CMT Music Fest

15 Boots & Hearts 2018 Artist Predictions

With the dates for Boots & Hearts 2018 released and our recovery from the 2017 festival complete, it’s time to look at our predictions for BH7 next August.

As always, the names listed below have been picked because we fully believe there is a chance that they could play the festival. Yes, we’d love to see Garth and Reba, but the odds are very, very, very long on that happening. So, we’ve put together this list of 15 country artists that we’re predicting for Boots & Hearts 2018.

When you’re done reading, please leave a comment telling us who you think we got right, and who you think will be at Burl’s Creek next summer.

Note: All artist names have been listed in alphabetical order… not in order of preference or how certain we are with the prediction.

Boots and Hearts 2018 Headliners

Chris Young

Chris Young Trackside Fest 2016

The newest invitee of the Grand Ole Opry is on quite a run. With 5 studio albums (plus a Christmas record) on his resume, there’s no shortage of material for Young to bust out in a 90 minute headlining set. And with songs that are guaranteed to get people singing along at the top of their lungs… this would work.

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney may be the biggest gamble here. The four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year winner has a reputation for putting on a great show, and with 14 studio albums worth of material, we know that he could have 40,000+ country music fans singing along from start to finish.

Little Big Town

Little Big Town was on the original schedule for Boots & Hearts 2015, but had to cancel due to medical issues. We’ve been hoping and waiting ever since for them to be added back to the list. In these last couple of years the quartet has elevated themselves to legitimate headlining status, and we truly hope that the Canadian fans that love B&H get to see them sing.

Zac Brown Band

CMT Music Fest - Zac Brown Band

We’ve seen the Zac Brown Band headline for at CMT Music Fest in 2016… and we’d gladly do it all over again at Boots & Hearts 2018. With a long list of hits and fan favourites, and a reputation for playing amazing covers of songs people love, ZBB could headline any night of the festival.

We’re good with all four of these options. None of them have played Boots & Hearts in the first six years of the festival, making them exciting options for year seven, and all of them come with hits, fan favourites, and star power.

Supporting Talent

Andrew Hyatt
Andrew Hyatt - Northern Comfort Saloon - CNE 2017With his first Top 20 single on the books, upcoming tour dates with Dallas Smith that will earn him new attention and fans, and the kind of energy that delivers a great show – Andrew Hyatt should make his main stage debut at Boots & Hearts 2018.

Brett Kissel
Brett Kissel - CNE 2017We’ve been waiting for a Canadian opener since Boots & Hearts year 1, and while Brett may be at the top of our list to nab that spot – we’re look at him as the direct support for someone like Zac Brown or Little Big Town on Saturday or Sunday night

Brett Young
Brett Young’s star is rising fast! We saw him this summer on tour with Lady Antebellum, and this dude has what it takes to entertain a crowd. Look for him late in the afternoon as party heats up.

Carly Pearce
Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017Pearce is another rising star in American country. Her debut album drops this fall, and with success already coming to her with her first single, Every Little Thing, we’d be surprised not to see her bring the Big Machine bus to Boots & Hearts 2018.

Dan Davidson
Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers ParkdaleLikeable, talented, and always ready to play music, Dan Davidson is a great bet to come east to Ontario and play for the Boots & Hearts crowd. Fans already dig Found and Barn Burner, and by next summer we’re guessing they’ll be ready to sing along to even more.

Dustin Lynch
A cowboy hat, jeans, and t-shirt looks good on the Boots & Hearts stage, we’ve seen it before. And if Dustin Lynch shows up in that outfit and plays his hits (the dude’s top 10 Spotify tracks have more than 200,000,000 plays) we know the Canadian country fans would be seein’ red.

Jojo Mason
JoJo Mason BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016The first time Jojo Mason played Boots & Hearts the crowd chanted his name and made it a day he’ll never forget. Now, fans have had a chance to learn more about Jojo with his debut album, Both Sides Of The Bar, and his CCMA nomination for 2017 Rising Star. If Jojo were to come back with his energy and those songs, it’d be all good.

Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini has been number 1 with Dibs, Peter Pan, and Love Me Like You Mean It, and fans are in love with her voice and her style. We’ve seen her live, and the chance to see it again at Boots & Hearts with some of the biggest names in country music makes perfect sense to us.

