festival

Boots & Hearts 2018 Lineup Announcement #1: Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Thomas Rhett, and more

Boots and Hearts is one of the biggest weekends on our calendar every summer. We’ve been at each of the first six festivals, and are looking forward to lucky number seven in 2018.

And now we know who to start getting excited for as B&H have announced their first round of performers, including three headliners that will take the main stage and run the show at Burl’s Creek.

We don’t know which night each Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, and Thomas Rhett will take the stage, but we’ll be ready to share that info with y’all when it becomes available.

Now, let’s have a look at the first six names on the Boots and Hearts 2018 artist roster…

Florida Georgia Line

Back again after a Sunday night gig as headliners, Florida Georgia Line, will hit the Boots and Hearts stage in front of tens of thousands of fans who should be in a party mood.

Yes, this is Florida Georgia Line, so there will be a whole bunch of people who complain about their return to the festival… but the truth is that Tyler and BK are headlining stars who know how to command a crowd, have a list of radio hits, and put on a show.

If we’re lucky (fingers crossed) we’ll hear the entire crowd singing along to H.O.L.Y. like we did in Toronto in 2016. It was an amazing live music moment, and we’d love to try to duplicate it at B&H 2018.

Florida Georgia Line Boots and Hearts 2015

Alan Jackson

I’m not entirely sure that I’ve processed this news to its complete extent yet. True story.

Alan Jackson is one of the country music stars that shaped my fandom when I was young. I listened and learned and sang along… and as when he starts singing Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow, Don’t Rock The Jukebox, and Chattahoochee, I’ll be the adult feeling like a kid who’s singing along as loud as I can.

This is huge. Really big. I’m excited.

Thomas Rhett

In our Boots & Hearts 2018 predictions post I included Thomas Rhett as the bonus name… and we nailed it!

Rhett’s Life Changes album will give him an expanded live library, and his showmanship and entertainment value are sure to get the crowd going. We know he loves to dance, and we’re sure we’ll see it on Crash And Burn, and we can’t wait to hear new songs like Smooth Like Summer and Sixteen this August.

We said we wanted to see Thomas Rhett in a headlining role – and here he is.

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015

Billy Currington

Currington has 11 US Country Airplay #1 hits, and six other songs that made it into the Top 5 on the country music charts. He’s been making music that’s been hitting country radio since 2003, and we’re finally going to see the Georgia native at Boots and Hearts this year.

We can’t wait to sing along to Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right, People Are Crazy, and the Sam Hunt penned, We Are Tonight. It’s gonna be fun!

Dallas Smith

One of the biggest country music stars in Canada is coming back to Canada’s biggest country music festival… and it’s going to be good.

We’ve seen Dallas Smith headline Thursday night’s kick off party, we’ve seen him main stage as the evening crowd poured in, we’ve seen him play arenas and amphitheatre stages – and this dude rocks every stage.

Related: Side Effects Tour: Dallas Smith, The Cadillac Three and Friends Rock Oshawa

Be ready for the hits, high energy, and the chance to give some Canadian love to Dallas Smith next summer!

Dallas Smith CNE 2015

Brett Young

Here’s another we got right in the prediction post… and man we’re happy about it. Brett Young is an emerging star and he’s got a ton of talent.

He’s going to get up on that stage, and he’s going to kill with songs like Sleep Without You, In Case You Didn’t Know, and Like I Loved You. Be ready for it to get loud and happy and give you goosebumps when the country music loving crowd starts singing along.

Stay tuned for more names to be added to the Boots and Hearts 2018 lineup – and if you’re wondering who else we predicted for next year, check out our 15 Boots & Hearts 2018 Artist Predictions.

1 month ago

Boots & Hearts 2017 Weather Forecast!

With Boots & Hearts 2017 coming up this week… it’s time to seriously get started on the planning and packing. And if you’re going to start doing those things without checking the weather – you’re asking for trouble.

So, before you start deciding what to wear to Boots & Hearts, we suggest checking the forecast for Oro-Medonte and what it might be doing when Doc Walker, Keith Urban, Brantley Gilbert, and Luke Bryan headline Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Sadly, it looks like rain may be in the cards – which we should probably have expected since it’s darn near a B&H tradition. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a lot of fun. With temperatures that will still hit the 20s, and humidity part of the equation, shorts and tanks and tees will still be the order of the day. With rubber boots, ponchos, and hoodies a smart addition to any wardrobe.

Stay up to date on the Boots & Hearts/ Oro-Medonte weather forecast as we get closer to the festival by Clicking Here as Thursday approaches.

