Barrie Uncovered

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Small Kindness and Big Love

We know that you are reading posts about Boots and Hearts 2019 that are making your head spin. We were there and saw the same things.  You name it, we saw it. But we also saw so much more. Let’s share the positives and turn some McFrowns upside down. Let us help you restore a little faith in humanity….


It really all started with Coleman and Tent City. Every year at Boots and Hearts there are so many tent campers that they call the area Tent City. On Thursday August 9th, the winds started blowing and blowing and then changed into gusting and gusting until we clocked some of them at 33 KM/H. If you are a camper, you know that gusting wind spells trouble. Thing is, at Boots and Hearts you’ve got all sorts of campers grouped together from the very experienced to the very first timers. Things like stakes and good knots become important and FAST. With the gusting wind, many tents were damaged and, in some cases, blown away. That quickly spells devastation because those campers have a lack of resources and sleeping under the sky, although it sounds romantic, just isn’t an option when you’ve got thousands of people around you. Okay, we’ve set the picture, so let’s get to the point.

Those nice people in the Coleman Pavilion went around and handed out tents to those people who needed them. Pro Bono. Just a decent act of kindness. Tip of the hat to you, Coleman. We are so impressed.

21st Bday Boy!

It happened so fast; we didn’t even get his name. “IT’S MY BIRFDAY!!!” said the happiest guy EVER! He turned 21 on Saturday, August 10th. He was full of excitement and enthusiasm and if the word “Par-taaaay” could be shown in a pic, it would be this pic below. Happy 21st, Buddy!

Uber Boy from Toronto

Nick from Toronto had been planning to attend Boots and Hearts 2019 ever since he attended for the first time in 2018. He had this whole plan together, camping weekend, party time and loads of fun. He was all packed and only had to finish work on Friday and then he was heading to Burl’s Creek from TO. Except for the fact that it didn’t end up happening that way. Nick went to start his car on Friday morning and nothing. He quickly grabbed transit to work and decided to figure it out when he was done. Again, it didn’t work out that way. Car seemed fizzled, work was done and he had his ticket to Boots and Hearts but no Plan B. Nick basically said Eff it and decided to Uber to Burl’s Creek. Guess how much that cost him? 200 smackers right to the feels. He gets to Boots with his backpack and absolutely nothing else. His new plan? Make friends, find somewhere to crash and hopefully find a ride home. It didn’t end up working that way, (again) well not exactly. He made friends, but no one offered him a place to stay and now security is telling him that if he doesn’t have a campground, he needs to leave. It’s 2 am and he’s stuck bad. But then Carolyn happens. She’s staying in VIP and is friends with the security guards. Nick is about the same age as her son. Carolyn is at Boots and Hearts all by herself and has a tent in VIP, but she also happens to have a pick up truck with the pickup Truck Bed Tents. She brought in just in case. Funny enough, just in case happened. She brought Nick over and gave him some food and then tent for the night while she slept in the pickup truck tent. Carolyn told us, “I had the space and just couldn’t see him sent home.” Ahhh, thanks Carolyn!


This girl could ROCK! We didn’t get her name but guess what? She’s getting married! Boots and Hearts is her last Canadian To Do before she heads off to New York to be with her fiancé. She made sure to describe the New York accent to us complete with expressions. We thought she nailed it. Congratulations!


It was what everyone was waiting for – Miranda Lambert. The crowd was huge and the energy was just radiating! There’s this cute couple and they are holding hands. Suddenly, the guy gets on his knee, still holding her hand and reaches into his pocket…..the immediate crowd around erupts and you just can barely hear the words he’s saying…..” Will you……marry me?” The cheer that went up was pretty decent yet it was easily swallowed by the crown cheering as Miranda was coming on. Those who were around them were pretty excited to see the proposal. We didn’t get a pic of it, but she said, “YES!”.


Shout out to McDonald’s for providing free coffee’s, latte’s and cappuccino’s during Boots and Hearts 2019! Wow! Wow! Wow! There was never a huge lineup – staff were friendly and funny. Thanks, so much to McDonald’s and their great staff!


Another great shout out! Monster represented BIG during Boots and Hearts. Cold, refreshing Monsters were available FREE during the weekend. Monster also had a stage and were featuring karaoke and giving potential stars a chance to shine. This karaoke though, wasn’t like what you expected, because they had a LIVE BAND! Yup, Good Enough Live Karaoke. You got to go up on stage with the band, they had an iPad with lyrics and away you went.

If you lost your spot, the band would do a little big of back up singing to get you on track. How awesome is that? They also had a Monster Green Room! Way to go guys!


She hasn’t made it to Boots and Hearts yet! She says 2020 is going to be HER YEAR! Kendra shared a pic of her savings jar. (She’s so serious!)

She’s a mother of 3 children and is a stay-at-home Mom. She’d like to go back to school for Mechanical Engineering. Kendra was born and raised in Wasaga Beach and is a country music fan! Her favourites are Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and Brad Paisley. Hey Boots and Hearts!  Bring these artists and help send this Mom to your 2020 show! Kendra has a Go Fund Me page and if you want to help this fine lady make it to Boots and Hearts 2020 to see her idols – send her a donation!