Madeline Merlo
Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo rocks a summer vibe like almost nobody we’ve ever known, so seeing her back on the Boots & Hearts stage on a sunny summer afternoon seems like a perfect fit. Whether she plays the main stage, or a late slot on the front porch, we know a crowd of Canadian country fans would be there to sing along with the B.C. native.

Maren Morris

A post shared by Maren Morris (@marenmorris) on

Maren Morris is quickly becoming one of the young queens of country music. Her debut album, Hero, is filled with jams from front to back, and her duet with Thomas Rhett on Craving You earned her two CMA nominations (Vocal Event and Music Video of the Year) to go along with her Female Vocalist of the Year nomination. Let’s see her on the big stage!

The Reklaws
Budweiser County Fair The ReklawsThese Boots & Hearts vets are due back to the country’s biggest summer festival after releasing a banger with Hometown Kids, and the promise of more new music on the way. Be ready to see them back at their old stomping grounds.


Thomas Rhett
Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015With main stage talent and charisma, Thomas Rhett could headline Friday night, or be the perfect lead in to Kenny Chesney or Little Big Town. I’d lean towards headlining option, only because we’ve already seen him in the direct support spot at Boots & Hearts already. Also, if you haven’t heard it yet, go listen to Thomas Rhett’s brand new album, Life Changes!

Who do you think I got right? Who do you think I got wrong? Who do you think I missed?

Leave a comment and tell me!

5 Quick Questions with Ben Hudson!

Uxbridge’s Ben Hudson was a busy dude during Canadian Country Music Week in London, ON this September… but we were able to snag him for a few minutes on a sunny afternoon to sit down and play along with a little 5 quick questions action.

We also got to catch Ben in the summer at CMT Music Fest, and can tell you that this guy is one to watch in Canadian country. Keep your eye out for the super tall guy making good music.

Q1: If you’re in the car on a long drive between shows, what is the one album you can listen to on repeat?

Ben: Chris Stapleton, Traveller

How do you argue with that? Stapleton killed it with that album and has been reaping the rewards ever since. Good choice by Ben.

Q2: What is the first song you remember knowing all of the words to?

Ben: I Saw The Light, by Hank Williams

Unexpected, but awesome. This classic hit from 1948 is a big song from a kid to learn, but if you’re going to grow up to be a country singer Hank Sr. is a good place to start.


Q3: When you’re not working on new music what is your go to hobby?

Ben: Drawing and creating art.

Ben told us that he loves to stay in a creative state, even when music isn’t the focus. And that he’s had some of his works featured in gallery shows… which is pretty awesome.

Q4: What is the number one thing you need to have when you walk into a songwriting session?

Ben: Beer

It’s hard to argue with this answer… beer and country music go hand-in-hand!

Q5: Can you give us a prediction for the 2016-17 NHL season?

Ben: The Leafs will show that they area team on the rise.

Ben gave us this answer before the season started… and as they reach the 1/4 mark of the season they are showing flashes of it. So far.


Bonus: What artist do you think people should be paying more attention to than they may be right now?

Ben: Sturgill Simpson

Simpson’s name has been making the rounds in country music circles in the last few months, but there are still a lot of people that haven’t listened to his music. Ben’s right, they should.


1 year ago

5 Quick Questions with Leah Daniels!

We caught up with the 2015 CMAO Rising Star and 2016 Female Artist of the Year winner, Leah Daniels at the Strut Social house during Canadian Country Music Week and had a chance to sit her down for a little chat.

So, without any further ado, we present to you, Uxbridge, ON’s Leah Daniels and 5 quick questions.


Q1: In the car on a long trip, what album could you listen to on repeat over and over again?

Leah: Queen’s Greatest Hits

We didn’t follow up to see if she head bangs during Bohemian Rhapsody… we’ll have to ask next time we see her.

Q2: What was the first song you remember knowing all of the words to?

Leah: A Whole New World, Disney’s Aladdin

It took pretty much every piece of restraint in my body not to start singing the song.

Q3: What is your favourite hobby for your downtime?

Leah: Gardening

Leah told us that this summer gardening has become bigger for her, and judging by some of the photos we’ve seen on social media, we believe her.

Q4: What is the #1 thing you need when you go into a writing session?

