5 lucky artists who will be appearing at this weekend's Buckle and Boots festival will be given the chance to perform at Australia's Buckle and Boots equivalent as the UK's most successful independent Country Festival teams up with Australia's biggest Country Festival! It was announced last week that Karl, Jan and Laura who started the festival three years ago have built a strong working relationship with the Australian festival to create opportunities for upcoming artists in both countries. This morning we had the great pleasure of talking to festival owner/co-ordinator Karl Hancock.
This will be Buckle and Boots third year, can you tell me a bit about it's creation?
Yeah this is it's third year we started it with Gary Quinn, he had the idea after he played one of our other festivals. So we all got together and said lets put on a Country music festival and that's what we did.
You briefly mentioned the other festivals you run, can you tell me about how you went from a working farm to running festivals and are you primarily Country fans or general music lovers?
We farmed Aberdeen Angus Cattle and I had a building business as well and we decided to put on our first festival just for local bands because we'd been to a lot of pubs and seen bands play and there was nobody there and people were on their phones all the time. We had the facilities to put on a festival and it was going to be an indie Festival because Manchester is indie music basically, so we did that for the first year. That was six years ago. It diversified from farming because the farm is 60 acres so was never going to be a big enough farm to make a living out of farming so that's what we tried to do. We had Blackthorn first, we had Moovin come along and then we had a beer and cider festival which is now the big barn rally and the we had buckle and boots. Moovin has about 15000 Blackthorn probably has about 10 or 12 thousand so they're growing year on year to the stage where they're probably as big as we want them to be. That's how it's all worked out really.
So you've teamed up with Tamworth music festival in Australia and you went out there earlier in the year, was it a business trip or was that just to see what potential opportunities there were out there?
I think because we have Darcy living on the farm who's obviously Australian. One of the things I thought was that the Australian Country scene is probably at the same point as the UK Country scene. So it was growing but it still wasn't the cool genre to be in. So my thoughts and Laura's thoughts were that if we could go over and see where they are and go to Tamworth Music Festival which is the biggest festival in Australia and figure out where it is compared to us. Obviously I'm on the BCMA Board as well so we were trying to see if there's anywhere for the UK acts to go and play because America's great, it's still the heart of it all but it's still hard for UK acts to break into because it's so established so the Australian market we thought if it was at the same point of growth then that would sort of work in our favour. So when we went to Tamworth we made some contacts before we went, people that Darcy and Ray Crawford knew. We went to Tamworth and met the mayor of Tamworth and the chairman and president of the Australian Country music board and they were fantastic, they thought it would be a great opportunity to expand their festival - they've been going 25 years - and join in with us. They saw the same as us that we're at the same level. So they thought it'd be great for some of their artists to come here which is great because we've got the festival so we said the winner of your equivalent of our Horizon stage can come over and play Buckle and Boots 2019 and we will bring over artists to play Tamworth as well so this idea of being able to swap acts and help each other, they jumped on board with that and ran with it. Since then we've had another festival that takes place a couple of weeks after Tamworth who want us to go there as well so the plan is to tour all round for about three weeks, we'll go to Hunter Valley where all the Wines made, the Gold Coast all places like that, it'll be a great experience for the guys to go on.
In the announcement you said there will be five Uk artists is that right?
Yeah five artists and then we'll probably put a band together to play with them too and what we'll do over the weekend of Buckle and Boots is we'll chat with people see who people think are really good, see who we think are going to be able to go, and also we've got some Australian's here so it will be interesting to get their thoughts on what would work over in Australia. In the few weeks after we'll announce who we're going to contact and hopefully take with us in January.
So will the selection process almost be fan based?
It will be fan based but in truth if we asked everyone to pick we'd never narrow it down to five so it's got to be fan based but in truth at the end of the day it'll be Laura and I who say ok this is who we think is going to work for us. Because we're going to pay, we're paying for flights, accommodation, for everything whilst we're over there so it's got to be who we think is hungry to go and explore so that's what we're looking for.
So do you have a message for the artists playing at Buckle and Boots this weekend ahead of this opportunity?
Yeah to everybody, and it should be at all festivals, wherever they play, we have an opportunity for them and there's things going to happen in South Africa and things happening in different places around the World so do a good job. It's also to do with how you interact as well, artists have to be liked, they have to interact with their fans and they have to be able to perform so that will be a part of it. They have to be ready.
We're also going to do a lottery for Country music fans to win the same deal, to win flights, to win accommodation which will be RV's, to follow us round on tour with all the artists but they can go off and do their own thing as well so I think we're charging twenty pound a ticket to win the chance of going to Australia for three weeks.
So to all those artists at Buckle and Boots, bring your A game and to all the fans get buying those lottery tickets. This is an incredible and unique opportunity so make the most of it and support the incredible team behind it.