Buckle and Boots in Manchester is a one of a kind UK festival. For a start you will find that unlike US Festivals like CMA Fest, which I had just attended two weeks prior to this one, Buckle and Boots was inundated with female talent gracing the line-up. This special kind of festival not only gives you access to some of the hottest talent from across the globe it also lets you get up close and personal with every artist that graces the stage. I mean what other kind of festival has an afterhours party where the likes of Jenn Bostic, Filmore and Jon Stone perform on top of a bar drink in hand belting out tunes into the early hours of the next morning? The festival, my second BNB fest, included many incredible performances throughout the weekend but if I told you about them all I would be here for a while and you guys would get bored of me telling you about them, so I have decided to whittle it down to just 5 outstanding performances I witnessed throughout the incredible weekend!
First highlight came from Friday nights headliner act “Jenn Bostic”. Last year’s Buckle and Boots festival was where I first discovered Jenn and instantly became a fan, so I was really looking forward to seeing her headline the stage this year. It seems this Nashville beauty has taken the UK into her heart and treats the UK like a second home. Kicking off her set with “Wrong Thing” stood behind her trusty keyboard Jenn assured the crowd that she was here to rock the party this Friday night. Performing a collection of hits from her new album “Revival” the highlight came when she brought out a few friends on stage “Jade Helliwell and April Jai” to be her backing vocalists for a stunning performance of track of her new album “Haunting Me”. Jenn played a collection of songs from her “Revival” album but managed to squeeze at least one classic “Not Yet” from first album into her set. Every time I see Jenn she manages to stun the crowd with her mesmerising performances and Buckle and Boots was no different.
The next set of highlights came from 3 amazing up and coming acts, Emily Faye, Izzie Walsh and Philippa Hanna, performing on the BCMA Horizon stage which if you don’t know what that stage is it is a set of performers who the BCMA class as one’s to watch. Kicking off first was Emily Faye, fresh from her stint as part of the “Write Like A Girl Tour” which I sadly missed I was excited to see this British Beauty wow the crowd and she certainly didn’t disappoint. Accompanied by her band, guitar in hand oozing in confidence this girl absolutely smashed her short showcase of talent on that stage. Izzie Walsh another one of BCMA’s one’s to watch was an absolute surprising talent for me, it was clear before she graced the stage she had quite the fan base and I heard people whispering this girl is fabulous but am ashamed to say I had never actually took the time to listen to her so couldn’t comment therefore decided to stick around and check out her set. As she came on stage beer in hand, she took the stage and as she began to sing I was in utter shock! Looks certainly can be deceiving, I did not expect that voice to come out of such a tiny little thing! WOW! The whisperers were right she was incredible, and I instantly became a fan ensuring I downloaded her album “Take Me Back” as soon I got home. Final highlight from BCMA Horizon stage came from Philippa Hanna, now I was really looking forward to this girl’s performance as I love her song “Getting on With Life” and she certainly did not disappoint either. Performing tracks of her album “Come Back Fighting” she wowed the crowd with her incredible storytelling songs and voice. It’s amazing how the acts on the BCMA Horizon stage probably had the least amount of time to introduce themselves and wow the audience than any other performers throughout the weekend but in the short space of time they definitely captured my attention and many others too and I think that it’s evident this trio of performers have an amazing future ahead of them within the country genre.
Now it’s safe to say I definitely saved the best till last in this highlight’s piece, The Wandering Hearts were the absolute highlight of my weekend. Now it’s true to say before this festival I knew the odd song, but I hadn’t fully listened to the album yet, I did love “Devil” though so was looking forward to seeing that performed live. After taking a little longer than usual getting the audio right I was getting restless especially in the heat however I was assured by my friends in the crowd saying they will be worth the wait! The fourpiece, two leading ladies “Tara and Chess” and the two guys “Tim and AJ” came on and instantly caught my attention. The stage presence and chemistry between the four of them was unbelievable! Performing a collection of songs from their album “Wild Silence” it was clear they were adored by the audience every song they sang the audience sang every single word back. The surprising highlight of the night for me came when they decided to take on an Elvis classic “Wonder of You”, bear in mind I wouldn’t say am an Elvis fan at all but this cover completely took my breath away. The whole performance was stunningly beautiful, and I think this was the performance where I was like Wow! These guys really have something special! Another highlight performance was when they all stood around one microphone to perform “Burning Bridges” their harmonies and vocals were completely on point. These guys absolutely blew me away and are one of the best live acts I have ever seen, and I certainly have not stopped listening to the album since the festival finished and am making it my mission to ensure I will see them again at FSA Festival by attending the Sunday night just in time to see their performance. Cannot wait! If you want to see one of the best UK country acts in the UK make sure you get to FSA Fest to see these guys live I can assure you, you will not regret it!
There is just something about Buckle and Boot’s that makes the whole weekend festival experience something special and I don’t think until you attend and experience it yourself you will quite understand why that is and why people look forward to it the following year as much. Now my second year it really is one of the best weekends of the year and I cannot wait to do it all over again next year!
Review written by Katie Louise Ingram (twitter.com/xkatie19x)