Leah: A notebook

Being able to write and read everything tangibly on the paper is a big plus for her, and we know exactly what she’s talking about.

Q5: What artist should people be paying attention to and listening to more than they are right now?

Leah: Ben Hudson

We saw Ben earlier this summer at CMT Music Fest, and in London, ON during country music week, and we agree… if you haven’t checked Ben Hudson out yet, now is a good time.

Big thanks to Leah for taking the time to sit down with us, we can’t wait to do it again soon!


1 year ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Tom Cochrane on the Main Stage!

In 2016 we’ve been told to see all of our favourite artists, just in case…

At CMT Music Fest 2016 we got to see one of our favourites when Tom Cochrane and Red Rider hit the main stage on Saturday right before Zac Brown Band closed out the weekend festival.

Cochrane is more than 40 years deep into his musical career, but at 63 years of age he showed no sign of slowing down as he rocked through many of his biggest hits – leading the assembled festival crowd through their own memories and connections to the songs we all love so very much. It was especially fantastic to see Cochrane on stage with Red Rider, just a little added bonus to something that was already special.

Note: As Cochrane and the band hit The Untouchable One with their third song I wrote this in my notes… “I feel like I’ve been waiting for 20 years for this and didn’t know how badly until right now.”

CMT Music Fest - Tom Cochrane

From the start of the set Tom Cochrane and Red Rider had us all reeled in. Boy Inside The Man and Sinking Like A Sunset were perfect choices to start – White Hot, No Regrets, and Big League were all amazing as the set continued – and Life Is A Highway was the perfect choice to end it all.

Early on Cochrane told us that it had been in a long time since they had played the Kitchener/Waterloo area, but they did a great job of making up for it at CMT Music Fest. There is no doubt about that.

Check out the rest of the photos from Tom Cochrane and Red Rider’s set – and find a show near you to catch them soon!

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2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Leah Daniels and The Washboard Union on the Maple Leaf Stage!

Saturday at CMT Music Fest was jam packed with music on both stages – including Leah Daniels and The Washboard Union on the Maple Leaf Stage.

We were able to get over and catch both sets – and to put it quite simply, they were awesome!

Leah Daniels

We’ve known Leah for a few years now… we’ve watched her grow on stage, release new music, win CMAO awards (Rising Star, Female Artist of the Year) and grow her fan base all over social media.

Saturday she did exactly what we expected of her – she killed it!

With the boys in the band doing their part, and Leah showing off her incredible pipes, there wasn’t a person in the crowd at the Maple Leaf stage that didn’t get what they were looking for. Hell, Leah even threw a few t-shirts from the stage and that always gets a good cheer.

High fives to Leah, we can’t wait to see her again soon!

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Washboard Union

If you don’t know these 3 dudes yet, you’re missing out. Seriously.

After a set in Prince Edward Island at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival on Friday, The Washboard Union made the long trip to Kitchener and put on a helluva show.

With guitars, banjos, harmonicas, hand claps, and yes, a washboard, the band was on fire from start to finish.

Listen to your local country radio station for Shot Of Glory – they’re playing it. And if they aren’t playing it enough, call them with your request!

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2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Cold Creek County and Them Dang Rattlers on the Maple Leaf Stage!

Day 2 of CMT Music Fest had a full lineup of ridiculous talent on display. And in the afternoon sun, 2 acts took their turns on the Maple Leaf stage and showed everyone what they had to offer.

Check out the pics and highlights from Cold Creek County and Them Dang Rattlers!

Cold Creek County

Cold Creek County is one of the hottest bands in Canadian country music right now. They owned the recent Country Music Association of Ontario Awards, and they’re radio play numbers are going up, up, up.

And all of that is because the fans are taking notice and taking control. From official merch to homemade t-shirts, the Cold Creek County faithful were visibly on display as the boys took the stage, turned up the volume and played their beating hearts out.

Note: When you scroll through these photos and see the adorable little girl in the pink hat and sweet shades, stop for a second. She just might be CCC’s biggest small fan, and on her birthday she got a special meet & greet with the boys. Best birthday ever!

We were able to see a few of the guys later in the day, and the smiles on their faces proved what we guessed – they had a lot of fun up on the Maple Leaf stage, even after the long drive in from Cavendish Beach the day before.

