The weather may have been slightly cooler on Saturday at Boots and Hearts but the entertainment was red hot. From Tomi Swick to headliner Blake Shelton and a handful of incredibly talented Emerging Artists it was a day to remember.
Our day started off with a stop by the SiriusXM Fan Fair to catch Tomi Swick, Tomi is a Juno Award winning artist based out of Hamilton, Ontario. Tomi’s sound is best described as bluesy rock with a country feel to it. Whatever you want to label it Tomi is simply an incredible performer and a must for any music lover to see live.
Following Tomi we made it up to catch the 5th Annual Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase…you may be familiar with some of it’s past contestants Tim Hicks, Tebey, Jordan McIntosh, James Barker Band, The Reklaws, Abby Stewart to name just a few. As we’ve done in previous years we featured all 7 of the Emerging Artists and yesterday the 7 were narrowed down to 3 and then 2 hopefuls for the coveted prize which includes a spot on the Main Stage opening for Chase Rice. The two finalists were Jesse Gold and Vanessa Marie Carter, watch our social media this afternoon to find out which one of them takes home the prize.
Following the Emerging Artists it was a trip down to the Main Stage to catch an powerhouse performance by JoJo Mason. This man knows how to rock a stage and put on an incredible show, definitely look forward to catching him again soon.
After a short break for lunch we were back at the Main Stage for the incredibly talented Madeline Merlo. Madeline has been on my bucket list for a number of years now and I’m so happy that I finally caught up to her. She kicked off her show with an incredibly powerful performance of her single War Paint which helped get the small crowd fired up. This girl is nominated for the Female Artist of the Year at the CCMA’s and let me tell ya she’s gonna make it really tough for the other nominees. Madeline is now on my must see again list and I hope that happens sooner than later. The only disappointment I had was the lack of support she got from concert goers, the crowd that came out was far to small for such a talent.
Following Madeline it was a trip up to the packed Front Porch Stage for Aaron Pritchett. His show had already begun when we arrived and boy did the crowd show up for him. Aaron had the crowd wrapped around his finger and they were loving every minute of it. We were able to surprise a couple of fans with an impromptu giveaway of signed copies of Aaron’s new album The Score which is always fun.
Immediately following Aaron it was back down to the Main Stage where we would spend the rest of our evening first for Dean Brody and then for the headliner Blake Shelton.
I’ve been a huge fan of Dean Brody’s for a number of years now and have been so lucky to catch him a number of times over the past year but I have to say that last night’s performance was by far the best yet. After a long day on our feet we were sitting inside Daisy Duke’s Barn in the VIP area listening to the show when Dean started playing the first notes to the song “Friday”, of course this is a song he recorded with Alan Doyle. At that moment it occurred to me that Alan Doyle was on site, he had just performed on the Main Stage before Dean and no sooner had I run out of the building to get a view of the stage when Alan walked out onto the stage. I wasn’t the only one that was thrilled by the duet, the massive crowd sprung to life with a roar that I’m sure they could hear from Barrie or Orillia.
Soon it was time for Blake, Blake has been on my bucket list for many years and, much like it had been with Dean Brody for a long time, we kept missing each other. He performed at RBC Bluesfest a few years ago and I missed it by one night, he performed at Boots and Hearts the same year and again I missed him but not this year. 2016 would be the year, the year I finally caught up with Blake.
The only word that I can use to describe Blake Shelton’s performance is WOW and even that fails to do it justice. He was funny, charming, charismatic and sounded exactly like his recordings. He played the perfect combination of old and new from his first single, “Austin”, all the way to his latest single “She’s Got A Way with Words”. The people showed up to and Blake noticed it, first he said there were 100,000 people and then by the end of the night his estimate had swelled to 350,000…in reality it was likely around 45,000 which is still an incredible crowd. At one point the entire crowd turned on the flashlights on their phones (the modern day lighter effect) and the entire venue lit up. From our vantage point overlooking the crowd it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. And then at the end of the night Blake shared one of our tweets in his thank you to the fans at Boots and Hearts…lets just say our Twitter has yet to stop going crazy so thanks for that Blake, hopefully next time we’ll have a chance to say hello and thank you in person.
So there you have it, 3 days in the history books which means that today is the final day. I guess all good things must come to an end even though many of us wish they didn’t have to. It’s going to be another incredible day and night of music here at Boots and Hearts. 2014 Emerging Artist contender Kaitlyn Kozell returns to the festival this year kicking things off on the Front Porch stage at 12:30 this afternoon. Over at the Fan Fair the incredible Jessica Mitchell will, no doubt, wow the crowd starting at 1pm and at the same time last year’s Emerging Artist winner the James Barker Band will hope the crowd isn’t too “Lawn Chair Lazy” and comes down to the Main Stage from their campgrounds for their set.
Other must see acts today include: Another Emerging Artist Contender, Jordan McIntosh (Front Porch Stage at 1:40) Jason Benoit (Main Stage 2:15), a guaranteed good time will be had at the Fan Fair with Jason McCoy at 3:00pm, River Town Saints are a MUST see, they hit the Front Porch Stage at 3pm as well. At 3:45 the action moves to the Main Stage for Lindsay Ell followed by Dylan Scott at 4:15 over on the Front Porch. As evening sets in Jason Blaine hits the Main Stage at 5:15 and Diamond Rio headlines the Front Porch Stage at 5:45. From that point on the action is all at the Main Stage with the Emerging Artist winner followed by Chase Rice at 7 and then headliner Tim McGraw at 9pm.
See you at Boots and Hearts! Plenty more photos to come from the entire weekend, stay tuned! For full lineup info and last minute changes visit www.bootsandhearts.com