A long list of major country music festivals, including LakeShake, Faster Horses, Watershed and this weekend’s Route 91 Harvest Festival are shining the spotlight on new talent via the “Next From Nashville” stage. That’s where up-and-comers are given a chance to introduce their music in between sets by the veteran acts. Singer-songwriter Courtney Cole says a “Next From Nashville” invitation can result in a big boost of an artist’s fanbase.
“They do a really good job, the way they position the stages and the time slots,” she tells Rolling Stone Country. “A big artist will play on the main stage, and while they’re setting up for the next act, they’ll do Next From Nashville. So while everyone’s going to get drinks, they’re passing by the stage. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of new fans that way. I really appreciate the way they support new artists.”
Cole, who toured with Miranda Lambert last year and is next headed out on the road with Eric Paslay, will take a detour to Las Vegas this weekend for Route 91. She teamed with us to make a playlist celebrating country music’s big Sin City takeover. Listen to her eclectic mix below, which includes good-time songs by artists ranging from Brett Eldredge and Sam Hunt to Katy Perry and Michael Jackson.
“I used to make mixtapes on burnable CDs, so this brought back great memories for me,” says Cole. “I kept it fun, and I tried to throw in some gambling themes!”
Joining Cole on Route 91 Harvest Festival’s Next From Nashville stage this weekend are Lucie Silvas, Aubrie Sellers, William Michael Morgan, Aaron Watson, Aaron Lewis, Ryan Hurd, Runaway June and several more rising stars. The main stage boasts performances by Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Little Big Town, Chris Young, Martina McBride, Dustin Lynch and David Nail, among many others. See a full lineup here, and get tickets here.