Atta be boys, thanks for bringing the Beer Weather!

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Them Dang Rattlers

From just down the road in London, ON – Them Dang Rattlers came to CMT Music Fest on a mission.

And with as much energy as we’ve ever seen from them, they showed that they’re ready to push hard and fast to entertain country music fans and earn themselves a heap of new fans.

You may not know them yet, but remember the faces in these photos because Them Dang Rattlers aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’re just getting started.

If you see their name on a concert listing near you, grab a ticket – and get ready to party!
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2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Zac Brown Band on the Main Stage!

With a huge pop from the crowd we were all well aware that the Zac Brown Band was on stage and ready to blow the doors off in their headlining spot at CMT Music Fest!

For nearly 2 and a half hours on Saturday night, ZBB played hits and covers and had the entire crowd into the action. These guys are 100% the real deal (which we already knew) and did everything they possibly could to give every single person in the audience a high note to close the festival on!

Going into the festival we talked about the things we were most excited for in this set – and one of them was the covers that we were sure Zac Brown Band was going to play live. We’ve been seeing videos online for years, and Saturday night we got a big taste live. We have the full set list for you in this post, but first, check out this list of covers…
S.O.B. – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Baba O’Riley – The Who
Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers ft. Daya
Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

CMT Music Fest - Zac Brown Band

ZBB killed all of those covers, including (and especially) the last 2 that came in the encore. And the crowd loved them just as much as they loved the 20 songs the band played from their own catalogue.

Note: There wasn’t a full cover, but during the band intros, John Driskell Hopkins dropped a little If I Had A Million Dollars and won our hearts just a little bit more than he already had.

To tell you that the Zac Brown Band is talented and that they’re entertaining isn’t enough. To tell you that they made everyone dance and clap and sing doesn’t tell the whole story. But to tell you that all of that put together – the musicianship, the energy, the harmonies, the horn section, the love for what they do, and the smile on Zac Brown’s face gave us everything we could have possibly hoped for as the sun set, night took over, and year one of CMT Music Fest came to a close might be as close as we can get.

This 25 song set didn’t include every song that everyone in the crowd wanted to hear, that would have been impossible. But you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that didn’t get to hear many of their favourites – and it would be damn near impossible to find someone that wasn’t singing along to Chicken Fried when the band played to close the set… before they came out for their encore.

Don’t believe us, watch the video!

We don’t know when we’ll see Zac Brown Band again, we don’t know where we’ll see them when they play. But whether it’s in an arena, stadium, amphitheatre, or the main stage at a festival – we know that it’s going to be a good time. And we can’t wait!

Zac Brown Band, CMT Music Fest 2016 Setlist

 Whiskey’s Gone
 Knee Deep
 Day That I Die
 It’s Not Ok
 Goodbye In Her Eyes
 Free/Into The Mystic
 As She’s Walking Away
 Baba O’Riley
 Sweet Annie
 Tomorrow Never Comes
 No Hurry
 Don’t Let Me Down
 Colder Weather
 Beautiful Drug
 The Wind
 Keep Me In Mind
 Loving You Easy
 Chicken Fried
 Let’s Go Crazy
 Bohemian Rhapsody

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2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Drake White & The Big Fire on the Main Stage!

It isn’t always easy to be the first act of the day on a main stage. And it isn’t always easy to travel 900 miles away from your hometown to play in front of music fans. But Saturday at CMT Music Fest, Drake White & The Big Fire did both of those things and knocked it out of the damn park.

With the early afternoon crowd milling about, Drake took the stage with his band and did a fantastic job of getting things started with more country music. And when they started playing I Need Real, the milling about turned into active watching and listening – with a side of toe tapping for good measure. And by the end of song two, Alabama Dirt Road, there weren’t many people in the vicinity who hadn’t taken a spot close to the stage to hear the Hokes Bluff, Alabama boy show CMT Music Fest what he had to offer.

CMT Music Fest - Drake White & The Big Fire

Drake was great with the crowd on Saturday, interacting between songs and during, giving call and answer opportunities and taking a second to personally apologize that Kip Moore and Eric Church weren’t able to play for them in the storm on Friday night. It also became clear that country music is a natural fit for him, not because of where he’s from, or even the way he sings, but because he’s a natural born storyteller who clearly loves what he’s doing.