Coors Kick Off Party Boots and Hearts 2015

Human, Skin: Rag’n’Bone Man at WayHome 2017

One of WayHome 2017’s biggest highlights came from the WayAway stage on Sunday afternoon. Tucked in among the trees and a full crowd of fans, Rag’n’Bone Man came out and 100% wow’d the people.

With a voice that is full of range, emotion, and that live touch that makes a performance more than just the live singing of a record, he owned the stage and the people around it.

WayHome 2017 - Rag'n'Bone Man

The English singer/songwriter didn’t talk much, explaining that he didn’t have a lot of time. But he did engage with the crowd, telling them that all he needed was for them to answer “Hell Yeah”, when he asked “Are you with me WayHome Festival?” – and answer they did. Loudly.

Note: We saw Rag’n’Bone Man later in the day as he caught Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, and the big man fit right in with everyone else, loving the live vibe. He is, without doubt, a music man.

Tracks like Skin and Human showed off the talent in his voice – and the smile on his face showed the love that he was feeling on stage.

Keep an eye on Rory Graham, you’re going to hear more from him soon – and you’ll like it.
WayHome 2017 - Rag'n'Bone Man
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Take My Hand: Picture This at WayHome 2017

In the early afternoon sun and heat, Picture This took to the WayBright stage at WayHome and introduced themselves to Canada for the first time.

The Irish hit makers, brought a ton of energy to their set, firing into their songs without hesitation, and charming the WayHome crowd with their music and accents. Bringing together a rock and roll sound, and pop/folk lyrics, they bend genres… and they know it. We sat down with Jimmy and Ryan after their set, and they explained that they’re perfectly happy to to worry about fitting into a single genre’s expectations. Their goal, they told me, is to create uplifting music, songs that people want to hear and smile and sing along with.

WayHome 2017 - Picture This

On stage, that desire shone through as they played their songs and the crowd clapped and danced along from one track to the next. To the band it was an unexpected reaction, to us, it seemed reasonable. Let’s Be Young, All For You, Never Change, and Take My Hand all connected with the audience in an organic and rather lovely way.

Back home, Picture This are getting used to those types of reactions. They’ve sold out historic venues, opened for The 1975, had their 2016 debut EP stay on the charts for a year – and just sold out a show in under five minutes, adding a second show for good measure.

That popularity started online. Before a record deal, before a record, before a single live show, the band started writing and releasing music to the masses and building their following. That DIY attitude continues now, with the band writing and playing their own songs, as well as conceiving and shooting their own music videos.

WayHome 2017 - Picture This

The WayHome crowd showed their appreciation one more time as the band finished their set, chanting Picture This as they left the stage. There wasn’t an encore, but the good news is that the boys will be in Toronto on September 14 at the Velvet Underground.

During our hangout I asked 2 more questions that I really wanted to know the answer to…

1: If you were putting your music on a playlist, what other bands would you put on that list?
Answers: Snow Patrol, The 1975, 30 Seconds to Mars, Oasis, Coldplay.

2: What Irish Whiskey would you recommend to this Canadian boy?
Answer: Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey (with the caveat that it’s expensive, and should be saved for a special occasion)

With songwriting skills and passion to spare, plus the talent and charm it takes to woo a crowd, we’re sure that we haven’t heard the last of Picture This… and we’d bet that you’ll be hearing them too.

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WayHome 2017 Preview: The Darcys

With WayHome just days away, we’re getting geared up for a whole lot of live music and fun… and The Darcys are too.

We caught up with Wes on the phone to talk about festival highlights and tips – drinks – palm trees – flamingos – and more in the lead up to Oro-Medonte’s biggest multi-genre party of the summer season.

One listen to The Darcys’ newest release, Centerfold and it’s clear that there’s a new vibe, direction, and vision from Wes and Jason as they push forward with the band that they started together a decade ago. The art-pop-synth-neon-dancy-palm tree-party sound that peppers the album from front to back is a lot of fun, and they know it. They’ve also seen fans of the band turn the corner to party with the new music, and they’re excited about that result.

Wes told me that it’s exciting to see the fans more engaged than ever before at live shows. “So fun,” he says, and adds that there have been multiple sightings of inflatables in the crowd, including palm trees and parrots. And while parrots may be Jimmy Buffet’s thing, the guys are happy to steal it and see more of them at their shows in every city, every night. Every one of those cities and tour stops is also an opportunity for fans of The Darcys to pick up exclusive merch, and it’s flying off the shelves.

