That’s a wrap. WOW, not really sure if there is a better way to say goodbye to the summer of 2016. With over 8 high profile country music festivals in Ontario this summer I can honestly say that Lucknow Music In The Fields wins top spot in my books. Before I dealve into the music side of things lets just touch on the people behind the festival that make such an incredible event happen. From the Executive team right down to the the parking and waste management crews they really kept a tight ship. With upwards of about 8000 people converging on the tiny town with HUGE Hearts it really makes for a magical weekend.
As for the music…
Things kicked off on Thursday night with a DJ and the Kingston Duo The Abrams. We didn’t make it out for the very 1st Kick Off but from some of the campers we spoke to we hear that it was a fantastic night of music. And gave the early campers some entertainment before Friday night.
Now lets talk about Friday Night. The line up had Sacha, The Lovelocks, Tebey and Dean Brody bringin’ the Music to the Fields on the beauty of a day. The gates opened shortly after 6pm and the country music junkies that wanted to be right at the stage were there early. The Lovelocks took the stage at 8pm as the campers made their way into the venue. The cool thing about this festival is that you can hear the music if you are in the RV Camping areas so the stage front may not be rammed through out the day. However the folks in the grounds are still listening and taking in the sounds while enjoying a game of flip cup or beer pong.
Having seen The Lovelocks perform on a couple of occassions this year it was cool to see them on the big stage at Lucknow. As mentioned with my Friday night wrap up. My favourite song was the girls new single Time After Time a cover of the timeless classic by Cyndi Lauper. The ladies just do it a little different and it sounds absolutely incredible live.
Next up was Tebey, and as mentioned he absolutely killed his set. He brought his own light show along with some really cool branded glow in the dark beachballs that had the folks in the front having a blast bopping them around during his set. And watching how the show he puts on has grown is pretty damn impressive. His soon to be single Old School was easily the highlight of the set for me. I am so looking forward to see how radio reacts to this one.
Following Tebey was Mr. Dean Brody. Dean had the crowd singing right along to a boat load of songs through out the night but I think it was Bring Down The House or possibly Bounty that had the majority of the crowd screaming at the top of their lungs.
Friday was a great way to get the Main Stage warmed up for the fantastic Saturday night line up. The day kicked off with Buck Twenty playing the Seploy Emerging Artists stage and the fellas did a bang up job.
Kicking off the main stage on Saturday afternoon was West Coast native Jojo Mason. Jojo hasn’t made many appearances in Ontario in 2016 so it was great to catch his set. The personality and charisma of this young fella is unreal. You can tell he is right at home on stage and he had the early crowd boppin’ and cheering throughout his set. His current single Red Dress is closing in on the Top Ten on country radio here in Canada. And I can honestly say with the enthusiasm I have a feeling the crowds love this guy where ever he plays. And I loved how he was rockin’ those KX Country sunglasses nice job.
Up next on the main stage was another West Coast import Madeline Merlo. Everyone that reads the SCE site knows we are fans of this young lady. With an amazing voice and a stage presence that has grown over the last year or so that has her wowing audience across the nation. The folks at Lucknow were treated to a great performance. I seem to lean towards the current singles more often when artists are on stage and this is no different. Warpaint is easily my favourite Merlo song EVER. And to know it was the last song that she wrote for her current album Free Soul is hard to imagine. The way she delivers on this song is so heart felt and you could feel the passion in the performance. And as a fan that’s what you want to see in a live show.
Over on the Seploy Emerging artists stage Kristen Hawley took the stage between sets from Madeline and the next artists and not having seen Kristen before I was rather impressed at both the band and her vocals. We hope to hear more from Kristen in 2017 that is for sure.
And following Miss Merlo on the main stage was Pembroke Ontario’s Jason Blaine. Easily a staple in the Canadian Country music scene with hits like Country Side, Friends of Mine, Rock It Country Girl & Cool part of his set you could see the folks in the Lawn Chairs get up out of their seats for Jason’s set. I have been fortunate to catch a bunch of Jason’s shows over the last couple years and he just knows how to please. He doesn’t play a boat load of new stuff he sticks to what he knows the fans love. And the Fans loved his set on this night. A song that has grabbed lots of attention is his last single Dance with my Daughter which didn’t have maybe the commercial success that radio tends to put on music but with over 100,000 YouTube views the fans defiantly know it and sang right along. Jason and his band put on one hell of a show for the Lucknow crowd.
Then it was time for the fella from Battle Creek, Michigan to rock the stage. I have to admit I am a bit of a Frankie Ballard fan and after the performance on Saturday night I think he may have another 8000+ to add to that. He rocked it right from the first note. For those not that familiar with Ballard I think they were pleasantly surprised by his performance. I know I talked about charisma earlier with Jojo Mason but Frankie.. This guy owns the stage and has the crowd eating out of his hand by the end of his set. The swagger that he has on stage is not that of arrogance but more of he knows he wants to have fun and he wants the entire crowd to get in on it. And in Lucknow they did. I had asked a few folks in the crowd what they thought of Frankie’s set after he was done and they thought he was “Rockin'” and that he was.
The boy from South Carolina was next to close out the 2016 MITF. Lee Brice may very well be one of the most under rated artists in country music today. I am and have been a fan of Mr. Brice since about 2009 when I heard a song by the title Upper Middle Class White Trash. And well I have been following him ever since. He had even written a couple songs for Canadian Country artist Adam Gregory in ’08. But this Saturday night belonged to Lee. The big flashy screen that filled the back of the stage along with one hell of a great sounding band to go along with his incredible voice Lee Brice was givin’ the love out to the crowd in bucket loads. His devious smirk that he flashed the camera on occasion as well as his banter between songs made ya wanna grab a beer with him after the show. When artists are into their craft that comes across on stage and the audience usually reciprocates with screams and sing alongs. Well there were times where it was hard to hear Lee over the crowd singing along. What a way to close out the weekend.
One of the cool things that has been able to help raise even more money for a good cause is the Cithara Guitar raffle. A custom Canadian made electric guitar that was branded specifically for Lucknow MITF. With over 3000 tickets sold they were able to raise just over $10,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis.
That’s a wrap. Another AMAZING year in Lucknow. I am serious when I say this is easily my favourite show of the year. The love and pride that this community puts into this event is absolutely amazing with so many volunteers to help make it such a great event. And we want to thank the Lucknow & District Kinsmen for having us and also to Steve, Rick & Jordan for the down home hospitality thanks for inviting us into your backyard for the weekend. Everyone involved should be proud. Also want to thank Bill Woodcock and Mike Highfield for taking the time to capture some amazing moments from the event.
Till next year.
Corey Kelly / @CoreyKelly76
More Photos From Lucknow MITF..