What a whirlwind weekend. I originally didn’t have plans to attend the Shaky Boots Music Festival in Kennesaw, Georgia but after several weeks of looking at the lineup, talking with friends, it was something that I had to attend. At least from a media perspective. As an inaugural festival, Shaky Boots definitely didn’t feel like a first year festival. From an attendees view, everything ran so smoothly. I however need to go back and re-read and re-write my “Things to Bring to a Festival.” As a festival veteran, I was completely unprepared for this festival – I’m only assuming I didn’t start packing enough in advance. It was great because normally I wear my cowboy boots because festivals are so dirty, but this festival was clean because the stages were on football fields and some even had AstroTurf! SCORE!
Shaky Boots was held at Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment Park, featuring Fifth Third Stadium. It was such an easy location to find, especially for an out of town attendee!
I started out my Saturday early because one of my “must see” acts was The Railers. Check out my interview with Cassandra from The Railers for the blog, Kinda Dig The Railers. They performed on the main stage, the Peachtree Stage at 1:15 p.m. I love watching them perform all of their instruments and they didn’t disappoint with their songs Kumbay’all, Kinda Dig the Feeling, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye and more! They even did a this great folky rendition of Andy Grammer’s hit Honey, I’m Good, called their Covers Undercover. The perfect way to start the festival!
Next up was Jana Kramer. She NEVER disappoints. She always wears the greatest outfits and still rocks out! She loves getting off the stage and interacting with the crowd, including taking multiple selfies with fans. In order to provide protection, Jana’s fiance (at the time, now husband) walked behind her for security.
The Whiskey Gentry was a new act for me but a new love as well. Taking the lead was Lauren Staley and what a voice not to miss. Put them on your must see list.
Jason Isbell, launched his solo career, but was a part of Drive-By Truckers for six years. While jamming on the stage Isbell took many chances to speak to the audience. My favorite being, “We’re kinda a rock n roll band. I hope you don’t mind.” The audience replied with many cheers as his music was welcomed.
Dierks Bentley always puts on a fantastic show, with guitarist Brian Layson rocking a Cadillac 3 shirt on stage. It felt like the entire crowd was singing along with Every Mile a Memory. Dierks thanked the audience for coming to the show, as he said it is not just our weekend but his weekend as well and he’s happy to party and spend it on stage with everyone.
To top off the night was Blake Shelton. A legend of his own. Blake did not disappoint by also interacting with the crowd, singing his hits songs and of course cutting up on stage. Gwen Sebastian was singing backup for Blake.
Who I Missed: Brooke Eden, Amanda Shire, Craig Wayne Boyd, John Thompson, Kip Moore, Dwight Yoakam
Food Trucks! Best Idea Ever! There was an entire food truck section. In Pensacola, our city is still fighting against food trucks, but it was amazing to see all the different types of food truck options available. I chose Mac The Cheese truck both days – I couldn’t resist. The Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese was absolutely amazing – tons of cheese, buffalo sauce, chicken and blue cheese crumbles! Please give me more!
Drake White was one of my must see acts of the festival. I saw him a few months back on a radio station tour and his energy was intense inside a station, I knew that he would be an amazing act to see on stage. I was dead on, too. Drake has this awesome energy on stage that he just makes you want to jam right there with him, especially when he’s singing his song “It Feels Good.”
The Cadillac Three is one of my favorite bands right now. I’ve seen them multiple times in concert and scored a meet a greet at the last show. While at Shaky Boots I decided to wear my Cadillac Three White Lightning tank top. Cody Alan from CMT was in the media tent and even commented on my shirt when I walked in, a few minutes later, The Cadillac Three walks in for an interview with Cody. Jaren even commented and thanked me for wearing the shirt. Right before The Cadillac Three took the stage, the sky dropped, pouring rain. The band and equipment was covered, so they started playing while the fans stood in the rain to rock out with them. While playing their set, Jaren asked the crowd what they should sing next, “We’re all a little day drunk and don’t know what else to play next.” Someone yelled out their hit, “The South.” Jaren replies, “You know we’re going to play the South. You guys are ridiculous.”
Eli Young Band is always a favorite of mine. The band is composed of Mike Eli (vocals, guitar), James Young (guitar), Jon Jones (bass guitar), and Chris Thompson (drums). They were very engaged with the audience and sang their hits like Crazy Girl, Even If It Breaks Your Heart, Drunk Last Night, and Dust!
Justin Moore’s stage presence is amazing. Even though he looks taller on stage than he really is, he knows how to work it and has the confidence to go with it. Talk about a voice, Justin is tried and true, country. With his hits like If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away, Small Town USA and Point at You.
Old Crow Medicine Show – the original creators of the hit, Wagon Wheel. Lead singer, Ketch Secor, walked around the festival ground ahead of time and hung out in the media tent for a while talking to all of the different media outlets. Such a great group of guys!
Brad Paisley, a true entertainer. Does this man really know how to put on a show. I’ve seen him in concert many times before, just earlier this year at the Pensacola Bay Center. But, Brad knows how to entertain a festival crowd. Typically at a festival, bands just use what is on stage and bring their instruments, have certain requirements in their rider, etc.. But not Brad, he brought his entire tour stage set with him. The stage was transformed to his stage overnight with 18 wheelers lining the outside of the festival. Without a doubt, a great choice for a closing headliner.
Who I Missed: John and Jacob, Jim White, Ricky Scaggs, Claire Dunn, Cracker, The Devil Makes Three, Sara Evans, Rodney Atkins, and Rascal Flatts
There wasn’t enough time to see everyone, so you had to make choices on which acts to catch and which acts you had to miss. There are some that I wish I could have seen, but there is always next time. A highlight of the festival for me was being able to meet Cody Alan from CMT.
Shaky Boots was a festival not to miss. Make sure to put it on your list of festivals to attend next year! SHAKY BOOTS!