Wes talked about the merch changing from flat black shirts with the band’s’ name in a scripty font to the more colourful pink, seafoam pastels we’re seeing now… at first, fans weren’t sure about the new look and direction – and then, all of a sudden, the boys couldn’t keep the new gear in stock. In fact, there’s a rush merch order right now so WayHome will be fully stocked with brand new merch from The Darcys.

I asked Wes what his personal favourite pieces of merch is right now and he told me that the movie poster sits at the top of the list… but that the new merch that will drop later this summer is ready to take over that top spot.

We also talked a bunch about festival life, with Wes telling me that the Elora Riverfest and WayHome are his two favourites, with both affording him a chance to walk around and truly experience the music and feel of the event. He gave props to the fans who say hi, but are respectful of the fact that he’s there for a good time, just like they are.

I asked which acts he’s most looking forward to checking out at WayHome 2017 and he gave me an awesome list of talent that includes Frank Ocean, Tegan and Sara, Royal Blood, PUP, Justice, and Imagine Dragons among others. And with a list like that, there’s a strong chance we’re going to run into him from time to time on the festival grounds.

I also asked Wes which acts he’d buy tickets to see if he was given the chance, and learned that Beck still sits at the top of his list, with REM, U2, and Bruno Mars all taking spots on the list. His #1 criteria for live shows is: Entertainment… and we can’t argue with that.

Before we finished on the phone I asked Wes a few more questions, starting with some percentages/odds on a bunch of things, including:

• Chances we’ll see at least 1 palm tree on stage at WayHome – Wes says: 100%
• Chance there will be a Toronto show before the end of the year – Wes says: 90%
• Chance there will be a Christmas Cover in 2017 to follow up 2016’s All I Want For Christmas Is You – Wes says: 50%
• Chance the band is working on new stuff right now – Wes says: 100%
AND, I was told that there’s a strong chance we’ll see a rather large inflatable… stay tuned for more.

I also asked what drink he recommends when listening to The Darcys, and he gave two answers:

1) A cold Palm Bay, maybe something with coconut or pineapple.
2) A nice crisp, refreshing summer beer.

And finally, as we’ve been asking a lot of people this year, what is your #1 festival tip… and Wes offered this.

Drink plenty of water. Don’t be afraid to lay off the hooch a little bit. Know where your party comes from. Stick with your friends. Look out for each other.

Thanks again to Wes for the chat, we’re looking forward to seeing The Darcys hit the WayBright Stage at 3pm on Saturday afternoon at WayHome – and we invite you to be there too, because it should be awesome.

Stay tuned for more interviews, photos, reviews, and more – we’ve got it coming in hot!

Oh, and check out the new video for Arizona Hwy from The Darcy’s Centerfold. Right here, right now, just press play!

WayHome 2017 Weather Forecast!

WayHome is so close we can hear the music coming from the speakers. We’ve also started to pack… because we’ve been looking at the weather!

We’ve been told that there’s been an effort to create more shade at this year’s festival, which would be nice even with the more comfortable temperatures…

Squad WayHome Art and Music Festival

That’s right, the forecast is out for Oro-Medonte, and we’re over the freaking moon about it. Last year it felt like 10,000 degrees in the sun. But this year, we’re looking at 23° C all weekend long, and that would be amazing.

Keep track of the forecast as we get closer to the festival by clicking here!

Don’t have your WayHome passes yet? Still wanna come hang in the sun with some awesome music? Click here and get ’em! 

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Calgary Stampede 2017: Brad Saunders Photo Review

From Newfoundland’s fisheries, to the oil rigs, to the Coca-Cola Stage at the 2017 Calgary StampedeBrad Saunders has had a pretty wild ride.

And on a Monday night, he showed Calgary that he knows how to put on a show and party. Check out the pics, and next time he’s in your town, go check out the party for yourself!

Brad Saunders at the 2017 Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede 2017: Nelly Furtado Photo Review

Monday night’s are great for flying like a bird and embracing your inner maneater… and on the Coca-Cola stage at the 2017 Calgary Stampede, Nelly Furtado proved it.

This Canadian legend knows how to get it done on stage, have a look at the photos for proof, and get tickets to see Nelly Furtado the next chance you get.

Nelly Furtado at the 2017 Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede 2017: Alessia Cara Photo Review

On a Thursday summer night at the Calgary Stampede, Alessia Cara hit the Coca-Cola Stage and took over!

The 21 year old Canadian singer showed the Calgary crowd everything she’s got to give… and we want to share some of that with you. So, here it is!

Alessia Cara at the 2017 Calgary Stampede

2017 Summer Music Festival Essentials: Dollar Store Haul

Summer music festival season is here. The 1st weekend of July hosted music of all genres on stages in small towns and big cities, and we love it. We also want to help.

