Interview with Gary Quinn ahead of Buckle and Boots

Buckle and Boots is just around the corner and here at Maverick we’re counting down the days to it! We had a chat with festival organiser and artist Gary Quinn about how he and his team manages to pull off this brilliant festival.

Can you just briefly tell me about the history of Buckle and Boots?

Buckle & Boots started as a conversation between Karl Hancock and myself back in 2015 when I attended the farm to perform at their Blackthorn Music Festival. I was taken back at how ideal the surroundings of the farm and the site would lend itself to a country music festival. We talked a little about the UK country scene and how viable a country festival near Manchester could work. Nothing happened for a few months until I received a call from Karl to meet again to discuss the possibility further. That was in October 2015 and the first Buckle & Boots Country Festival was delivered in June 2016.

Every year we have seen the festival grow, what are you most proud of with the festival?

The premise and ideology of the festival hasn’t changed in 8 years. We’re primarily there to promote, showcase and support UK country artists, writers and musicians as well as introduce the UK to up-and-coming artists from different parts of the globe. That’s something we’ll always strive to preserve.

How do you find juggling your music career with the yearlong planning and running of the festival?

It can be a little tricky but it’s something I still love to do. The two can go hand in hand at times as it can help me meet new artists, face-to face, and start positive conversations about getting them to perform at the farm. On the other hand I’m able to get into some pretty cool co-writing rooms with some great writers that have helped me develop as a writer and singer over the years. It’s easy to find the balance though as Laura, Karl and Jan Hancock are very hands on with the running of Buckle & Boots. Over the years we’ve found where our strengths (and weaknesses) lie and knowing that has helped us deliver year on year.

I was talking to Pat Boone the other day about the friendly competition that is the music business. You do so much to help others particularly in the UK scene, how do you view it all?

I’d agree that there is friendly competition. I believe the country music community is a wonderful group of fans who share common threads of morals and real love for those they follow. I believe the UK scene is very supportive of any artist who puts their hand up and says, “I’m country”, which is great for anyone starting out. Where we must be careful is ensuring that the threshold of quality is always high. That responsibility lies with us all. Artists to strive to improve their craft and output, Festivals to curate excellent line-ups that cater across the country spectrum, Country Radio to ensure that exciting and great artists are pushed on their stations, Booking agents to fight for UK artists to open for the bigger International artists that fly over and for fans to continue to come out and support as often as they can.

What’s the best thing about Buckle and Boots?

The atmosphere, many attendees talk about Buckle & Boots like it’s a family reunion with fantastic music, great food and drink and wonderful surroundings.

What’s next for you and what’s next for the festival?

I’ll be headed out on the road for a few dates in the summer and I’ve started writing regularly with a few new artists for some planned releases before the end of the year. I’ll be getting back to Nashville at the end of summer all being well and then a few shows in Denmark in September.

As for the festival, we’ll continue to keep improving every year and growing the audience, but not too much more as we want to keep the atmosphere and attendee experience as special as it currently is.

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