To find the girl. The year was 2017, the place? Boots and Hearts, of course. Keith was excited about attending Boots and Hearts 2017 because his parents named him after Keith Urban. Oh, he told us he knew many of Urban’s songs, because his parents idolize him. Keith was excited to see for himself. The 2017 festival had something else in store for him. A girl. He met an amazing girl and before he knew it, she was gone. Keith asked us to include him in our feel-good story and to tell Isabelle – if you are reading this – please join The Ultimate Boots and Hearts Fan Group and look him up. This could be fated! (Keith attended 2018 and didn’t find Isabelle.  He hopes to run into her in 2020!)

There you go! A few good stories worth reading. Having been present at Boots and Hearts 2019, we can honestly say that the security was outstanding. The volunteers were amazing! And the media? We were the best! But it all comes down to each and every one of you. The fans, the crowd and all those present. There really, really was a lot of love and kindness going on. Hopefully these stories will help remind us of our humanity. We still have a bunch more stories – we talked to so, so, so many of you!  Like and follow us on Facebook and Insta.  Maybe our next little tidbit will be about YOU!

Peace and LOVE!

Written by Sharon Johnston | Images by Stephen Elliot|Sarah Essmail

17 Amazing Simcoe County & Barrie Music Events You Cannot Miss

Barrie Music Festvals and Events

There’s something special about the music scene in smaller cities and towns. A relaxed yet enduring love for music that brings strangers together and turns them into friends. This passion can be seen in the abundance of Barrie music events that happen here almost daily.

We Canadians are proud of our music scene. Anytime someone mentions Arcade Fire, Fiest, Metric, or The Arkells we can’t help but say “hey did you know they’re Canadian?” Supporting Canadian festivals and music venues is a point of pride among us and nothing gets us out of the house, even in the dead of winter, like the prospect of a good show. In Barrie and Simcoe County area there are dozens of fantastic venues and events.

Check out our list of the top 21 that you won’t want to miss.

Music Festivals in Simcoe County

1. Boots and Hearts

This country music festival has grown in popularity and size over the years and is now Canada’s largest country music festival, and North America’s second largest only behind the CMA Music Festival. It attracts big name talent like Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Marin Morris, Florida Georgia Line and many more. This popular event sells out quickly so it’s advised to plan in advance if you’re hoping to snag a good ticket.

Boots & Hearts can be found at Canada’s largest outdoor music venue, the 600 acre Burl’s Creek Event Grounds. The space has operated as an event park since 1984, and over the years its wide grounds have been landscaped into a space with natural beauty unseen at other event grounds. It is home to a number of popular music festivals.

2. Big Sky Festival

Another Burl’s Creek hosted event, Big Sky brings back the slower classic country festival feel with the inclusion of a classic car show, craft market and food vendors. The inaugural show has famous performers such as Travis Tritt, Alabama and Diamond Rio.

3. Canada Rocks

This new music festival, also held at Burl’s Creek, is a music celebration of all things Canadian. To ring in the festival’s inaugural year, the Rolling Stones, Glorious Sons, Sloan and more will be performing. Locals hope that this will become a yearly event!

4. Barrie Waterfront Festival

Running strong for 15 years, the Barrie Waterfront Festival is a fantastic family event that has a variety of live bands, beer gardens, street buskers, midway rides, street vendors and delicious foods. This free event is held yearly at the Barrie waterfront and is easily accessible from anywhere downtown.  

5. Barrie Jazz Blues Festival

This signature Barrie music event takes place annually in over 25 different venues across the Barrie area. Shows are held at the rotunda in Heritage Park by the lake, but also at the Farmers Market, the Public Library, the Yacht Club, Redline Brewhouse and many more. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the area you’ll find an event to enjoy.

6. Kempenfest

Kempenfest is Barrie’s much loved arts and music festival that is held yearly by the shores of Kempenfelt Bay. Have a fantastic summer weekend with midway rides, shopping craft booths, tasty foods and many musical shows. Past artists include April Wine, Sloan, George Canyon and more.

7. Roxodus Music Festival

A new festival for 2019, the Roxodus Festival takes place in Edenvale which is a short 25 min drive from downtown. Bringing together famous acts like Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Collective Soul, and Kid Rock, everyone in Simcoe County is hoping the festival will become a yearly event. If you’re a foodie, the festival has celebrity chefs Massimo Capra and Lynn Crawford providing gourmet culinary delights for an additional charge. Onsite tent camping, and RV camping are available, or you can purchase a ‘ready to go’ full camping package you can take home with you after the festival is over.

8. Troubadour Festival

This September festival brings the outdoor music season in Barrie to a close. Free concerts at the Meridian Place Amphitheater, and shows at various downtown venues will bring over 30 artists and bands to Barrie. The 2019 Festival line up includes Cowboy Junkies, Bedouin Soundclash and many more.