So, if you’ve got festivals coming up, use this post as a checklist of things that you want to make sure you’re bringing with you – especially if you’re camping!

Some of these things are very basic and easy to remember, some of them are easier to overlook and forget… and maybe we’ve forgotten something that you think is super important.

The best thing about this list though, is that everything was picked up at Dollarama for no more than $4 an item (Herbal Essences dry shampoo) from top to bottom. You know you’re going to spend money on food and drinks and clothes and accessories and gas and camping gear – so why not save some money on your essentials?

Now, let’s get started with your shopping list. Have fun this summer, we’re going to!

ps. If there’s something you think we forgot that you know you can find at your local dollar store, leave a comment so everyone can add it to their list!

Sunscreen and Bug Spray!

It’s summer, that means sun, it also means sun burns, and you don’t want that. So, remember to grab some sunscreen (30 spf is probably the minimum you should be picking up) and remember to apply and reapply to avoid painful burnage.

Festivals out in wooded areas are also (often) full of flying biting insects that can be a real pain. So, get yourself some bug spray, and make sure that when the sun goes down, you’re ready!

Wipes, Dry Shampoo, and Deodorant

Your friends may love you, but they may not like you too much if you don’t keep things fresh. The combination of wipes (makeup, face, baby, etc.), dry shampoo, and deodorant will help keep you presentable, looking clean, and feeling (and smelling) fresher than 3 days in a bunch of fields should allow.

Dudes, all three of these products are great for you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that wipes and dry shampoo are women’s only products. They don’t need to be in man packaging to be smart choices!

Chapstick, Advil, and Mouth Wash

We’ll take, Things You’re Going To Want In The Morning, for $400, Alex.

If you’re camping/partying for more than 2 nights in a row, you’re going to want to be able to reach for some Advil when you wake up dehydrated, tired, and hungover. You’re also going to be happy for that chapstick when you notice how dried out, and maybe even burned, your lips are.

The mouth wash, that should be pretty explanatory. Use it as needed.

Tissues and Hand Sanitizer

Tissues and hand sanitizer are great for your car, tent, or the bag you’ll be carrying around on the festival grounds. Maybe you’ll need to wash your hands after you eat, maybe you’ll get muddy, or maybe the porta potty situation leaves a lot to be desired… in any and all of these times of need, you’ll be happy you have these with you.

Also, you’ll be a hero to your friends and strangers if you decide to share the wealth.

Hair Elastics, Comb, and Brush

People with long hair, or hair that needs to be addressed, these are items that you don’t want to forget – but also don’t want to spend a lot of money on. Elastics break, so buy a bunch and make sure you have back-ups available. And you don’t want to lose a good brush or comb, so get one that works, and if you lose it, or lend it out, or break it, you’re not going to cry over it.

You know you feel better when you can brush your hair in the morning. And you know how good it feels to get long hair off your neck and back on a hot hot hot day… do the right thing.

Poncho and Eye Mask

Last but not least, 2 items that are too often overlooked and missed in the summer music festival packing process… ponchos and sleep masks.

We picked these bad boys up for a combined total of $3. That’s a steal when you think about what they provide. 1st, the mask. The one we grabbed is a gel mask that will cool down if you put it in your cooler with your food and drinks. Throw it on to block out the sun for an afternoon nap. Roll over and put it on in the morning to grab some sleep after the bright sun comes up. Or, just put it on to rest and cool yourself down and take some of the puffiness out of your eyes!

Next, the poncho. We get a lot of rain at some festivals, so much that it almost feels like tradition. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t protect yourself. The poncho is well packaged, so you can keep it in your bag if it’s cloudy, or leave it in your tent if it’s not. And as a bonus, a poncho also works well as a water proof blanket if the grass is wet and you want to sit down. Nice!

We hope this list has helped with your summer music festival packing plans… and we hope you have a great time, no matter where you go and what music you love.

And like we said, leave a comment if you think we missed a dollar store item that we should all be packing!

WayHome 2017 Preview: PUP Top 10

WayHome 2017 is coming, and I can hardly wait to see PUP hit the stage on Saturday!

I sit here wondering how I’ve managed to not see this band live yet?! They’ve played NXNE, CMW, Vans Warped Tour, SXSW. They’ve been recognized by Rolling Stone, The Polaris Music Prize, Billboard, SOCAN, Juno Awards, CBC radio and more! They’ve toured with Hollerado, The Zolas, The Menzingers and The Hives and now the Toronto band will play for us at WayHome.

