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Buckle & Boots Country Festival 2018

Photo Credits:- Ian Morrall and Charlotte West.

Ian and I arrived on Thursday at about 2pm and pitched our tent in glorious sunshine. Our other Forever British Country team mates turned up minutes later.

The evenings entertainment started at about 8ish. Darcy's sister Cassidy, her boyfriend Ben and Darcy drummer Ollie did a half hour set acoustically which was really nice. Cassie has a fabulous tone to her voice. They covered some very well known songs and also sang a couple that Cassie had written herself.

Then came the comedy evening. 4 comedians on the bill. I am personally not a lover of stand up comedy but Ray Crawford is hilarious at times. People seemed to enjoy the show and I bet Buckle & Boots is the only festival in the country to host an evening like that making this festival unique on so many levels.

We went to bed about midnight. The days were very hot and unfortunately the nights were bitterly cold consequently we were up very early the next morning. Showers taken we started setting up our tent area because we were filming some acoustic sessions from our tent. Unfortunately or rather, fortunately, the sun was so bright we had to change our plans. We popped over to the Barn to see Karl Hancock who owns Whitebottom Farm where Buckle & Boots is held and is also the organiser with the help of his wife and daughter Jan and Laura and also alongside singer Gary Quinn. Without hesitation he said we were very welcome to use the stage that had been set up for the comedy night all day if we wanted too. Needless to say we used it all weekend with the exception of Chloe's session as it was too noisy to film in the barn so we managed a tent session after all.

So we dressed the stage and set up our camera. Anthony has a degree in TV Production so this is right up his alley. John helped with the cameras and Ian took some very nice photos of our artists performing their 'Barn Session' as it was now called. We had 4 pre-booked but did a couple more as we had time. It was lovely for our artists to have an audience and some people liked the sessions so much they didn't miss any all weekend. I have to say I loved all our artists acoustic performances and thanks once again for agreeing to perform for us. We were even introduced to Nia Nicholls by big boss Karl himself and asked if we could record something with her. While we are at it I just want to say thank you to the sound guys who worked round us before commencing main stage sound checks. They were brilliant.

I am not going to go through all the artists that we saw because this review would become a novel but there were some stand out moments every day of the festival. I loved Gasoline & Matches and seeing Jade with a band behind her as I have seen her perform acoustically many times and to see Morganway perform Hurricane live was great. I love that song so much.

Artists that I have been chatting to on messenger for a long while I managed to catch them play live for the first time, Lee Paul, Square One, Lew Thomas, Danny McMahon, Emily Faye you all blew me away. Catching up with firm favourites like Chloe Chadwick, Simon James and of course the wonderful Backwoods Creek. Discovering new music, discovering new artists whose music you fall in love with. The Wandering Hearts, Mairead, OandO, Joe Martin, The Dusk Brothers with their homemade instruments. A sound that came straight out of the hillbilly backwoods, Curran who sounds like Jon Bon Jovi when he sings. A try before you buy is what a festival is all about. The home grown UK country music is very varied in style, each artist having their own take on what country music is to them. This means it is far from boring. Izzie Walsh, Jack and Ella, Robbie Cavanagh, Demi Marriner, Laura Oakes, Melanie and Foreign Affairs. I love it.

It was lovely to meet a true legend this weekend as well. Sarah Jory is just amazing. Never having seen her perform before it put pedal/lap steel guitars in a whole different light for me. Sarah offered to do a session with us but as she cannot do it acoustically it couldn't be organised. However watch this space because Sarah is doing something very special for us. We have an exclusive.

It was also really lovely to finally meet Sam Hodgson who was representing Keep it Country TV. I think we can safely say he loved Buckle & Boots.

So much wonderful talent in one place. So many fabulous performances but for me there were 2 very special highlights:-

1. Our Barn Session with our super'hungover'group. We were not going to turn down the opportunity to film some of the top talent of the UK country music scene jamming together.

2. Darcy and friends after party. I kid you not, in my opinion, these were the true headliners of sunday night. This band doesn't steadily improve, they leap. Giant leaps from their previous performances. I loved the line-up, I loved the song choices, the light show. It 150% worked on every level. You guys rocked.

We got into bed as the sun was coming up over the horizon after watching some impromptu acoustic sessions with our artists and American young. A great way to end a festival.

Buckle & Boots gave all those who stayed sunday night a free breakfast roll of either sausage or bacon and coffee. It was a really nice gesture. We packed up our tents in the heat, had coffee on the balcony of the cabin and left for home about lunch time.

Buckle and Boots. Great family atmosphere. Tick.

Buckle and Boots. Great line-up. Tick

Buckle and Boots. Great setting Tick

Buckle and Boots. Great food and drink Tick

Buckle and Boots. Great hospitality services Tick

Are we going next year? You can bet your bottom dollar we are. We wouldn't miss it for all the coffee in Colombia.

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