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Splash'N Boots In Concert
The town of Kingston, Ontario, is best known for producing some of Canada's most rugged rock bands (The Tragically Hip, The Headstones), but it's also the birthplace of the nation's most ebullient children's music duo, Splash'N Boots.
Singer/guitarist Nick Adams and fellow vocalist Taes Leavitt first teamed up at Queens University, and they debuted their cheery musical act in 2003 as part of a class project. (And there was more than just creative chemistry between the two — they've since become husband and wife.)
After performing at local schools, libraries, and parks, the duo — decked out in their signature blue-and-yellow outfits — began to cultivate a national audience with highly participatory, frantically strummed sing-alongs. They resemble quirky pop outfits like Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants as much as kiddie-folk icons like Raffi and Fred Penner.
Following the release of their third album — 2006's Popcorn, Pickles, and Parrots — Splash'N Boots won their first SiriusXM Independent Music Award for Children's Artist/Group or Duo of the Year (a feat they'd repeat in 2012 and 2014). Their ascent was also perfectly timed to take advantage of the burgeoning medium of YouTube, with colorful animated clips like "Monster Party" and "Barnyard Hardcore Band" attracting audiences to their highly energetic live shows.
Their videos would reach an even wider audience in 2011, when their clips were picked up for regular rotation on Treehouse Television. That led to the 2014 debut of their own Pee-Wee's Playhouse-inspired TV series, Big Yellow Boot.
While Splash'N Boots' onscreen popularity and multiple Juno Award nominations have turned them into an international touring act, they've always gone out of their way to perform for those kids who are unable to attend their shows. The duo makes regular appearances at hospitals and are actively involved in Lucas' Letters, a pen-pal program for autistic children.
Their 2018 revue — the Big Love, Kisses and Hugs Tour! — was partly inspired by their friendship with a 6-year-old boy who had been bullied at school and was gifted a special blue-and-yellow hug pillow from the duo to help him cope. So while a Splash'N Boots show is full of upbeat, interactive songs (with Adams and Leavitt spending as much time in the audience as onstage), expect some beautifully tender moments as the duo promote their message of kindness and empathy.