So CMT Canada / Corus Entertainment jumped into the world of Festivals this past weekend full force with CMT Music Fest. The inaugural event took place in Kitchener,home of the OHL Kitchener Rangers and then venue in which the big party was taking place Bingamens. For those of you that haven’t been lucky enough to attend Octoberfest in the KW area Bingamans has hosted some pretty epic parties in the past. Maybe not to this scale but this one was BIG.
The weekend kicked off on Friday night when the likes of Eric Ethridge, Kansas Stone and Ben Hudson warming up the crowd on what started off to be a beautiful summer’s day. When Meghan Patrick hit the Main Stage all I can say is it kind turned up a notch. As we have told you in the past this girl was born to entertain. The way she exudes confidence on stage matched with the crazy strong vocals kinda puts her in a different league. I giver her another year of performing to the masses and she will have honed that big stage show as well as Dierks or Jake Owen.
The boys in the James Barker Band were up next over on the Maple Leaf Stage (aka 2nd stage). To be honest I LOVED THIS STAGE! It had a kick ass theme as the backdrop and the stage wasn’t anywhere near as big which made you feel closer to the action. And with the Lawn Chair Lazy hitmakers they brought a party. If you haven’t seen these guys live yet they are a MUST by the end of the summer trust us.
And just as James and the boys were wrapping up one of the hottest duo’s out of Nashville took to the main stage. Bros. Osborne tore up the MainStage and if you don’t have Pawn Shop the fellas debut album it is defiantly a MUST OWN if you love country music. The slick lyrics and killer jammin’ made for a hell of a set in Kitchener. Easily one of our favorite sets of the day.
And with that said things started to take a turn for the worse weather wise. The clouds moved in as Andrew Hyatt took to the Maple Leaf stage and rocked out a spirited set before everyone was evacuated from the grounds. Now the evacuation was for safety reasons as there had been high wind and heavy rain warnings for the area. The folks at CMT handled it extremely well and having to cancel Lindi, Kip & Eric from gracing the stage sucked. But was a smart decision to keep the fans safe. So it was an early night but it just allowed the fans to rest up for Day 2.
Day 2 kicked off on the main stage with a guy that I have been watching via YouTube over the last 6 months in Drake White. If you are not familiar with Drakes music you will be. With his strong live performance and a new album (Spark) hitting the streets in August. We got a feeling’ this guy is gonna make waves.
Over on the Maple Leaf stage Them Dang Rattlers kicked off the day with another fantastic set. We were lucky enough to see the boys last weekend down at Trackside where they burnt a hole in the stage being so hot. The fans ate up their set and from the reaction of the band they were pleased with their performance.
It was then time for Leah Daniels to follow up the Rattlers on the Maple Leaf stage. Leah put together a solid set in front of a strong crowd. Having spoken to Leah earlier in the day we knew she was psyched to be playing this show. Being an Ontario girl growing up just down the road in Newmarket. Kitchener was pretty much a home gig for Leah and to see the support was pretty awesome.
Kira Isabella then took to the main stage and I am serious in saying this girl is seriously getting better with every performance. Having worked with Kira last year at another festival and then seeing what she brought to the stage at CMT Music Fest it was pretty amazing. Watching her grow and gain confidence in her live performance is a pretty cool thing to witness with artist as they mature and Kira defiantly has matured in that department. The Ottawa native had the crowd bopping and from her reaction up on stage she was feeding off the love of the crowd.
I had to leave the main stage to run back over and check out what I felt was the easily the best set of the entire festival with the boys of The Washboard Union. Now I had never actually had a chance to see the boys perform a full set before but WOW, they nailed it. The fans that had gathered around the Maple Leaf stage were treated to a hell of a set from the boys from the West Coast. With their current single “Shot of Glory” getting added to Country Radio on a daily basis it’s nice to see some real country boys gettin’ the recogonition they deserve. They will be back in the London area for CCMA week and if you have a chance be sure to catch them then.
Then it was back over to the main stage to see one of Canada’s best Hillbilly Rock bands with The Road Hammers. Now these fellas have had a busy week starting out in Calgary playing Nashville North for The Stampede and then out to PEI to play Cavendish and ending on Saturday night on the main stage of CMT Music Fest. We had a chance to sit and chat with the guys briefly before they hit the stage and we knew they were pumped to get out and do their thing. Cranking out hits like Mud and I’ve Been Everywhere the crowd was soaking it up. Truly one of Canada’s best party bands there is no doubt about that.
Headlining the Maple Leaf stage was Cold Creek County. Another band that has grown immensely in popularity over the last 12 months. With the bands current single Beer Weather climbing the charts the crowd had grown to the largest we had seen at the Maple Leaf stage all weekend. The fellas had just played in PEI the day before but you would never tell with the energy they brought to the stage. Hammering through Our Town and Till The Wheel Come Off definelty put a smile on the faces in the crowd. One person I was standing rather close to said that he had never seen the band live but couldn’t wait to see them again. I think that is par for the course. Cold Creek is slowly gaining a loyal following and CMT Music Fest was lucky to have them.
Over on the main stage Canadian Icon Tom Cochrane brought the house down with a rockstar performance. I have been fortunate to have seen Tom on 4 or 5 occasions now and even had the pleasure of chatting with him for an interview last year. As stated above Tom is an Icon in Canada and when you heard the crowd sing along to “Life is A Highway” you almost wondered if the night should end there. Always a win when you get to see Tom Cochrane and Red Rider and CMT Music Fest did the fans a favour with Tom hitting the stage. But that was just the Fireball Shot to get you to the next part of the night.
The headliners for Saturday night were none other than the Zac Brown Band. Due to artists request media other than CMT were not able to photograph the band. However, we can tell you that if you haven’t seen the Zac Brown Band you better put them on your bucket list. These boys are utterly amazing musician and I could use every musical cliche in the world with these guys. But I will just use one ZBB Rock. Plain and simple these guys put on one of the best Live shows I have ever seen. And Saturday night in Kitchener was no different. Weather it it was the killer cover of The Who’s Babe O’Riely or the spirited Chicken Fried. They delivered to a crowd that was dying to see these “Southern Boys” perform and they got what they asked for and more. Again ZBB are definealty a band you want to add to your Bucketlist.
As for the festival itself the layout was great the 2 stages were well spaced out but not a 10 min walk away from the main stage. Maybe a few more food vendors and a couple more washrooms at the bottom of the hill but all minor stuff that will be worked out for next year. We want to thank Corus Entertainment / CMT for having us along for the ride. To all the artists we had a chance to catch up with over the course of the weekend we thank you for your support as well.
Corey Kelly / @CoreyKelly76 (Come on don’t be shy give me a follow on Twitter. Click it you know you wanna)
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