s "House Party" and turned it into a heavy metal song. His keyboard player strapped on a keytar (one of two of the night), and McCoy delved into a deep, growling vocal.
Big & Rich Salute a Soldier
They do it every night, but that doesn't make it any less special. During Friday night's set, Big & Rich brought a member of the United States military on stage, let him tell his story and gave him a shot of whiskey. The stirring tribute that leads into "8th of November" is what country music is all about. Prior to the show, the duo (and Cowboy Troy) talked with Taste of Country about how this got started and about working on new music.
Old Dominion Share a Stage With Kenny Chesney
Collaborations were hard to find at the 2016 Taste of Country Music Festival, but Old Dominion sharing a stage with Chesney was special. They sang "Save It for a Rainy Day" together and then separated so Chesney could close his lengthy set to a mountaintop packed full — seriously packed — of country music fans.
The Cadillac Three Become the Cadillac Eight!
Kid Rock's Rap/Country Mix
Kid Rock served notice that his was not a family show early on during Friday night's closing set. His mix of hip-hop and rock was laced with naughty words. Those near the front loved every moment, while many near the back waited for hits like "Picture," "All Summer Long" and "Cowboy." He played all three, returning to the stage to close his rockin' set with “Bawitdaba." There was no easing off the throttle for Rock — a man who admits he's confused how he keeps getting booked for country shows.
Jason Aldean Announced as the First 2017 ToC Festival Headliner!!!
Did It Really Snow?
Those from the northeast may scoff at calling the wispy form of precipitation that fell on Sunday night "snow," but it was visible and light and airy. Nothing covered the ground, but with temps uncharacteristically dropping into the low '40s and a strong wind blowing, the conditions were right during Jake Owen's beachy set.
Jake Owen Won’t Be Pushed Around by Mother Nature
Those afraid of the wind missed what became one of the 2016 Taste of Country Music Festival's most memorable sets. Jake Owen's mojo didn't shrink when he stepped barefoot onto the Hunter Mountain stage. His 90-plus-minute set leaned heavily on his new album, and then later, hits fans grew up loving him for. As the show wore on, he took off clothes instead of bundling up, as if standing up to Mother Nature on a chilly New York night.
See Photos of Jake Owen and More at the 2016 ToC Music Festival