Exclusive Photo Gallery: Backstage at the 2017 Country LakeShake Festival

Summer music festivals have a great way of bringing fans together to enjoy some of the best artists music has to offer. With country music seemingly becoming the cornerstone of festival season, Sounds Like Nashville flew from Nashville, TN to Chicago, IL to attend the 3rd annual Country LakeShake Festival.

Held at the Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, this year’s lineup brought together a slew of country music’s biggest superstars, like Thomas Rhett, Miranda Lambert and Rascal Flatts, with an added touch of Music City’s brightest rising stars, like Ashley McBryde, Walker Hayes and Lucie Silvas.

During our time at the festival, SLN had a chance to catch up with many of the artists on the bill to talk about some of their favorite aspects of playing festivals during the summer months. In addition to our chat, we captured each of the artists with an homage to the past with the original Instagram: a Polaroid camera.

See the vintage portraits and what artists had to say about festivals from this year’s Country LakeShake Festival below…

Brothers Osborne; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Brothers Osborne; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“Festivals are cool as shit because everyone’s just coming out having a good time. Usually people have taken off several days from work, so they don’t have to worry about wrapping it up for the next day, and people just come out here and just get wild.” – TJ Osborne of Brothers Osborne

Lucie Silvas; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Lucie Silvas; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“Just seeing everybody, seeing the other artists. Also, for me, I’m quite new to the festival circuit in America so there’s a huge novelty. But I love it, and it’s just the atmosphere. I think everyone’s got a huge range of people that they can come and see.” – Lucie Silvas

Walker Hayes; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Walker Hayes; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“First of all you got to have good food. Good weather. There’s obviously water nearby this one. So that definitely helps. You got that breezy-like island feel. You got to have beer too, obviously. People that love music… Those are the ingredients of a good music festival.” – Walker Hayes

Michael Ray; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Michael Ray; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“I love hitting the tailgates if they’ve got them. I love walking around too, especially when they have a Next From Nashville stage, like they do here, and seeing some of my buddies coming up and all the people that are working super hard and kinda checking out the whole festivities of the place.” – Michael Ray

Drake White; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Drake White; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“If you’re indoors at a bar, it’s going to be a different show than if you’re outside, and that’s what nature does. Nature, birds flying around, clouds going over, the sun coming down through and illuminating fans. It makes people feel different ways and it gives you, it’s really a spiritual thing, when your feet [are] planted outside and you’re rocking and rolling and planes are flying over, there’s material for me.” – Drake White

Kelleigh Bannen; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Kelleigh Bannen; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“I feel like festivals are a really good temperature read on fans and what are they passionate about right now, what are they into. It’s a fun time to sort of change things up, as far as your set, and just kind of being playful with it.” – Kelleigh Bannen

The Cadillac Three; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

The Cadillac Three; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“We love playing these festivals because we don’t get to see a lot of our friends, the other artists, because we’re always on the road. We don’t get to see each other in town so [festivals] bring everybody together, you get to drink beers and kind of have a party.” – Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three

Thomas Rhett; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Thomas Rhett; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“There’s such a wide variety of artists that get to play, and there’s such a wide mixture of fans, that I think the biggest difference between playing your own headlining show and a festival, is that you’re playing in front of people that may not have come and seen you, rather than being at the festival. So it’s a really good opportunity, especially for new artists, I think to make a bunch of fans. And for artists like me to kinda, hopefully make a couple more fans that had no idea who I was, or who just had a great time at the concert, and didn’t expect to.” – Thomas Rhett

Bailey Bryan; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Bailey Bryan; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“I’m excited to be able to play in a festival atmosphere. I’ve gotten to play little shows here and there at little venues, but what I’ve learned since getting to play some bigger festivals, is that this atmosphere is so different than any other one. You will not be at any other show where the people are more stoked to be there than at a place like LakeShake or Watershed, or any of these festivals. Everyone is so like, ‘Oh my goodness, I get to see all my favorite artists in one place!’ And I get that, ’cause I’ve been that person, going to a festival, feeling that way.” – Bailey Bryan

Chase Rice; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Chase Rice; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“We’re only playing 55 minutes, we usually play about a hour and 55 minutes sometimes. I try to just hit them in the mouth the entire 55 minutes. We don’t slow it down when it’s that sort of a set, so we just try to give the most energy we can for every second, while we’re up there.” – Chase Rice

Ashley McBryde; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Ashley McBryde; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“For outdoor stuff, it’s really gotta be on the upside and really a word that we can’t use but it rhymes with mother truckers. Where every song is pow, pow, pow, pow. So that by the end of that set, people are Googling you and trying to figure out what just happened. Why were all five of those songs just like this? And they’ll dive in and find the slower stuff on their own.” – Ashley McBryde

Smithfield; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Smithfield; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“I think the fans. We get to finally get out and play our music for people, and we get to see the reach The Highway has had for us, and here I’m seeing [them singing] ‘Hey Whiskey’ and ‘Nothing But the Night’ back to us it’s like the most incredible part to me. It’s like ‘wow, this is really working and people are really digging our music’ and that’s really cool.” – Jennifer Fiedler of Smithfield

High Valley; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

High Valley; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“I wonder if it comes from the old school church picnic vibe where Sundays after church, everybody would bring food and get together and people would play baseball and play music and hang out in small towns. It’s almost like country people grew up that way and now, as adults, they wanna all get together and still hang out that way. I think it’s the best. If you’re a fan and you can buy one ticket and see that many different bands, pretty good bang for your buck. That’s the right way to do it.” – Brad Rempel of High Valley

Drew Baldridge; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Drew Baldridge; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“The country music fans, they’re just the best. You would never see this in the pop world. You would never see people out camping for weeks to watch show after show after show and that’s what these fans do and it’s unbelievable.” – Drew Baldridge

Dan + Shay; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Dan + Shay; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“It’s good to be with friends. There’s not a lot of times where you get together with a lot of your friends that are artists because everyone tours all year long. It’s good to hang out with them and watch the shows. We’re fans of country music. We get out there, we’ll be partying out there in the crowd tonight.” – Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay

Morgan Wallen; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Morgan Wallen; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“I like the atmosphere [at festivals]. Laid back, everybody kind of just in a good mood and by the time the nighttime comes, everybody’s a little bit lit up and ready to go. I love everything about it.” – Morgan Wallen

Seth Ennis; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Seth Ennis; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“It’s cool, especially for a new guy like me, to be able to play my set and then come to the main stage, and then watch and learn from the people that are doing it on a bigger scale and try to put some of their stuff into my game. I love it.” – Seth Ennis

Ryan Kinder; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Ryan Kinder; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“[I love] seeing all my friends from Nashville that I never see because I’m always on the road. This is one of my favorite places to play in Chicago.” – Ryan Kinder

Craig Campbell; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Craig Campbell; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“Back when I used to play with Luke [Bryan], one thing, and this is even before he was Luke, he was all about entertaining the crowd. And one thing he told me, he went, ‘Man, that’s all they want. They just want to have fun.’ And part of that is being able to play songs that they know, so they can sing along. And keeping it full of energy. So that’s what I try to make sure that when I’m picking out the songs, ‘Are they going to be bobbing their head to this? Waving their arms? Is it going to make them feel good?’ And that’s part of it.” – Craig Campbell

Adam Craig; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

Adam Craig; Photo by Katie Kauss/Sounds Like Nashville

“I think that people go crazy over country music is just because for the most part it’s songs about life. I mean, you get out of any major city, 20 miles, 30 miles, and it’s just as country as you can get. I think they just flock to country festivals because it’s their favorite thing. They live it.” – Adam Craig