All Photos credited to Ian Morrall
We met up with our Forever British Country team mate Anthony Alker at the carvery in Glossop where the 3 of us discussed the weekend's plans and strategies. Ian, Ant and I then headed over to Whitebottom Farm, arriving at Buckle and Boots at about 2pm on THURSDAY afternoon.
The camping field had been changed and you couldn't drive onto it anymore, so because of my arthritic hips, we pitched our tent right at the bottom end of the field, just beyond the roped off area where car access had to stop. We had too much stuff to carry up the hill in the heat. We also had to be far enough away from the stage noise in case we needed to film an acoustic session by our tent.
We walked up the hill to have a look around, checking out the bar, the main stage, the paddock stage tent and the whereabouts of the new loos and showers. Lots of changes this year including some of the food outlets. I did miss the curry vendor. It is my favourite food and I was looking forward to it. We spent the rest of the afternoon by our tent, meeting our country family friends and artists. It was a lovely holiday atmosphere.
In the evening we wandered up to the bar, exchanged our money for beer tokens, got our wrist bands, had a drink and carried on socialising. It was during the evening we found out that we wouldn't be able to film our acoustic sessions in the barn this year. Now this made us totally reliant on having good weather. We didn't stay at the country disco in the barn too long as we had had a long tiring week so we went to bed about 9:30. I was looking forward to trying my new deluxe guest bed out that turned out to be perfect for camping. With arctic sleeping bags, a 15 tog duvet and a furry throw I was warm for the first time ever while camping, so I slept quite well on it and had more hours sleep in one night than I had had for the duration of the festival last year.
FRIDAY turned out to be a lovely day weather wise so we filmed the days sessions with Alan Finlan & Ollie, Kezia Gill and Katy Hurt from our tent with the festival in the background. All of them sounded amazing. We had our own little festival within a festival. We used the artists 'green room' for our session with The Adelaides. Each of our tent sessions will be used for a podcast which can be found on Mixcloud and is also broadcast on 11 radio stations worldwide, and also uploaded permanently to our Forever British Country Youtube channel and website at www.foreverbritishcountry.co.uk. Unfortunately we never managed to see a main stage performance from any of our artists on the night. Too busy filming and running up and down that hill. This I guess is the downside to being 'press' at an event. Festivals are now a working weekend for us. Still enjoyable though. I did glimpse and hear Backwoods Creek and Katy Hurt and managed to catch half a performance from The Adelaides.
SATURDAY started early for us. After coffee and a porridge pot for breakfast we commenced the filming. Gasoline and Matches dropped by first. It's always a pleasure to see these guys. Straight afterwards we did a session with a band I first heard a few months ago when they sent me their music to review and wow what a session. We had Gareth Nugent and his whole band. People were leaving their tents to come and see Gareth and the guys. Believe me when I tell you these guys are good.
We walked up the hill and the festival was in full swing. Ian had a very busy job running in between stages to photograph all our British artists. He hardly had time for a beer and food was totally forgotten about all weekend until late at night. It was great to finally meet people who I had been conversing over facebook with for so long, Susanne & Steve Taggart from 'British Country Airplay' have been so supportive of us so it was nice to be able to say hi face to face.
We grabbed Emilia Quinn after her set on the Paddock stage. However it started spitting with rain so we cleared the inside of my tent and did a very cosy session in there with Emilia sitting cross legged on the floor. It is nice to get a different background from time to time. We wouldn't want you guys getting bored lol.
By 2pm it was back down the hill again to record a session with our friend Kira Mac. My son Ollie joined her on cajon for the first time and I really enjoyed the session. Just Zoe did her session with us straight afterwards.
This is when the clash of the century happened for me. I absolutely love Kezia Gills music. She is a star in the making, but through me, Gareth Nugent was able to secure a slot at Buckle and Boots and I wasn't going to miss his set for anything, so I watched a couple of songs with Kezia then hobbled across the stones as fast as I could to the paddock stage to see Gareth and the band. They blew the roof off. Amazing. And now I get the chance to catch up with both Kezia and Gareth at FSA which I am really pleased about.
