Faster Horses adds features for a better 2016 show

Ticket sales for Faster Horses 2016 have already surpassed those of a year ago when sales were cut off early as organizers were overwhelmed by an unexpectedly high demand.

The organizers say they are ready this year.

“We turned it off because I wanted to make sure we had the staff and we had the security and we had the customer service,” says Brian O’Connell, Faster Horses founder and president of the country touring event for Live Nation. “Everybody wants numbers, numbers, numbers, and I keep saying: ‘Experience, experience, experience.’ ”

Michael Hobby of A Thousand Horses will perform at 3:55 p.m. Saturday on the main stage.

To enhance that experience, the festival established two campgrounds for the growing number of attendees who will camp around the site at the Michigan International Speedway.

Other amenities added include a new mobile app that helps attendees organize their music show schedules and keep track of companions with a feature called “Friend Finder.” An expanded “Made In Michigan Marketplace” offers a robust array of local merchandise. And a new Budweiser Campfire Kickoff Party is scheduled for Thursday night for campers who arrive early for the festival, which formally opens Friday.

O’Connell likens this fourth year of the festival to graduating from high school, noting that he and his team have learned a lot since the inaugural event. And with the increasing number of first-timers attending the festival, he says there’s more the organizers could do to improve the experience for them and for those who have been around since “freshman year.”

“I’m looking forward to graduating with our doctorate,” O’Connell says. “I’m looking forward to this being a generational event.”

Patrick Dunn