Wild Horses Music Festival Delivers a Solid Evening at Petco Park

A few nights ago, under a brisk and clear San Diego sky, Zach Bryan closed the Wild Horses Music Festival at Petco Park, delivering a performance that will linger in the memories of most attendees. He headlined a well curated lineup: The Silent Comedy, Sierra Ferrell and Trampled by Turtles.

The Silent Comedy (photo by Rachael Polack)

Opening the festival were local heroes Joshua and Jeremiah Zimmerman; the brothers founded The Silent Comedy several years ago and the quartet is going from strength to strength. This likely was the band’s biggest gig, in terms of venue size. The stepped up with aplomb.

Sierra Ferrell (Rachael Polack)

Sierra Ferrell (Rachael Polack)

Sierra Ferrell followed, and the many musical miles she has traveled affords her an assurance onstage that is infectious. From West Virginia, she has synthesized an appealing stew of styles, resulting in a unique jazzy Americana that has caught the ears of a growing following. Prior gigs on her tour schedule before touching down in San Diego included the Grammy Museum in LA and The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. She and her band were superb.

Trampled By Turtles (Felicia Garcia)

Trampled By Turtles (Felicia Garcia)

Known for their vibrant amalgamation of bluegrass, folk and rock, Trampled by Turtles had the audience dancing and smiling throughout their entire performance. Despite being a devoted fan of Caamp, I believe that Trampled by Turtles ultimately turned out to be a great choice for the festival.

Experiencing Trampled by Turtles live is a must for those who relish lively bluegrass. Their energetic and foot-stomping melodies, coupled with the full band exuding pride in their roots on stage, seamlessly transport you to the core of the Appalachian mountains. Stand out songs from their very full set included “All the Good Times Are Gone” and “Midnight on the Interstate,” the lead track on their 2012 album Stars and Satellites.

The Wild Horses festival was well-produced, with logical crowd flow and friendly vibes.

By the time Bryan arrived on stage, it seemed that every seat in the baseball stadium was full.

Zach Bryan (Felicia Garcia )

Setting the tone for the evening, Bryan kicked off the concert with the soulful strains of “Open the Gate,” immediately captivating the audience. He quickly moved into the slower, more soulful “God Speed,” setting the tone for a night of heartfelt melodies and raw emotions. Bryan paid homage to his roots with a personal favorite “Highway Boys,” taking a moment to appreciate the band that influenced his musical journey. “Quittin Time” was another highlight, featuring a banjo solo that added a touch of bluegrass flair, a flavor present through the rest of his performance.

Zach Bryan (Felicia Garcia )

The crowd was captivated by “Tshimingo,” a poignant song focusing on the journey home, particularly resonant for those in the Navy. Bryan was an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy for 8 years before he was honorably discharged to pursue his music career. No doubt the San Diego crowd had its share of servicemen.

“Oklahoma Smokeshow” amped up the energy, with everyone singing along and jumping to the infectious beat. Bryan was clearly channeling his inner Springsteen.

The TikTok trending song “Something in the Orange” was clearly a crowd favorite, to little surprise. Everyone was belting out the rhythmic lyrics while videotaping every second of the viral song, adding to the infectious virality.

Sierra Ferrell had performed a solid set earlier and returned to the stage to join Bryan as a guest performer for “Holy Roller,” adding a new dimension to an already electrifying night. As the concert rounded the clubhouse turn “Overtime” saw a mesmerizing guitar solo that had the crowd begging for more.

Wild Horses fireworks finale (Rachael Polack)

In a teasing moment, Bryan pretended to leave the stage before returning to sing the final rendition of “Revival,” leaving the audience in awe and bringing the concert to a triumphant close. Running through the chorus six times, Bryan introduced each band member, giving them the spotlight for an energetic solo. The crowd’s enthusiasm peaked at exactly the right time.

Fireworks surrounded the baseball stadium for the final minutes of the concert.

Photos courtesy of:

Rachael Polack


Felicia Garcia

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.