There is not long to go until festival season kicks off and one festival, now in it’s third year, has gone from strength to strength. Yes, Buckle and Boots which takes place in Etherow Country Park in Manchester is the biggest independent Country music festival around and hosts artists from Australia and America but also gives UK acts a platform to get their music heard. Though the festival grows year on year it still feels like a family and community. It’s also the place to go if you like to hang out with your favourite acts as most who play enjoy coming out for a beer and to watch the other acts, everyone’s very down to earth. This year, like in the past couple of years boasts a stellar line up and we’re here to take you though it.
UK Band The Wandering Hearts who are label mates with The Shires headline the festival. They have done well on the festival circuit over the past couple of years. Their debut album Wild Silence came out in February this year and after supporting Marty Stuart on tour, they performed at C2C and were a favourite amongst the fans there. They are quite different to anyone else out there at the moment, their harmonies are fantastic and though they have some brilliant songs such as Devil and Fire and Water I think they are one of those bands that is better live and especially in a festival setting. Filmore, is another artist high up on the bill. He has been doing very well for himself touring with the likes of Sam Hunt, Russell Dickerson and Chase Rice. His 2016 EP Proof has over 2 million streams on spotify and last year he had two slots at CMA Fest and a performance at Stagecoach.
A favourite among the Buckle and Boots crowd is American Young, they impressed last year and now they’re back again! The duo made up of Kristy Osmunson and Jon Stone are fantastic songwriters, vocalists and musicians and have been compared to the Civil Wars. Individually they have both written for other artists such as Joey and Rory, Lee Brice and Blake Shelton. Last year the crowd stomped along to their unique brand of Country and I’m sure this year they will be singing along loudly once again. A new name to me is Raihanna Estrada from Nashville Tennessee, upon listening to her music, I think she’s going to go down well with the Buckle and Boots crowd and I’m sure a little bit like Jenn Bostic she’ll come back time and time again. Speaking of Jenn, much to everyones delight she is on the bill once again.
There is lots of well known British talent in the line up which is great to see. One of the festival organisers Gary Quinn from Ireland who now resides in Manchester and tours regularly around the UK is high up on the bill as is Laura Oakes who memorably did a duet with Gary last year, a cover of Chris Young and Cassadee Pope’s Think of You. Gasoline and Matches have had quite a year, they released their debut single Fools Gold at the start of this year and it went to number one on the UK Country iTunes Chart, they’ve also played a run of shows in California recently and a headline show at London’s Hard Rock Cafe. My pick of the festival is the formidable Sarah Jory, the Worlds number 1 female pedal steel guitarist, she’s won countless awards worldwide and played with everyone from Van Morrison to Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers to Imelda May. She is one act you don’t want to miss!
Returning favourites are Melanie Greggain, Jade Helliwell and Darcy, all British artists who can be seen gigging around the UK frequently. They are amongst the best in the UK scene and Jade has just released a cracking EP (a review shall be posted shortly) so there will be new music to hear as well as fan favourites! Another UK act not to be missed is Foreign Affairs, they have been drumming up support whilst touring with the likes of Frankie Ballard, Striking Matches and Margo Price. The two brothers from Bristol are currently in the middle of recording their second record. It isn’t just the UK and America that is represented at this festival though, there is also some Australian talent on the line up in the form of Kirsty Lee Akers and Hayley Jensen. Australia gave us some great country acts such as Keith Urban and most recently Morgan Evans, so I definitely think these girls are worth a listen. They’ve both seen award and chart success and their videos have had heavy rotation on the Country Music Channel over there. They have both frequented America, in particular Nashville and in the past few years Kirsty has showcased her music in Canada to a good response. They can now add England to the list of countries conquered!
With the countdown underway it’s time to check out the Buckle and Boots playlist whilst you practice putting up and folding down those pop up tents! Yes, we appreciate the struggle. Tell us who you’re most looking forward to seeing and we’ll try to grab an interview with them at the festival site!