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Boots & Hearts 2024: Our Picks of the Fest

Celebrating 11 years, the iconic country music festival strengthens its foundations with an all-star mix of roots and rock.

by Ben Boddez

With the popularity of country music continuing to surge, there’s no better time for a return of North America’s biggest country music festival outside of Nashville. Also continuing to stand as the largest music and camping festival in the nation, Boots & Hearts Music Festival is returning to the expansive Burl’s Creek Event Grounds from August 8-11 in Oro-Medonte, Ontario – about an hour and a half’s drive north from Toronto. With headliners Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett and Cody Johnson taking the stage to add to the festival’s long legacy of booking some of the genre’s top hitmakers, the festival is looking to build on a 2023 edition that saw record-breaking attendance and a new focus on interspersing some rock acts into the bill as well.

Boasting a strong contingent of Canadian artists this year, the festival will also be bringing back its Emerging Artist Showcase competition – of which two past contenders are now playing the festival in their own right. “The growing popularity of country music not only attracts a wider audience but allows an opportunity for more creativity in curating our artist lineup. It’s important to us to unite fans and create lasting memories with an experience they can’t get anywhere else,” says director of talent buying, Brooke Dunford. “We always strive to curate a lineup that delivers electric energy for both fans and artists, and we’re confident this year’s lineup will do exactly that.”

Here are some of our picks of the can’t-miss sets of the weekend.

Emerson Drive

If you’ve been even the most tangential of fans of this Grande Prairie, Alberta country band, who have been racking up awards and an impressive nineteen top ten hits on the Canadian country charts over a three-decade career, then you have to check out their final performance on the festival’s final day. Announced to be their swan song as a band before hanging up the cowboy hats for good, get ready to tap back into 2006 and prepare for the catharsis of singing “Moments” with a thousands-strong crowd. 


Matchbox Twenty

Last year’s surprise inclusion of rock icons Nickelback provided the festival with one of its biggest boosts, and they’re likely to capture the magic once again by bringing Rob Thomas and his band north of the border for their only Canadian performance of the year. Built for arenas and massive festival grounds, you already know that their setlist will be jam-packed with hit singles. The sub-headliner for Thomas Rhett on the festival’s Saturday night, it’ll be an evening of singalongs – don’t forget to channel your inner Kenergy when the band drops “Push.” 


Brothers Osborne

If you’re looking for the kind of Southern rock and outlaw country-influenced sounds that some of the genre’s finest vocalists tend to dabble in, Brothers Osborne’s set on Friday night will be your best bet. TJ and John Osborne took home their first Grammy for their 2020 breakout project Skeletons, and should be promoting their 2023 self-titled album and the recently-released Break Mine EP at the festival. Not only that, the duo has come to represent something bigger than their great music – TJ came out as gay in 2021, making him the first openly LGBTQIA2S+ signee to a major country label. 

Megan Moroney

Although there are quite a few proven chart-topping country stars closing out each night, when it comes to a rising star who might be on their level in the near future, those looking for early-career bragging rights should check out 26-year-old Megan Moroney. Already with a couple smash hits – “Tennessee Orange” and “No Caller ID” – Moroney has been quoted as saying that she writes either “bad bitch country songs or emo cowgirl songs.” Whichever side of that dichotomy you identify most with, make sure to catch this Georgia-born artist performing her splashy debut album, Lucky.   



While 2018 Emerging Artist Showcase participant Nate Haller – with his latest album, excellently titled Party In The Back – is playing the festival as well, make sure to attend the kick-off party on Thursday night to catch this year’s Showcase alongside last year’s champ, Shantaia. Having already scored an opening slot for Kane Brown and racking up seven tracks with six-figure streaming numbers – most of which reside on her 2023 project, Exes and Friends – since the competition, this talent from Saskatchewan is ready to become one of country music’s biggest stars. 


Boots and Hearts Music Festival will be stomping all over Burl’s Creek Event Grounds Aug. 8 to 11 in Oro-Medonte, ON | TICKETS & INFO