The Boots and Hearts Festival rolled into Bowmanville, Ontario for the third year in a row, once again on the August 1st long weekend. With 35,000 festival goers in attendance (a whopping 10,000 more than last years festival), Boots and Hearts is the largest festival of its kind in Canada.
Campers were allowed to arrive as early as Wednesday evening to set up camp and get the party started. The party kicked off on Thursday night for the eager beavers wanting to start their weekend early with a lineup filled with homegrown talents, Dallas Smith and Brett Kissel. This was just a warm up for the excitement that was still to come.
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Friday saw sisters Britt and Carly McKillip, who form One More Girl, take the main stage, followed by Deric Ruttan, with acts such as She's Gone Country favourite Jordan McIntosh (checkout our interview with Jordan from last year's event), Jess Moskaluke, Marshall Dane and the weekend’s hosts High Valley (check out our interview with High Valleyfrom Boots & Hearts 2013 here) on the Fan Fair and Sirius XM stages.
It wouldn’t be Boots and Hearts without a little - okay, a lot - of rain. By the time that Friday evening rolled around, the skies looked like doomsday was upon us and by 6pm it was almost as dark as midnight. Unsure of what to expect, the She’s Gone Country girls loaded the car and headed east to Bowmanville despite the ominous sky. As we drove through a torrential downpour that included hail, yes, I said GIANT GOLF BALL SIZED HAIL, tripling our commute time; we finally made it to the media check in and headed for the festival gates. The weather got so bad the program had to be postponed, gates shut down and attendees were instructed to wait it out in their cars, tents or seek other shelter. We can only imagine the stress this would put on event organizers – the schedule is jam packed with no room for unexpected interruptions such as hail and lightning, they did a great job keeping everyone informed on social media and the Boots and Hearts app (our trusty tool to keep up to date on any schedule changes and postponed sets).
Toby Keith capped off the night with a powerhouse set of hits spanning his twenty-year career as a country music megastar. Fans heard hits like, Should’ve Been A Cowboy, I Love This Bar, and of course, Red Solo Cup. Keith proved why he is the legendary performer that he is – fans didn’t mind that they were standing in puddles with muddy boots to watch him as he sang hit after hit.
Stay tuned for Part Two of our Boots & Hearts Coverage and a Toby Keith contest giveaway to come!!!