Note: Just moments before Drake White hit the stage I heard someone yell “Come on Drake!” from the crowd and thought to myself, only at a country music festival is that anything other than a call for Drake to get up on stage and sing Hotline Bling.

White’s set was real good, honest to goodness country fun, with more tracks like Everybody’s Got A Story, Back To Free, and Equator… but my 2 biggest highlights of the show were most certainly his cover of James Brown’s I Feel Good (complete with tambourine action by Drake) and Livin’ The Dream, which drew a huge pop from the crowd and gave everything something to remember and sing along to.

It was a job well done by the Alabama boy, and we’re sure we’ll see more of him again soon.

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2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Kira Isabella Main Stage & Interview!

On Saturday at CMT Music Fest we got to check out Canadian country music sweetheart, Kira Isabella on the main stage – and back stage for a little chit-chat interview.

With a mid-afternoon slot on the big stage, Kira did what she has consistently done over the last few years, show us that she is getting better and better and better as time goes by. The fans were all about it, singing and dancing and getting their phones out, to enjoy and also capture the moments as they were happening during day 2 of the festival.

CMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaWhen we sat down with Kira after her set we asked her about the year 1 fest and how she thought it was going – and she had nothing but love to share. She cited the enthusiasm of the fans and the way the whole thing was running (weather excluded), calling it a hit… and hopes she’ll be back again to play in Kitchener for the same fans and more.

On stage Kira shared a few hits of her own with Real Good Radio, Gone Enough, Quarterback, A Little More Work – and her current single, I’m So Over Getting Over You. And then there was the medley.

If you’ve seen Kira live before you know that the medley is a staple of her show – but at CMT Music Fest we heard new songs thrown into the mix. In order (we think) it went something like this…
Hotline Bling (Drake)
Honey I’m Good (Andy Grammer)
I’m Just A Girl (No Doubt)
Counting Stars (One Republic)
Jackson (Johnny Cash and June Carter)
Sorry (Justin Bieber)
Stuck Like Glue (Sugarland)
Can’t Hold Us (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

CMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaWe mentioned the I’m So Over Getting Over You tank tops we saw girls wearing in the crowd and how much we loved them – and Kira told us that she thinks it might be good to get some guys shirts made too… and I agreed. And then we laughed. It was a moment. And you can see it in our Facebook Live video. For real. Click Here.

Before we were done chatting we also talked about September’s CCMA Awards in London, ON which is getting more and more exciting the closer it gets, especially having it back in Ontario. And we talked about what’s coming next, and while Kira says there isn’t a “next” single picked yet, she did come back from her last trip to Nashville with a bunch of tracks she’s into… but first she wants to ride the wave that I’m So Over Getting Over You has brought her, and we can’t argue with that.

Kira wrapped her set on the CMT Music Fest main stage with A Little More Work, and the feet tapped and the girls danced and the voices in the afternoon crowd sang along.

This Ontario country girl is a fan favourite, and one of ours too. If you have a chance to see her any time soon, take it. In a bar or a club or at a festival like this one – you won’t regret it!

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2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Brothers Osborne & Kansas Stone on the Main Stage!

The CMT Music Fest Main Stage sits perfectly at the bottom of a HUGE hill that fans carefully make their way down after coming through the gates… and on Friday the fans that came in early for some live country music were treated to Kansas Stone opening things up – and then Brothers Osborne playing the last set of the day before the rains came down.

Kansas Stone

Brian and Matty were the first act of the day to hit the main stage, and they didn’t disappoint us, the fans, or themselves. With the full sound of 5 guys on stage, Kansas Stone’s guitar driven country poured through the speakers and caught the attention of all of those fans on their way down the hill.

The boys did a great job of doing what they do, and not pretending to be any different. Their long hair (we’ll get Matty a hair tie for his next set on a breezy day) and rock influences were a lot of fun to kick off a day, and the addition of the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air theme song got a lot of people’s attention as they stood in line for their first beer.

Songs like Country 101 (title track from their new EP), Hand In Mine, and a pretty cover of Chris Stapleton’s Fire Away were a little more in line with what you can and should expect from May’s CMAO Artists of the Month when they come to a stage near you!

