The Boots & Hearts Journal @ Burl’s Creek (Aug 8-11)
by Wayne Baggs
—- Day 1! —-
The trick to driving up the 400 from Toronto is in the timing. Go early or go late. Boots & Hearts 2019 started 4:30 Thursday, August 8th with shows only at the Front Porch Stage. Emerging acts followed by three bands.
I made the trip anyway because I was looking forward to watching The Cadillac Three, starting at 8:30. I also wanted to get a feel for the grounds, get my media creds etc. Long story short, only allowed to shoot one band, The Cadillac Three, thankfully. To me the best performance of the festival. Chase Rice said no pics. Ok, they must be good!!!!.
It’s nice to get out early, know what I mean. I also couldn’t find anyone to help with getting me the media passes. Many partiers already up here. The smart ones that get the best campsites etc. are nestled nicely for the weekend.
—- Day 2! —-
Let’s see if the answers I was giving work out. Friday’s line up of music is excellent as are all the days. By now I’ve asked anyone and everyone I can find, “Where is the media compound?” I’d been told all I need is pictured wristband. According to the package I’ve been given that’s not true but eh!
So off I go to shoot Dylan Scott. A great lady there tells me I need a photo pass. “OH, that one I’ve asked everywhere looking for?” She, being of the few that gets it lets me in with an understanding that I understand what I need. She was great.
So now I show up for the next shoot Maren Morris. Oh oh, a different lady with a different opinion. She knows the media compound (the one nobody knows the location of) where I get my little badge, is closed and won’t let me in to shoot. She also wouldn’t phone, I’ll not use her name, to confirm previous conversations. That’s why Maren Morris and Cole Swindell are lousy pics.
So now we have two days, and only two bands shot. I brought my wife on this day. She loves the New Country and Maren Morris, so all is not lost. Great vibe everywhere on the massive ground. When one band ends from the Main stage, another begins at the Front Porch Stage. The set up is excellent in that you can hear the music without having to get right in there and you want to walk around.
—- Day 3! —-
Guess what I’m finding today come whatever and whatever. First thing upon arrival the best Rockstar Bubba to keep cool on this beautiful day. Second, don’t ask or go near people from the previous days on my quest for my badge.
Finally thinking straight, I search out a fellow media person and found paradise. Now with the right passes and my signed waivers lets party, I mean shoot.
Tyler Rich and the Raelynn all good at the Main Stage. Off to the pit to catch The Wild Feathers at the Front Porch. Love it myself! Back at the Main, LANCO doesn’t want photos from the pit.
In Baggs fashion, I was a tad late and shot one song from the pit before being told where to go. Nice fella. Back by the soundboard with the rest of the media crew. Ooooppps! Once back there, without my $10,000 lens, because I don’t have one, why bother? I could have gotten better shots being in the audience.
OK two main acts to go, all’s not lost. Back to the Front Porch first, to take in Mitchell Tenpenny. Hugh receptive crowd gave him the love. Back to the Main Stage. Kip Moore lets the media in the pit, and it’s great. Loud and close, my favourite place to be.
Another great thing about the photo pit is the interaction with the fans. Fist pumping, requests for photos, exchange of vapes, all kinds of things. Let’s face it. The fans at the front are committed!
Now it’s Miranda time. No one from the media is allowed anywhere in the pit. OK, I’ll shoot from the crowd. Guess what, someone noticed, and I had to stop. Hilarious. People in the front row are getting better pics with their phones. At that point, I just left.
So by now, it’s been 26 bands, and I’ve been allowed to shoot 21, sort off. All the first groups and the Front Porch Bands.
—- Day 4! —-
Another beautiful day. The weather has been fantastic with this being the hottest one. Festival goers everywhere. In talking to lots of fans, they all mentioned it as a positive well run experience returning next year. It is the place to be for any age. These guys know what they’re doing to provide great Festival atmosphere with great music.
I’ll admit I bailed before the mass exodus, so I can’t say how it went but from all account better than the Stones. And now that I think I know what I’m doing I’m looking forward to next year. Excellent!