I know you guys are all hoping that I will review individual performances in this review, but I hardly saw any complete performances the whole weekend. Half a set here, a song there and then it was off to film a session or attend a meeting. We missed some of our favourites entirely. The performances I did see were all fantastic though. We did manage to see Gasoline & Matches and Remember Monday who, if you remember, were contestants on The Voice a few months age. I loved their sets. I know at this stage there was still a couple of artists to perform but I was done in so after finally getting something to eat, we made our way back to the tent at about 10.30 ish.
SUNDAY morning we awoke to the sound of rain and the realisation that our tent leaked. Luckily Ollies cajon and nothing of importance had got wet overnight. This did however disrupt our filming plans. Luckily we had made arrangements with Gary Quinn on the friday night that we could use the artists green room if it was raining so that's what we did. We gathered up our cameras and walked up the hill and set up in the green room. Our first artist was Molly-Anne followed by Danny McMahon with Rachel singing some vocals and his cajon player. Lauren Jane who had been camping near us and wasn't due to perform at the festival also did a session with us.
In between catching Danny McMahon's and Stevie O'Connors sets on the main stage we fitted in an acoustic session with Jake Morrell who we first met in London last November, then it was off for a pre-arranged meeting before the set I had been looking forward too all weekend.
Alan Finlan is a mate of ours and he made his Buckle and Boots debut to a packed out paddock stage. He had been singing and playing his guitar round the campsite all weekend and going round and introducing himself to people. Those people in turn, turned out to support him. He did an amazing performance and made me so proud. It was great to see him backed by a band and it was also great to see Ben Gurney back behind a guitar where he belongs.
We popped over to the main stage to catch a couple of songs from Jade before getting back to the paddock stage for Jaywalkers. Straight after their lovely set they were filming what we thought at the time was our last Session. Such a beautiful sound they have.
On going back up to the festival my son Ollie had begun to put the wheels in motion of an idea that Ian had had earlier in the day and after lots of running about and talking to artists and their managers he pulled off the coup of the festival and century for us. American country artists WILLIAM MICHAEL MORGAN and LEWIS BRICE had agreed to take part in an acoustic session with us in the cabin alongside some British Artists. We definitely wanted Alan Finlan to take part in this event so we approached Ian and Stephen at MHMG to help us out and at about 9pm we went into the cabin and moved furniture around and created a nice setting with candles and soft lighting in which to film it.
As soon as Lewis Brice left his meet and greet session our session began. It is a songwriters round with Alan, William, Ollie, Emma Jade, Stevie and Lewis. Each artist singing a song. Some covers and some original music. They harmonised with each other and played guitar for each other and then then they all sang a song together. It was truly a magical half an hour and the highlight of my weekend. To be able to say my son has played cajon for Nashville recording artists, albeit in a very informal setting means the world and I thank them so much.
Phew! Our work was finally over. Now we could let our hair down and enjoy the rest of the evening. Singing along to some 90's country that Brett Kissel was performing was great.
A complimentary bacon butty on Monday morning was just what was needed before packing up the tent and heading to Glossop for a last cup of coffee with Ollie and a face time with Darcy before heading home.
Now the real work starts. All the reviews and the editing of the photos and videos. We did have a fun but very busy weekend and I would like to say thanks to Karl, Laura, Jan and Gary for putting together another great Buckle & Boots Country Festival.
The Adelaides - Paris, Alicia, Abi
Kezia Gill Katy Hurt April Jai
Alan Finlan Foreign Affairs Hannah Paris
Emma Jade Backwoods Creek Heron
Remember Monday - Charlotte, Holly, Lauren
Gareth Nugent Gasoline & Matches Jaywalkers
Jake Morrell Emilia Quinn Gary Quinn
Jade Helliwell Sarah Jory Stevie O'Connor
Kira Mac Danny McMahon Molly-Anne
Darren Hodson - The Southern Companion
International Jam Session featuring Alan Finlan-William Michael Morgan-Oliver Hopkins-Emma Jade Garbutt- Stevie O'Connor-Lewis Brice.