Giddy up! This past weekend August 4-7 was the fifth annual Boots & Hearts Festival. The four day event was filled with country fans and campsites all around Burl’s Creek event grounds. With thousands of fans dressed in plaid and boots, the country vibe was spreading smiles and beers in the beautiful town of Oro-Medonte. Some of this years major headliners were Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Dean Brody, Chase Rice, Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw.
Only being able to attend 3/4 days, the second day of Boots & Hearts started off with Sam Hunt as fans erupted with cheers as Hunt opened his set with “Leave the Night On.” Singing all his hits from Montevallo, fans were dancing and singing along to each and every song Hunt busted out. Hunt explains that Boots & Hearts was one of the first festivals he played in Canada, and that songs like “Single for the Summer” helped him overcome a few falls. When Hunt sang his mega hit ballad “Take Your Time” fans went wild as Hunt jumped into the crowd and sang directly into everyone’s eyes. Then mid way through his set, Hunt gave his band a lot of recognition by allowing each one of them to play renditions of today’s biggest country hits, including Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, Maren Morris’ “My Church”(Sung by his band member Tim), Dierks Bentley’s “Somewhere on a Beach” (Sung by guitarist Tyrone) Thomas Rhett’s “T-Shirt” and Keith Urban’s “Cop Car”. We couldn’t ask for a better entertainer than Sam Hunt.
Dierks Bentley closed out the night with an epic two hour set. The best part about his set was the life size airplane during “Drunk on a Plane”. What an impressive way to end day two.
Day three started off with Canada’s own Dean Brody, who started his set off with “Canadian Girls”. The crowd went wild when Brody performed ‘Bring Down the House” and caused the fans to start a Blue Jays chant. The crowd loves Canadian country artists!
The headliner for day three was none other than Blake Shelton, who gave the audience a choice of either the short version of his show, or the long version. The choice was unanimous and everyone cheered for the long version. Shelton’s set was quite entertaining as he loved to talk. He shouted that it would be the audience’s fault if there was a single bad review of his set (It definitely isn’t us). The crowd didn’t seem to mind his chitter chatter, as Shelton started singing “Boys ‘Round Here”, the crowd had their phones flashing all around making it an incredible sight. As the lights were still flashing, Shelton shouted he wishes he had a beautiful ballad that would fit perfectly with all the lights. He then proceeded by singing a cover of Michael Buble’s “Home”. Shelton also performed his mega single “Sangria” and “Footloose”. We must say Shelton was definitely the highlight of the weekend.
The last day of Boots started off with another fellow Canadian country artist Jason Blaine. It was sad to see the crowd attendance so low, assuming most people were still in their campgrounds drinking and playing games. Blaine is one of the most talented Canadian artists in the industry, and the fans who were there for his set, were hardcore fans who knew the lyrics to all his songs. Blaine performed “Dance with my Daughter” and “Country Side” which definitely brought in new fans that were passing by.
Next on stage was rising star and hearth throb Chase Rice. As all the female concert goers went wild and crowded the stage trying to get as close as possible to the superstar. Rice’s 90 minute set consisted of his hit songs like “Jack Daniels and Jesus” “Gonna Wanna Tonight” “That’s How She Rolls” and his new single “Everybody We Know Does”. Rice also brought up a lucky female fan named Priscilla up on the stage during his performance of “Ride”. It was quite entertaining watching her feeling him up and even making him take off his jacket(Who can blame her). She even tried to get a kiss from Rice with the crowd chanting “kiss her” but he kept it professional and continued serenading her. One thing we really loved about Rice’s set was he let his band showcase their talent. During the band intro, each band member had a solo to cover songs, including Blink 182’s “All the Small Things” and “What’s My Age Again”. Even though these songs weren’t country, Rice’s voice made the crowd go wild and sing along. Rice’s stage presence and large fan base, definitely makes him one to look out for.
Boots and Hearts ended with Tim McGraw with a two-hour set.
One of the best festivals to end the summer! We can’t wait for Boots & Hearts 2017 which is set to take place Aug 10-13.
Thank you Republic Live!
[Photography by Melissa Campo]