Country star Phil Vassar has always wanted his songs to be more than just music. His goal, whether performing himself or writing songs for other artists, has been for the music to carry a message and make the listener feel something. He’ll be making that happen June 28 when he headlines the 2014 Taylor Summer Festival, a four-day event housed in 360-acre Heritage Park featuring outstanding entertainment, carnivals, fireworks and much more.

Vassar is scheduled to perform Saturday night, June 28, in the newly renovated Sheridan Center, now an open air marketplace and pavilion located along Pardee Road near North Line, just minutes from I-75 or I-94 and in the heart of the Downriver area. Vassar’s performance is certain to end with a bang because after he leaves the stage, Great Lakes Fireworks will take over, firing hundreds of colorful rockets into the night sky during the Masco Taylor Summer Festival Fireworks Display.

A Lynchburg, VA, native, Vassar has released eight albums during a storied career that has seen him claim ASCAP Songwriter of the Year, Billboard County Songwriter of the Year, countless hits as both a singer and songwriter and a load of awards that enabled him to launch his own Rodeowave Entertainment label.

He’s hit the Top 5 seven times including memorable songs like “Carlene,”  “Last Day of My Life,” and “American Children.” He topped the charts with “In A Real Love” and everyone’s favorite, “Just Another Day in Paradise.” 

In addition, Tim McGraw’s “My Next Thirty Years,” Alan Jackson’s “She’s Right On The Money” and Jo Dee Messina’s “Bye, Bye” and “I’m Alright” were written by Vassar. New artist David Nail’s hit, “The Sound of a Million Dreams,” also penned by Vassar, was named the No. 1 song in Billboard’s Top 10 Country Songs of 2012.

Taste of said last year that Vassar’s knack for finding irresistible hooks is as sharp today as it was a decade ago and offered that his new song, “Love Is Alive,” finds Vassar returning to a familiar formula for success.

For Vassar, his philosophy about songs has never changed during his time spent writing hits for himself and other artists, it’s important for a song to carry a message and make the listener feel something. 

“Songs should evoke something, whether it makes you happy and puts you in a good mood, or makes you cry and feel desperation…you know, whether you’re going through a marriage, or a divorce, or you’re in love or you hate somebody, or whatever it is… songs should evoke something,” says Vassar. “And if it’s just having a drink with your friends in the hot tub, that’s just as good as any song for me! I mean, I’ve had hits with every kind of song – ballads, mid-tempos, up-tempos and silly kinds of songs.  You can’t save the whales with every song you write, that’s too heavy for me,” he adds, laughing. “I honestly don’t think I’ve written my best songs yet,” he added.

Excited at the limitless possibilities of the freedom of running his own label, he is also extending the knowledge and experience he has gained over the years to other artists. The full-service record label/promotions/management company not only handles details of his own career but has promoted music by The Lumineers, Neal McCoy, and new artists Miss Willie Brown, High Valley, Old Dominion and Sam Riddle. 

In addition to Phil Vassar and the Masco Taylor Summer Festival Fireworks Display, there will be plenty of other attractions on Saturday’s itinerary. A carnival will be open from noon until about 11 p.m. Saturday directly in front of the Sheridan Center marketplace/pavilion and the City of Taylor plans to open the Heritage Park Petting Farm located nearby.

Joining Vassar on the Sheridan stage Saturday night will be Ty Stone – a self-proclaimed “powerhouse singer in an unprettified package” who combines the everyday with a chainsaw for a voice. A Detroit native, Stone motored onto the scene with “American Style,” his Top Dog/Atlantic Records debut, which was executive produced by his close friend, Kid Rock. said that “there are few singers in the music world as gifted as Ty Stone.”

The Taylor Summer Festival will open Thursday, June 26, with the carnival and food vendors open from 4-11 p.m. 

Friday, the carnival will continue from noon until 11 p.m., with Satisfaction, a Rolling Stones tribute band, and The Rock Show, a Journey tribute band, playing inside the Sheridan Center during the evening hours. 

Saturday, June 28, the carnival will run again from noon until 11 p.m. with the Heritage Park Petting Farm open during the daytime (hours TBA). Detroit-area rock/folk Americana band Joe Jaber and the Last Divide will open Saturday evening’s entertainment inside the Sheridan Center, followed by Ty Stone and Phil Vassar. The Masco Taylor Summer Festival Fireworks Display will take place directly after Vassar leaves the stage around 10 p.m.

The carnival will continue Sunday from 11 a.m. until close. Sunday is the rainout date for the fireworks display.

Tickets for Saturday night’s concert (Vassar/Stone/Jaber) are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.  Tickets information for the Saturday night concert are available online at or by phone at (800) 514-3849 beginning on May 16.

Tickets for Friday night’s tribute bands’ performance are $5 and available at the door only. 

Various ticket packages will be available onsite and in advance for the carnival including presale ticket vouchers by clicking on 30 days before the event. Paid parking will be available both inside and outside Heritage Park.

The Taylor Summer Festival is presented by the City of Taylor, Meridian Entertainment Group and CBS Radio, which includes 99.5 WYCD Detroit’s Country and 104.3 WOMC Detroit’s Greatest Hits. Joining Masco as a sponsor of the Taylor Summer Festival thus far are Taylor Ford, Taylor Chevrolet, McKinley Properties and DTE – with many additional sponsors still finalizing their plans.

Rolling Stone tribute band "Satisfaction."

Journey tribute band "The Rock Show."