It was a double Texas celebration May 7. Not only did the ninth annual iHeartCountry Festival celebrate country music’s hottest artists — including Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band, Maren Morris, Dustin Lynch, Jimmie Allen, Scotty McCreery, Cody Johnson and surprise guest Dierks Bentley. The event was also one of the first to be held at the new state-of-the-art Moody Center in Austin.
Hosted by iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated top on-air country personality, Bobby Bones, the star-studded event exclusively streamed globally for fans on eMusic Live while country music radio stations broadcasted the event live in their local markets and on iHeartRadio.com.
The Daytime Village at iHeartCountry Festival featured performances from Jimmie Allen, Lainey Wilson, Ryan Hurd, Ingrid Andress, Caroline Jones and Conner Smith.
The music of the iHeartRadio app came to life with an extraordinary lineup and several special moments, including Thomas Rhett opening the 2022 iHeartCountry Festival with an acoustic performance of songs from his new album, “Where It Started”, as well as some of his biggest hits. Joined by just one other guitarist due to a last minute COVID-19 infection in his band, Rhett kicked off his set with “What’s Your Country Song,” before moving into his new single, “Slow Down Summer.” During his set, he performed “Sixteen,” “Die a Happy Man,” “Half Of Me” and “Look What God Gave Her.”
Carrie Underwood dressed in denim and rhinestones – an ode to her upcoming new album – as she took over the stage for an incredible performance of several of her biggest hits and fan favorites over the years, including “Church Bells,” “Good Girl,” “Ghost Story,” “Jesus Take The Wheel,” “How Great Thou Art,” “Last Name” and “Before He Cheats.”
Returning to her home state, Maren Morris performed some of her biggest hits, opening her set with “Circles Around This Town,” before trading in her guitar for a tambourine to perform “I Can’t Love You Anymore,” the duet she penned with husband Ryan Hurd. Morris then took the crowd to church with a performance of “My Church” and one of her biggest hits, “The Bones.”
Jimmie Allen made his debut at the 2022 iHeartCountry Festival, kicking off his set with an energetic performance of “Make Me Want To,” while dancing around stage in his eye-catching glittery jacket before grabbing his guitar for an acoustic performance of “Down Home,” a song he wrote for his late father. Allen also performed “Best Shot,” and closed his set with “Freedom Was A Highway,” his feel-good anthem with Brad Paisley.
Texas native and fan favorite, Cody Johnson took the stage to perform three of his biggest hits, starting with “Dear Rodeo,” his duet with country legend Reba McEntire. He then moved into “Human,” which will serve as his next single off his new album, closing his set with “Till You Can’t.”
Dustin Lynch had everyone at this year’s iHeartCountry Festival in “Party Mode” throughout his entire performance. Lynch made a memorable entrance to the iconic Beastie Boys’ song “Fight For Your Right (To Party),” while chugging a beer with his bandmates. During his set, he also handed out a beer helmet and sombreros to nearby audience members who later participated in an on-stage game of beer pong. Lynch set the perfect tone for his unforgettable country anthems including “Small Town Boy,” “Where It’s At” and his perfect-for-summer song, “Tequila On A Boat.”
As if all those stars wasn’t enough, surprise guest Dierks Bentley joined Maren Morris and Daytime Village performer Lainey Wilson for the “We’re All Country” Guitar Pull powered by RAM Trucks. In an unforgettable performance, Morris and Wilson kicked off the set, each performing two songs — Morris sang “Rich” and “The Middle,” while Wilson performed “Never Say Never” and “Things A Man “Oughta Know.” Lainey then introduced the third star of the guitar pull: Bentley and helped him perform “Burning Man,” before he continued with “Beers On Me” and “I Hold On.”
Scotty McCreery opened up his set with “In Between,” and “Damn Strait,” while paying tribute to one of the biggest country stars ever to come from Texas, George Strait. He also performed his claim to fame, “Five More Minutes,” and concluded with “You Time.”
The Zac Brown Band pulled out all the stops for their iHeartCountry Festival set, performing some of their biggest hits, and a few incredible covers. The band kicked off with “Homegrown” and “Out in the Middle” before performing a mashup of “Colder Weather” and the Eagles’ “Take It To The Limit.” Then, the group performed a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” and finished the entire show with fan favorite, “Chicken Fried.”
From its iconic lineup to the electricity of its fans after the concert drought during the pandemic, iHeartCountry Music Festival ‘22 was a fun-filled night full of stunning music and unforgettable times.
Cover photo courtesy Getty Images for iHeartRadio
Tucker Flatt loves country music and can be found at as many country concerts as possible. He’s a member of the Class of 2026 at Texas A&M University.