After a successful inaugural single day festival last year, Chaps and Spurs returned to south-western Ontario with two days full of games, a patio full of vendors with delicious food and drinks, and more country music than you could imagine.
The crowd showed up earlier on this day in anticipation of all the great fun, food, and country music that was prepared for a late August evening.
Up first to entertain those dedicated early arrivals was Kelsi Mayne. This girl has an absolutely beautiful voice and the best way I can describe it is classic country with a little bit of modern flair. Combine that with her fiery red hair and abundance of stage presence and you’ve got the making of Canadian country music superstar. Throughout her set Mayne did an amazing cover of Carly Pearce’s “Hide The Wine”, and even announced one of her songs was on hold to be used in a feature film in the next few years.
Of all the candid conversations I had with fans throughout the festival, Buck Twenty’s name came up as the local band they most wanted to see. Naturally, once their set was over I heard plenty of “I would definitely see them again”, “they were so interactive and had so much fun up there”. I am so thankful these guys made time to answer a few questions for me on this day.
Can you describe who you are as a band in less than two sentences?
Aidan: I grew up pop.
Mike: I grew up country.
Aidan: That’s the cool blend. And that’s it. That’s two sentences. *laughs*
You’ve had a busy summer playing festivals all over Windsor-Essex this year. What’s your favourite part of playing any festival?
Mike: I think my favourite thing is just because they’re a relaxed atmosphere we get to meet so many fans after we perform and we really appreciate their support so it’s nice to be able to meet them after they made the effort to show up.
Aidan: It starts out with people coming in early just to set up the sound, the stage, the setlist and everything and I don’t think a lot of people really realize how much dedication there is to putting together an hour or 45 minute show and then you get to take it all down and do it again the next day which is just what we love to do.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned as country music artists who not only perform on the stage a lot, but who write and record songs and travel regularly?
Aidan: Really I didn’t realize how much I loved driving *laughs* Being able to take trips and some of them are lengthy. Driving from Nashville to Sault Ste. Marie and then flying to Saskatoon, you get to really know each other.
Mike: I also really enjoy the travel actually so I think it works out really well because we have a good group of guys with us and even though we’re working we have a lot of fun while we’re doing it and that’s really what makes it worth it for us.
Last question. Exciting news for the next 6 months?
Aidan: New music!
Mike: We’re actually going to Nashville soon for some pre-production stuff and then we’re coming back up here to Canada to work with our producer Danick Dupelle (from Canadian country band Emerson Drive), and we can’t wait to have at least 1 or 2 songs out and ready for fans to enjoy soon.
The final opening act of Day 2 was Marshall Dane. Perhaps best described as outlaw country and representation of rock for the night. With his long hair, ripped jeans, and well-worn hat, Dane entertained the crowd with a brand new song called “Back In Town” as well as a cover of the ever popular crowd pleaser “Sweet Caroline”. With a solid mix of upbeat dance worthy tunes and a few slower songs to show off a more tender side to his rugged appearance, Dane had the crowd in Lanspeary Park ready for the headliner in no time.
Finally the moment had arrived. The reason so many people showed up early to hang out in the sun and humidity on a late August evening. Coming out to his current radio hit “Hooked”, Scott had the crowd dancing and singing for an over an hour as he mixed his most well-known songs with newer numbers that are sure to garner the same success. Crowd interaction has definitely become a successful part of the Dylan Scott set as he took time between every couple of songs to ask the crowd how they were feeling, make jokes about the temperature and trying to escape the Louisiana heat, and even taking a poll of what decade everyone was born in before transitioning into a number of cover songs that prove Scott is well versed in traditional country even if his music leans more toward the pop angle now. For the grand finale, Scott performed one of his most successful singles, “My Girl” and let the crowd sing the final line of the song while he smiled with glee and that accomplished feeling one can only get from having years of hard work and dedication realized.
I’m so thankful that the Windsor-Essex area is investing more in entertainment events, especially ones centered around country music. It gives me a great feeling of pride in this city that we can showcase, not only the incredible local and national Canadian talent there is, but rising stars from Nashville as well. As a fundraiser for Autism Ontario providing support for families and those in need in the Windsor-Essex area, I think this festival was a great success and I hope it continues to flourish as more people realize how they can, not only give back to their community, but have an amazing time dancing and singing the night away for themselves. Cheers to 2019!