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Brothers Osborne

Although it wasn’t the plan, Brothers Osborne were the last act of the day on the CMT Music Fest main stage… but you know what – they did not disappoint, and showed that they’re on track to booking the headlining spot soon!

The afternoon/evening crowd had very much started to come together for Brothers Osborne in anticipation of some of their biggest radio hits, and they got ‘em, and more. Greener Pastures was a great way to kick things off, making me think to myself (and maybe even say to myself) “That Voice!”

The Brothers Osborne kept the party going from there with Rum, The Shape I’m In, Loving Me Back, and Whiskey River all getting great toe tapping action. And the singing along came too when the boys played Hank Sr.’s Hey Good Lookin’ (100% awesome), 21 Summer and especially Stay A Little Longer, which got the biggest pop of the day from the main stage crowd.

Like we said, Brothers Osborne are on their way to late night headlining spots – and they’ll deserve it when they do. This is big league talent, outstanding musicianship (holy guitar work), charisma for days – and a whole lotta fun!

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2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Meghan Patrick on the Main Stage!

After watching Meghan Patrick play songwriter’s circles, side stages, and bars, we finally go to see what we’d been waiting for… main stage action!

In the sunshine before the Friday storm, Meghan and her band took over the CMT Music Fest main stage and brought all kinds of energy, enthusiasm, excitement, and talent up with them. The crowd had started to file in, and they weren’t shy about grabbing drinks, and pushing toward the stage to party. And from the minute she started playing Grace And Grit to start the show, boots tapped, heads nodded, and fans who have heard Meghan’s first 2 singles on radio or picked up her debut album were singing along.

When Meghan and the boys (5 of them) took the stage there was a nice big pop, the first of the day, and a great sign that people have started to take notice of her work and accomplishments on radio so far. It was great to see!

Meghan Patrick CMT Music Fest Set List

⍟ Grace & Grit
⍟ Long Way From Waylon
⍟ Be Country With Me
⍟ Jolene
⍟ I Believe In Beer
⍟ Son Of A Preacher Man/Folsom Prison Blues
⍟ Bow Chicka Wow Wow

In a sweet little moment, Meghan took a second to dedicate Bow Chicka Wow Wow to her boyfriend Jeff for his birthday.

With a big smile on her face, and energy to spare, it was clear that Meghan Patrick was ready for the opportunity to main stage at a major festival, and we know that this won’t be the last time we see her doing it – not even close!

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2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Maple Leaf Stage Day 1 Photo Review

Before the skies opened up and dropped a heap of rain on us at CMT Music Fest 2016 we were able to take in 4 emerging country acts on the Maple Leaf Stage – and they all did their best to impress us with what they had to offer.

And none of them failed.

Eric Ethridge

First on the stage, kicking off the 2-day festival was July’s CMAO Artist of the Month, Eric Ethridge. With great energy and enthusiasm, Ethridge and his full band (all freaking 7 of them) were in a mood to start a party – which was good because they started the set with We’re Gonna Start A Party. And they kept things going with a cover of Boondocks, and originals Between Me And You, and finished things up with I Like You Like I Like Beer.

Also, Eric gets high fives for working in a t-shirt toss, which is always a good way to get an early crowd to remember your name and cheer like they’ll never see another t-shirt again.

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Ben Hudson

Ben Hudson was next to hop up and entertain the growing crowd as the afternoon wore on. 6 strong on stage, Hudson and his band were smooth and tight – and with his great voice leading the way it was easy to see why he was nominated for the Country Music Association of Ontario’s Rising Star Award this year.

It’s also worth noting (although we’re sure it has nothing to do with his talent) that Ben has great hair, even if he wore a Toronto Maple Leafs cap over it.

Keep your ears open for more from Ben Hudson, tracks like One Of Those Nights are going to keep him on radio and at festivals like this for a long time to come.

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James Barker Band

Our second to last side stage act of the afternoon/early evening was the James Barker Band – a group of dudes that have impressed us more and more every single time we’ve seen them up on stage in the last year.

As a group, these guys are all talented and tight on stage – busting out originals like I Get You (really could be their next radio single), Just Saying, and their current single, and one of the catchiest summer tracks of the year, Lawn Chair Lazy. And they aren’t afraid to mix it up a little either with their super fun rendition of Eminem’s Lose Yourself mixed with Rage Against The Machine’s Killin’ In The Name Of, and Thomas Rhett’s You Make Me Wanna.

