Tuesday, 25 August 2015

REVIEW: Boots and Hearts Does It Again!!

Boots and Hearts Music Festival have done it again! She’s Gone Country was lucky enough to score tickets to the hottest show in town, Republic Live’s 4-day country music extravaganza. Now in its fourth year, Boots and Hearts has established itself as the premier festival of the summer in Canada – proving its popularity beyond its niche genre of country music  (It’s no surprise they were awarded Festival of the Year from the Canadian Country Music Association this year), they help make country music cool.

While Boots itself is in its fourth year, this was the inaugural festival at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds. Festival organizers made the move this year to expand the festival and meet the needs of the ever-growing 40,000 attendees. The move was a good decision – there was plenty of room for the festival to spread out (although this did mean a lot of walking!).

Click Read More below for more photos and highlights!!!

Many concertgoers chose to camp at the festival for the weekend, and we’re not sure if the real party happens at the stages or the campgrounds. To enhance the experience for campers this year, Boots featured a general store, information booth, daily farmers market, 24-hour food and beverage vendors, along with 24 hour servicing for showers, bathrooms and medical services. All sites were located within a close walking proximity along tree-lined walkways to the main festival grounds.  Admittedly, with all going on within the festival – we did not venture over to the campsites this year, but we’re feeling like we missed out on something great! There is camaraderie between the campers that was evident all throughout the festival. It seems they live by old adage, the more the merrier.

Boots and Hearts is divided into three main sections – Boomtown, Fan Fair Village and the Main Stage. The festival really is MASSIVE. Pro tip – make sure to read your festival map clearly to find out what stage you’re at when telling a friend to meet you somewhere! We may or may not have messed up our locations once or twice ;)

Boomtown features the Front Porch Stage – you can catch sets by local and emerging artists throughout the weekend and then at night, after the main stage shuts down, everyone heads over there for the Late Night Dance Party to party the night away! Boomtown also includes a multitude of yummy food trucks ranging from poutine to bbq to burritos, and so much more. Not to be outdone by the food options, Boomtown also includes some amazing shopping with unique local finds. She’s Gone Country most definitely did not leave empty handed, picking up a unique pair of leggings and a chic shawl! Pro Tip: Boomtown also features a FREEZIE stand – basically, the best thing they could have ever included, and yes, we made multiple trips for a freezie fix…. brilliant for a hot, sunny day spent in a field!

Fan Fair Village is your one stop shop for both artist merch and Boots and Hearts merch. It’s a great feature to have it all in one area, especially for a festival of this size! Also included in fan fair village are some super fun contests and games, activities – yes, the Share a Coke with van was on hand, special performances on the fan fair stage and, the pièce de résistance - meet and greets with all your favourite artists! How cool is that?!?!  We also have to give a shout out to Somersby for supplying us (and about 500 other people) with some sweet ponchos during the rain! A+ for being prepared when everyone else wasn’t and for sharing the wealth!

 This hawk was brought in to keep away the buzzards and seagulls.. we weren't sure how we felt about each other at first..

Jesse Labelle (old friend and She's Gone Country favourite - if you haven't had a chance to check him out, do yourself a favour and head over to www.jesselabelle.com or go HERE to pick up his single You Left Me) made the rounds during the event playing almost everyday and every stage in the park! During his set at Fan Fair Village he even got to help facilitate a marriage proposal as a man that met his girlfriend (now fiancee, she said yes, btw) at a past festival came onstage to pop the question!! Also, love the Whiskey Jam shirt!!

Last but not least, there is the Main Stage; this is where all the magic happens! You can catch the hottest country acts of 2015 tearing up the stage. High Valley hosted. Performers this year included Brad Paisley, Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line as well as artists Justin Moore, Emerson Drive, Thomas Rhett, Dallas Smith, Chad Brownlee, High Valley, The Road Hammers, Frankie Ballard, David Nail, Maddie & Tae, Canaan Smith, Kira Isabella, The Stellas with Lennon and Maisy, Blackjack Billy, Old Dominion, Jess Moskaluke, Mackenzie Porter, Dylan Scott, Small Town Pistols, Wes Mack, Trinity Bradshaw, The Lovelocks, Leah Daniels, The Reklaws, Ty Baynton, Kaitlin Kozell, Them Dang Rattlers, Genevieve Fisher, Melissa Payne, Jesse Labelle, Kate Suhr, and Abby Stewart.

