Saturday was an even busier day at Boots and Hearts with a lineup that featured 16 different musicians, as well as the Miss Boots and Hearts Competition beauty pageant. And with heavy-hitter Eric Church closing out the night, the grounds at Burl’s Creek were more crowded than ever with tens of thousands of country music fans.
Campers were noticeably more worn down from the first two days and nights of Boots and Hearts, but with long lines at the alcohol and pizza tents, they showed a hearty willingness to keep the party going strong. There were plenty of activities set up for them, too, with Cornhole and a lasso toss being the most popular (there was even a woman displaying a light form of falconry!). Participants weren’t terribly good at either, but it looked like they didn’t particularly care. Instead, the focus was more on having a communal sense of fun, with the only passport needed was a smile and a high-five. And in terms of music…
Chad Brownlee: This Kelowna-born musician — who also dabbled in minor professional hockey — delivered a solid one-hour set that had the daytime crowd excited and singing along. He’s been an active musician for 12 years and it showed in his performance, with the singer making good use of both the stage and catwalk and playing to fans in the farthest reaches of the lawn with hits like “Hood of My Car” and “Thinking Out Loud”. And as much as the crowd love Brownlee, he seemed to love them even more, with a huge smile on his face the entire time.
Dallas Smith: He really loves to strut around with the mic, and made probably more use of the catwalk than all the other performers combined. Not that the audience minded though, as they loved getting a chance to see the BC boy more up close than on just the massive main stage. He was great at interacting with the audience and his fellow bandmates, while still maintaining a high energy level with songs like “Somebody Somewhere”, Wastin’ Gas”, the just-released “Cheap Seats” and “Tippin’ Point”. Smith has a strong voice that mostly stayed in pitch, but his technicality in terms of guitar skills leaves a little something to be desired.
Eric Church: One of country music’s biggest stars today, Church has an undeniable swagger and an enviable catalogue of hits that drew massive crowds to his 9:00 set. He’s won a slew of awards in the last several years and played the hits that got him such notice, opening with “Cold One” and delivering songs like “Homeboy”, “Springsteen”, “These Boots” and “Cold Ones” like a steamroller. If there’s one reason why Church was so loved that Saturday night, it’s because at that very moment, he possessed that magical combination of a gorgeous booming voice, incredible stage presence, and the experience of being able to make it all come together.