Note: The most precious moment on the side stage came during the James Barker Band set when a courageous young man proposed to his girlfriend – and after she said yes they had their first dance as an engaged couple while the band played for them and the crowd.

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Andrew Hyatt

The last act on the Maple Leaf Stage before the rains came down in Kitchener was Andrew Hyatt. We talked to Andrew about his summer when we hooked up with him for a quick chat at the CMAO awards, and he told us he was excited for this set, and it showed.

In a ballcap and jeans, Hyatt played his guitar, led the band, and sang for the fans at the stage, the people in line for beer, and anyone within earshot. His current single MGR (Me and a Girl and a Radio) got toes tapping, heads nodding, and country music listeners singing along – which is always a good sign for an emerging artist.

You’re going to hear more from Andrew Hyatt. Be ready.

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2 years ago

4 Rules for Watching Eric Church Live at CMT Music Fest 2016!

Eric Church is coming to the main stage to headline day 1 of CMT Music Fest on July 8 – so we’ve taken our experience to build this list of 4 rules when he takes the stage.

Have a look and leave a comment telling us if you think you can follow the rules, and if you have any rules you’d add to the list.

AND, let us know if we’ll be seeing you in Kitchener at CMT Music Fest 2016 – we’d love to say hi!

Rule #1 Stay Weird

A huge part of Eric Church’s message is about being you and not bowing to the pressure around you to be something or someone you aren’t. If you’ve identified at all with the lyrics to Mr. Misunderstood, you know exactly what we mean.

And so on Friday, July 8 we’re urging you to remember that and do you. Sing and dance and smile and wave your hands and enjoy your drink – or sit in the back and take it all in. Whatever your gut tells you to do, damn well do it.

Rule #2 Sing Proud

eric church cmt music festWe just told you that you don’t have to sing – and you don’t, but if you’re going to sing along, just f#*king go for it!

With hits like Cold One, Smoke A Little Smoke, Talladega, Give Me Back My Hometown, and Mr. Misunderstood likely to be in the set, we know that you’re all going to know the words, and we want to hear ‘em. In fact, one of our favourite things in the world is hearing thousands of fans singing along with the music, so if you can give us, Eric Church, and yourselves that kind of moment after the sun goes down in Kitchener, we know you’ll be making memories.

Rule #3 Return the Boots

If you’ve seen Eric Church live before, you know that there are going to be boots flying through the air when/if A Lot Of Boot Left To Fill comes through the speakers.

Here’s us politely asking, on behalf of everyone who will throw a boot, please help them get to the stage, and help the owners find them again when they come back into the crowd. Yes, it would be super cool to leave CMT Music Fest with a signed cowboy boot from Eric Church, but it won’t be cool if it’s not your boot.

And if you’re thinking about throwing your boot up on stage please be mindful of how strong your arm is, how awkward it is to throw a boot, and the fact that there a lot of people around that aren’t looking to get hit in the head with your boot. Be careful.

Rule #4 Have Fun

Whether you’ve been drinking all day or you’re the DD. Whether you know all the words or you’re new to country music. And whether you’re the biggest Church fan in the world or you just don’t know how much you love him yet – we want you to have fun. Friday is going to be an awesome day of music with Kansas Stone and Meghan Patrick and Brothers Osborne and Kip Moore warming up the main stage for Eric Church… enjoy it!

Eric Church Boots and Hearts 2015

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest Day-to-Day Schedule and Set Times

Set times are now up for CMT Music Fest and it’s looking like there shouldn’t be too much overlap and that’s good news for all of us.

If you’re looking for more details you can hop on over to the CMT Music Fest page using THIS LINK. They’ve got some great artist profiles up if you’re looking for more details.

