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Top 5 Breakout Artists of Festival Season

Thomas Rhett Crowd
Chris Cleary for Taste of Country Music Festival

Festival season means one thing: lots of live country music. And while we love seeing existing superstars on stage under the spotlights, there’s something special about those breakout artists; artists that we knew were good, but blew us away when they hit the live stage.

Here are our picks for the Top 5 breakout artists of festival season!


Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Randy Houser

Taste of Country Music Festival
 
 

Randy Houser knows how to step up to the plate even in less-than-ideal circumstances. The singer was scheduled to play at the 2014 Taste of Country Music Festival, but on his way to Hunter Mountain, his bus broke down. Most artists would have been flustered -- especially after the breakdown left Houser's crew unable to get his gear to the festival. But Houser showed up with his acoustic guitar and a piano, artfully captivating 20,000 wild fans for a full hour. The 'Like a Cowboy' singer certainly knows how to use his deep, resonating voice and commanding stage presence to his advantage!

 
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Ashley Monroe

CMA Fest Showcase
 
 

Ashley Monroe has made a name for herself over the past couple years, releasing her first solo album in 2013 and captivating as a member of country trio Pistol Annies. Although fans know Monroe is a fantastic singer-songwriter, she really blew away every attendee at the CMA Fest showcase, where she played for an hour with everyone's rapt attention. Monroe proved her rapport with the crowd, vulnerability and tantalizing voice is more than enough to keep the spotlight on her for quite a while.

 
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

Thomas Rhett

Country Jam
 
 

Thomas Rhett, son of talented songwriter Rhett Akins, has already found fans through his able song penning -- he wrote hits like Florida Georgia Line's ''Round Here' in addition to his own songs 'Something to Do With My Hands' and 'Beer With Jesus.' In a recent appearance at 2014 Country Jam, Rhett's performance sparked so much talk, he was the buzz act of the day ... and one of our Top 5 of the season. The Georgia native also helped close out the 2014 Taste of Country Music Festival in a grand-slam kind of way. Based on his performances, Rhett is certainly a country newcomer well on his way to being a headliner act!

 
Rick Diamond
Rick Diamond

Chase Rice

Taste of Country Music Festival
 
 

Chase Rice's hot single 'Ready Set Roll' sets the tone for his skyrocketing career. He lit up the stage at the 2014 Taste of Country Music Festival and gave fans a polished performance that proved he's not just skilled at radio hits, but he's also awesome in live-action. Rice called that show "one of the best Sunday shows" he's ever had -- and for good reason. From the moment he emerged onstage, the crowd was rowdy and excited, charging up faster than you could say 'ready, set, roll.' Rice also added his live music expertise to the three-day 2014 Country Jam Festival in Montana.

 
Michael Loccisano
Michael Loccisano

Dan Shay

First-Ever iHeartRadio Country Festival
 
 

Country duo Dan + Shay know how to get a crowd involved, and they have enough incredibly catchy songs to make anyone sing along at a concert. The first-ever iHeartRadio Country Festival in 2014 was no exception. The boys' dreamy looks and just as dreamy harmonies make them a must-see act. After all, there aren't many duos that can blend their voices and styles as effortlessly as Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney!

 

Next: Top 5 Country Women to Watch

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