She’s Gone Country fave’s this year included: Eric Church (I mean, OBVIOUSLY, does it get any better?!?), FGL (we’ll always have a soft spot for their wallet chains, bling, frosted tips and sweet moves), Chad Brownlee (one of the nicest guys in country music – stay tuned for our interview coming soon!), Thomas Rhett (we were super impressed by his stage presence and energy! This guy is legit!), Lennon and Maisy (their voices are incredible, their harmonies gave me chills, they have pipes and are the real deal! Also – super sweet and super fun, stay tuned for our interview!), Emerson Drive stepped up to help fill out the main stage lineup after Little Big Town wasn't able to make the show due to Jimi Westbrook's vocal cord surgery & even welcomed a surprise appearance from Tebey (I was pretty impressed with myself that I seemed to know Emerson Drives entire song catalogue by heart… and what can I say, they put on a good show!).

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Canaan Smith and Frankie Ballard PACKED THE HOUSE over at the Front Porch Stage – they both have a real following here and we hope to see them next year on the Main Stage! Same goes for Leah Daniels, we are thrilled we got to catch her performance on the Front Porch Stage - her yodeling was impressive! Them Dang Rattlers – definitely one to watch…. we’ll be checking them out at the Ex later this summer, join us!

Sunday also featured the Gospel Brunch, presented by Youth Unlimited and hosted by Jason McCoy (of the Roadhammers). Fans enjoy their favourite gospel songs and hear stories about what inspires their favourite performers. Oh yeah, did we mention that there’s also a free pancake breakfast? Seriously, when will your fave festival FEED YOU!?

This festival does not disappoint. There is really something for everyone and there is so much going on that it’s almost impossible to take it all in! Congratulations to all the organizers on another successful year. We can’t wait to see how they top themselves next year!
-    Artist Lineup (never disappoints)
-    People Watching – worth the ticket price alone!
-    Boots and Hearts App was great for updates and staying informed
-    The VIP area was super cool this year. Clean, fun, thematic and definitely worth the extra $$. The bathrooms were luxurious and the food stations were awesome there too! Loved it!
-    Shopping in Boomtown – awesome! (Loved Sweet Cheeks leggings, I wish I had gotten another pair!!!)
-    Freezies – whoever booked this stand wins
-    So much to do, so little time! Tons of activities to keep you busy and entertained all weekend long
-    Driving in and out – was a BREEZE this year. Gone are the days of bumper to bumper cars lined up for miles waiting to get in. This was a HUGE win this year for Boots and Hearts and making the switch in venues was totally worth it for this reason alone.

-    No announcement of 2016 headliner was a bummer!
-    More garbages needed in the Main Stage area. There were none that we could see which resulted in many concertgoers ditching their garbage on the ground. Not nice and not pretty.
-    While there were tons of porta potties, they were all quite a hike from the mainstage, would have been nice to have some a little closer! (Would have prevented the idiots using the fence as a mass urinal)
-    The douchebag who climbed on top of the stage just before FGL’s performance to close out Sunday night. I know he’s got most of the fault in this, but it’s worrisome that he was able to get by security unnoticed so easily and climb the entire stage before festival organizers were alerted and reacted. The entire situation was a major buzz kill for many, myself included. We watched a handful of girls pass out/cry from the trigger and trauma he caused. Not cool and here’s hoping he’s facing some hefty fines and getting the medical attention he so clearly needs.

Check out our highlight video below!!! Stay tuned for a post with more photos from the festival, our interview with Chad Brownlee and Lennon & Maisy still to come!!!!

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