Friday, July 8

eric church fb cmtMaple Leaf Stage

Eric Ethridge: 4:30
Ben Hudson: 5:15
James Barker Band: 6:00
Andrew Hyatt: 7:00
Lindi Ortega: 8:00

Main Stage

Kansas Stone: 4:40
Meghan Patrick: 5:35
Brothers Osborne: 6:35
Kip Moore: 7:55
Eric Church: 9:15

Saturday, July 9

Zac Brown Band CMT Music Fest 2016Maple Leaf Stage

Them Dang Rattlers: 3:00
Leah Daniels: 4:00
The Washboard Union: 5:15
Cold Creek County: 6:40

Main Stage

Drake White and The Big Fire: 2:50
Kira Isabella: 4:10
The Road Hammers: 5:30
Tom Cochrane with Red Rider: 6:50
Zac Brown Band: 8:35

A few quicks facts you might want to know:

Where is Bingemans located?
Bingemans, located at
425 Bingemans Centre Drive,
Kitchener, ON
N2B 3X7

What are the festival hours?
Friday, July 8 – 4:00pm until 11:00pm
Saturday, July 9 – 2:00pm until 11:00pm

Is the site wheelchair accessible?

Yes, both the venue and activities are wheelchair accessible.

Is there parking on site?
There is no parking available onsite at Bingemans. There will be a drop-off zone and there is an offsite parking lot with shuttle services check out this link for all the details!

Is there camping?
There is camping for campers who are 19+, check out the camping link for all the details.

Is the event family friendly?
Children are welcome at the festival but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Note camping is only available for 19+.

The CMT Music Fest has a complete FAQ if we haven’t answered your question yet!

We’re getting very, very excited and can’t wait to see you there!

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest Preview: 5 Reasons We’re Excited to See Zac Brown Band + Top 5 ZBB Songs!

On Saturday, July 9 we’re excited to see Zac Brown Band headline the stage at CMT Music Fest in Kitchener, ON. Like, really excited.

Zac Brown Band 2016 TourThese guys are stars with a full catalogue of hits, and we have only ever heard very, very good things about their live show… but we don’t want to say too much right now because we have broken things down into the top 5 reasons we’re excited to see ZBB this summer.

Also, because this is a big deal headliner we’re talking about, we have our top 5 songs from Zac Brown Band a little further down in the post.

So check ‘em out and leave a comment to let us know if you’ve seen Zac Brown Band, what your favourite song from ZBB is, or if we’re going to see you in Kitchener at CMT Music Fest 2016!

5 Reasons We’re Excited To See Zac Brown Band At CMT Music Fest

The Musicianship

The Zac Brown Band is just that, a band. To watch these guys on stage in videos and at award shows, and then listen to their records is to hear a set of musicians that are really good at what they do. The individual playing is tight and wonderful, and putting all of the pieces together is what has made them the headliners and superstars that they are in country music now.

We can not wait for the chance to hear some solos on guitars, fiddle, and drums when the band is on stage in Kitchener.

The Harmonies

We just mentioned how great the instruments sound together… but the voices are just as great.

Whether ZBB is singing something slow and sweet like Highway 20 Ride or they’re having some fun with Toes, there’s almost always more than one voice involved in the process. Having that many voices involved can get dicey – especially when you’re using the band and not hired gun backup singers. But these boys get it done, and sound great, and we’re looking forward to hearing them nail it all.

The Covers

We haven’t seen ZBB live, but we’ve seen the videos on YouTube and they’re awesome. Covers of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name Of, Metallica’s Enter Sandman, Pearl Jam’s Black and Charlie Daniels’ Devil Went Down To Georgia have crowds on their feet and into the show. It’s true that 3 of those 4 songs aren’t country – but the new generation of music fans know them and love it!

The Energy

Those videos we talked about, plus other live clips of ZBB playing their own songs continuously show fans singing and jumping and generally just going all out – we freaking love that. The vibe that live music brings is undeniable and when the crowd is into it, as we expect they will be, it’s amped up even higher.

We’re Fans

Since Chicken Fried hit our radios in 2008 Zac Brown Band has been on our radar, and now the chance to see them and cross the band off of our list is pretty damn exciting. If you see us don’t be scared to join in on our sing along, it’s going to be loud and a whole lot of fun.’s Top 5 Zac Brown Band Songs

Chicken Fried

Highway 20 Ride

Colder Weather

Sweet Annie

Did You Know: CMT Music Fest performer Meghan Patrick‘s dog Annie is named for this song. True story!


Bonus: w/ Dave Grohl Day for the Dead

2 years ago
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