Review by Taryn McElheran
Photos by Orest Dorosh & Nicole Wolfe
It’s crazy how quickly these festivals go by when it takes more than a year of planning, prepping and initiating such a large event. Every single year it seems that more and more people are joining in on the crowds to get the chance to listen to their favourite country artists. And let’s be honest – some of these artists don’t come up to Canada nearly as often as we’d like, so it’s a special treat to be able to share them with 30 thousand fans in the middle of a wide open field under the stars. I can only speak for myself but, I am grateful and thankful that there are people out there who are willing to do so much work to make sure that music fans from all over can enjoy their favourite artists year after year.
I’m a huge believer in people working together and the Boots and Hearts team did just that to ensure a successful run for 2017. Yes there were setbacks and some things could have been done differently, but overall the success rate was astronomical. From the dedication of the clean-up crew, the stage crew working tirelessly, to the concern of the security guards during the storm on Friday, each individual played a part in making Boots and Hearts Happen. I am honestly curious to see what behind the scenes looks like when it comes to running the show and how much work is actually put into something this large together.
Here are my takeaways from this year’s Boots and Hearts Music Festival:
- There was always an endless supply of music. From the Silverado Stage, and the SiriusXM House, to the Front Porch Stage and the Main Stage, you’d always find somebody singing a song. It made for the utmost opportunity for talent to be heard.
- There were over 100 thousand patrons in total over the weekend in Burl’s Creek celebrating their love of country music, with the highest number of those patrons attending on Sunday night, dancing along to Brett Eldredge, Luke Bryan and more.
- The Front Porch stage moved out from the vendor area, into the wooded area by the main stage. This was fantastic in a sense that it suited the name of the stage and gave it an authentic feel. What I didn’t like was the awkward angle it was on. When Dan + Shay did their impromptu performance at midnight after the rainstorm ruined their main stage plans, it was hard to see unless you were centre stage.
- The rainstorm stopped nobody – including Keith Urban, who probably fought tooth and nail to get out onto that stage. Even though a powerful thunderstorm rolled through Oro-Medonte, and delayed any form of performance for almost two hours, that didn’t stop fans from sticking around or the main act from playing. Keith Urban wanted to play, and so he did. He made sure everyone had a good time – even in the rain.
- There’s always a need/want for more female country artists. I felt that there was a great representation this weekend and they were all strong and powerful voices. These girls wanted to be heard and they were.
- The day-parking situation changed, making it easier for those who weren’t camping to walk into the venue. Previous years had patrons walking through the campgrounds and it was a rather long walk.
- There’s only so much you can do about the weather. After so many years of perfect weather, you’re bound to hit a blockade. At first I was worried about getting wet but then after a while (and talking to a friend who is a festival genius) I just embraced the water and had a little fun.
- Country fans are the best fans around. People may have their doubts about the music, and they may have their assumptions about the style of the songs, but they’d all be wrong. I have met some of the best people through this festival and it’s all thanks to the music.
- My favourite acts of the weekend: Delta Rae, The Abrams, Cold Creek County, Dani Strong, Brett Eldredge and Luke Bryan.
- Lastly, Luke Bryan knows how to swivel those hips. I can see why he was the most popular act of the weekend as he was able to give us the entire package: the moves, the talent and the charm. I can officially say that out of all the country shows I’ve been to (and I’ve been to A LOT), Luke Bryan has been the one to impress me the most.
I want to say thank you to the Boots and Hearts team for allowing us at Canadian Beats to cover this massive event once again. We truly love what we do and being able to work among some of the best musical greats in the world is always something we are grateful for. Festivals like this allow us to follow our passions and enjoy it while doing so. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I cannot wait to go back again in 2018 to do it all over again.
Until then my friends, be sure to thrive on the memories and cherish the new friends you’ve made. This festival is more than just the music; it’s about the experience, the memories and the love that grows out of it. Boots and Hearts will forever have a spot in my heart as well as many others in this world. And if you’re sitting here reading this and you didn’t go this year – don’t be stupid! Be sure you pick up your tickets for next year’s Boots and Hearts so you don’t miss out on any of the fun.
You can check out the entire Facebook album of pictures captured by Orest Dorosh and Nicole Wolfe at the festival. Highlights of Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 are also up on our blog.
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