Barrie Area Music Events and Venues

9. TLC Bistro & Cafe

Located on Maple Ave in Barrie, TLC is a small cafe space that hosts acoustic open mic nights every Thursday, live music sets on Fridays and vinyl nights on Saturdays. A local favourite, this spot also serves tasty food and cold beverages.

10. The Foxx Lounge Rock Bar

A Barrie Uncovered favourite, it seems like this music venue always has something going on. On Band Jam Wednesdays, they provide a full back-line including keyboards, drums, and amps. Then, from Thursday to Saturday, they feature upcoming local band performances on the main stage. Grab yourself a gourmet hotdog and settle in for a fantastic show.

11. Donaleigh’s Irish Public House

Everyone loves a good Irish pub. Donaleigh’s combines a delicious pub menu, an extensive drink list, and a range of live music shows in their Temple Lounge. Before opening Donaleigh’s with partner Don Kellett, owner Steve Ricallis spent his youth being a roadie for bands like Fleetwood Mac, U2, and more.. The food is hot, the beer cold, and the music will get your foot tapping – what more do you need?

12. Mavricks Music Hall

Mavricks Music Hall was called The Roxx back in 1931. Since then it’s been through a number of variations before settling as a live music venue in 2016. Shows from The Trews, Kip Moore, Bahamas and many other bands have created lifelong local fans of the venue.

Mavrick's Music Hall

13. Kenzington Burger Bar

Kenzington’s claim to fame is being featured on the Food Network show You Gotta Eat Here, but their local reputation is enough to bring in customers by the dozen. Good food aside, they also have live music seven days a week. Grab a seat, grab a burger, and settle in for a good night with local talent.

14. McReilly’s Pub & Restaurant

A classic pub, this north Dunlop spot checks all the boxes – good pub food, cold beers, live music and that ‘everyone knows your name small town feel.

15. Shirley’s Bayside Grille

Looking for somewhere you can listen to good live music all while eating a perfectly cooked steak? Shirley’s is the spot. Across the street from Heritage Park, this contemporary restaurant is lauded for its delicious food and welcoming atmosphere.

16. The Ranch

What’s a town without a country bar? The Ranch is Barrie’s answer to that question. This massive 18,000 square foot venue is proud to be Canada’s largest country bar. Complete with live entertainment, music shows, concerts, dance parties, and a full bar, this is the place to be if you’re looking for a party – don’t forget your cowboy boots!

Barrie's The Ranch

17. Queens Hometown Bar & Grill

Queens is one of the busiest spots in Barrie on a weekend. The business has two different offerings – the nightclub or the Bar & Grill. Friday and Saturday nights at the Bar & Grill you can take in different live music shows starting at 5:30, and afterwards you can pop over to the nightclub to dance your night away.

There are so many great places to find an evening of live music in Barrie, this list is only the beginning! Barrie Uncovered is your top source for everything related to our thriving local music scene. Keep an eye out for more ongoing coverage of places to go enjoy our wonderful local talent.

More For Barrie Music Lovers

In addition to all these amazing music events and venues, there are even more music resources to take advantage of!

  • Barrie Uncovered brings you a weekly roundup of the best local shows with Gigs This Week.
  • The Uncover The Music podcast gives you a behind the scenes look at Simcoe’s talent and the music scene. 

  • Interested in listening to some of the fantastic talent in the area? We’ve compiled Barrie’s Set List, a Spotify playlist of local artists that’s updated weekly.

Barrie Record Shops

Barrie has a couple options when it comes to records shops:

Music Supply Stores

Music Pro is the go-to locally owned store for all your music supplies, from cords and adapters to guitars and full drum sets – this place has it all.

Barrie Music Stores

Barrie Uncovered Loves Local Music

What is it that brings people together in bars, cafes, and open mics to create such great music? Is it the comfort that comes from knowing the people in the crowd, or the creativity that springs from years of garage jamming? To those in the middle of a festival crowd, or standing by the stage of a live show, it doesn’t really matter how it happens.

Barrie Uncovered supports local talent and local businesses. If you have a Barrie area business with live music events and would like to be included in our ongoing coverage of the amazing music scene here in Simcoe County, contact us for more information.

The Stones have gone…but Roxodus is on!

Roxodus concert artists

4 Days of Rock Superstars:

Thurs 11th to Sun 14th July @ Edenvale Airport, Clearview

The Rolling Stones might have postponed their concert but there are still some big names coming to Barrie area. The Roxodus festival lasts 4 days and will bring some iconic bands to rock the stage.  Nickelback, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kid Rock and Aerosmith are the headliners.  There are other great bands from the past as well, Big Wreck, Billy Idol, Blondie, Alice Cooper and the Matthew Good Band, to name a few.

Roxodus concert line up

It is sure to be high energy 4 days so if you want to shake off the disappointment of losing the Stones head to Edenvale Airport in Clearwater.

Want to stay and enjoy the atmosphere for the 4 days, no problem.  There camping grounds for you to stay, for the ones who prefer a bit more comfort bring you RV and park in the grounds.

So get to ROXODUS and rock the days and nights away!! Grab your tickets here.