The four-piece band is Stefan Babcock on guitar and lead vocals, Nester Chumak on bass and backup vocals, Zack Mykula on drums and backing vocals and Steve Sladkowski on guitar and backing vocals. They’ve been friends since elementary school and you can’t beat that kind of connection.

What can you expect from a live PUP show? Fun, raucous fun. I’m ready, are you?

Below we present for you, 10 PUP tunes to get you ready for their set. Got a favourite? Leave us a comment and let us know.

SLEEP IN THE HEAT

If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will

DVP

DARK DAYS

BACK AGAINST THE WALL

MABU

GUILT TRIP

My Shadow (Jay Reatard cover)

LIONHEART

RESERVOIR

Feature photo from PUP’s Facebook page, photo credit Vanessa Heins Photography

NXNE 2017 – Round 1 Artist Announcement

North by Northeast has released their first 2017 artist announcement and it’s a good start. Now entering its 22nd year,  the annual Toronto music festival returns to the Port Lands with Passion Pit, Tyler, the Creator and Post Malone in the headlining position for fthis venue. Also included in today’s announcement, Bleachers, Sleigh Bells, The Soul Rebels Ft. Talib Kweli, Twin Peaks, Cold Specks, Muna, and Son Little and a promise of 20+ artists to come.

Festival dates are June 23 to 25th, early bird pricing is up and tickets are on sale! NXNE is using RFID wristbands and we’re serious when we say you should really consider the VIP package. There’s nothing like front row access and VIP bathrooms.

Other highlights of this festival, the Club Land venues, Game Land featuring video gaming and E-Sports, the comedy tent, art installations, midway rides and of course food vendors.

NXNE is one of our favourite festivals, partly because it’s on home turf and partly because it includes free shows that all of you can see. Stay tuned for more artist announcements.

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EDIT -Tyler the Creator has dropped out and been replaced by Kaytranada.

Havelock Country Jamboree 2016 Photo Review: Tebey

Canadian country star, Tebey hit the Havelock Country Jamboree stage on Friday night to play for thousands of country music fans, and we were there to take it all in and document the action in photos.

Have a look and be ready for more photos from more shows and festivals coming soon!

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1 year ago

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Aaron Pritchett, The Reklaws & Kaitlin Kozell

Boots & Hearts was full of amazing country talent in 2016… some of it well known to Canadian audiences, some of it well known to the B&H crowd, and some of it on the cusp of breaking through.

And we put together three artists that check off those tiers in one photo review right here!

Check out the photos of Aaron Pritchett, The Reklaws, and Kaitlin Kozell – three artists who hit the Boots and Hearts stage and showed the country music fans assembled in the summer heat that they know how to work a stage, and can sing their boots off!

Aaron Pritchett

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The Reklaws

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Kaitlin Kozell

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1 year ago

Lonely Girl: David James at Boots & Hearts 2016!

2016 Canadian Country Music Award nominee David James is still trying to wrap his head about the success and love he’s seeing as an emerging artist. But the more we see and hear from the Rising Star hopeful, the more we believe he should start accepting it!

We checked out David on the Boots & Hearts front porch stage and then had a chance to hang out for a few minutes in the shade to talk about how things went, what’s coming up, and then posed for some pics!

On stage we got to hear and see David James entertain the Friday crowd with songs from his debut EP. We heard The One I Always Wanted, Lonely Girl, What We Weren’t Looking For, Some Hearts, Starts With A Girl, and Lay It On Me. David also peppered in covers like Sweet Thing (K. Urban), Can’t Feel Me Face (The Weeknd), Treasure (Bruno Mars), Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin), and You Wreck Me (Tom Petty) to keep everyone in a singing and grooving and dancing mood at the tented stage.

David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

During the set, as David James sang What We Weren’t Looking For we saw a couple together in the crowd, singing at each other – it was very lovey and sweet.

We asked David about seeing people singing in the crowd and he told us that it’s cool, especially as a new artist to see and hear the connection country fans are having with his music.

When we talked to David we asked him about being the only MDM artist at the festival this year, and he told us that he was happy to be there to represent, and that Jess Moskaluke and Chad Brownlee gave him some advice and encouragement coming in… and then when we were talking about the upcoming CCMAs and related festivities, he let it slip that he’ll be closing the MDM party in London… and we can’t wait to see that. It’s going to be one hell of a party, and he’s going to be a big part of it.

Here’s what we know, the success that David James has experienced so far in his early career is just the start of what’s the come. If he can keep doing what he’s doing we’re going to be seeing him and talking to him again real soon!

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1 year ago
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