March 8th. The smell of pulled pork fills the air. The unexplainable atmosphere surrounds you. The sound of live music hits your ears and the days of dreaming about the Country to Country music festival are over.
Being my first C2C, I wasnt sure what to expect. Was it going to be everything I dreamed of? Everyone sharing the same passion? Checked shirts and cowboy hats galore? Not a worry in the world? A cold beer in my hand? (Excuse the Zac Brown Band pun.)
The answer is yes.
C2C was everything I’ve always wished for and more! Everyone was so friendly, people you’ve never met were chatting to you as if you’ve known them years. Honestly, I was ecstatic!
To start off Friday, we headed straight to the the Big Entrance Stage to see Jake Morrell. Not only is he local to me, hes one hell of a singer! His song “Wire and Thorns” absolutely blew me away! The energetic yet subtle song was truly inspirational!
So then it was off to the main arena and boy weren’t we in for a treat!
To start off the night, Jennifer Nettles came on stage, now personally, I cant say im a massive fan of Jennifer, purely for the fact ive not really listened to her but her voice is incredible!
Up Next we had Chris Young. Now he was the highlight of my Friday night! “Im Comin’ Over” + “Sober Saturday Night” had the crowd in amazement! His cover of “When You Say Nothing At All” had the whole O2 arena lit up from phone torches and the surprise of Cassadee Pope coming out onto the stage and performing their Number 1 duet “Think Of You” made the crowd go wild!
For the final act, it was country star, Brad Paisley. Once again, I dont listen to alot of Brad (i know I’m stupid!) but since that night, he’s a very large part of my playlist! With his set ranging from “Perfect Storm” to “The Mona Lisa” it seems like there was nothing he couldnt do! He’s definitely a crowd favourite, especially after handing his acoustic guitar over to a young girl in the front row telling her to “go break some hearts” and explaining “thats how Taylor Swifts are made”
After the Arena we headed to the BBC Radio 2 Country Stage, where Canaan Smith was waiting for us! Not knowing who he was, I was a bit apprehensive but wow! He got the whole crowd singing along and was a very crowd involving performer. My favourite part was when he “Cheers’d” everybody, drunk a massive gulp of Jose Cuervo Tequila and then handed it to us to finish it off! Saturday morning was not a fun time to be alive!
However the hangover soon passed as Saturday turned into a brilliant day from start to finish!
As soon as we got to the O2 we headed for food and then straight over to the Town Square to watch a very talented 18 year old American girl known as Bailey Bryan. Everyone was blown away by her voice and the songs she performed! “Own It” being a favourite of mine! She also managed to somehow sneak in a cover of Drake and everyone loved it! Personally I’d never put Hip Hop and Country together but she made it seem like they were the same thing! We later saw her on the Yamaha stage where she made a brilliant impression on 20,000 people!
Next act to surprise me was a 19 year old Irish girl, Catherine McGrath. Her song writing is incredible and her voice is the same! “Starting From Now” is beautifully written and I can imagine it being relatable to alot of teenage girls.
Now we were in for a treat that night as Dan + Shay came onto the stage. They literally sent shivers down my spine. “Road Trippin” had the crowd singing along and dancing, then as they done their rendition of “Obssessed” the crowd were silent, you could literally hear a pin drop. Shay’s voice was something else, some of the notes he hit were amazing and as Dan said “he is one of the best country singers out there”
My stand out act that night though, had to be Darius Rucker. This guy. He brings so much energy! From the moment he stepped onto the stage, everyone went crazy! Everyone was singing along to every single one of his songs. He even covered Garth Brooks’ “Friends in low places” which is a favourite for every country ever. To then go on to do Blackout Crew’s “No Diggity” within 10 seconds and once again, the hip hop and coumtry came together like peanut butter and jelly. However, the bet song of that set was definitely “Wagon Wheel” he got everyone singing along and dancing and I’ve never seen my brother so happy! The night ended up in the C2C fans lounge with a few beers and great atmosphere!
So onto the last day, Sunday. We got to the O2 early, so I could meet Drake White and get his signature. Well if I’d of known what he had in store at his later performance on the R2 Country stage, I’d of probably passed out when i met him.
But before that we had the pleasure to listen to the Californian trio, Temecula Road. Now these guys are still so young, at 16, 17 and 17 but they sure as hell knew what they were doing! A country cover of “Closer” by The Chainsmokers went down really well but their song “What If I Kissed You” was absolutely incredible. The three vibe so well off of eachother and are gonna grow massively this coming year alongside, Bailey Bryan, Catherine McGrath and Drake White.
So now. Hands down, the best act I saw at C2C and this is going against my favourite band. Drake White legitimately blew my mind. The voice on that guy! I cannot explain how good he is!! His song “Story” is and upbeat crowd pleaser alongside his summery song “Livin’ The Dream” but what really got me was “Makin’ Me Look Good Again” it’s written about his wife. He said how he was punching above his weight and she makes him look good. He also said “if you see a turtle on a fence post, you know he didnt get there on his own” which is a weird way to describe it but its true, everyone needs that person to lift them up! Well done Drake White for truly blowing everyone in that room away.
That night was the night I was looking forward to the most! Brothers Osbourne were awesome, “Stay A Little Longer” went down a treat as well as their other songs.
Maren Morris was superb! With “My Church” being a part in everyones country playlist, you can just imagine how well it went! Her song “80’s Mercedes” was really well performed too!
Marty Stuart and his Famous Superlatives? Some may ask who? I sure did. But after their performance, I’m so glad they were at C2C! The set was very entertaining and I’m sure many thousands of people were surprised! Especially at Cousin Kenny’s song. Never seen such a straight faced musician before but he was very very good!
The last act of the weekend. The best til last. My favourite band. The Zac Brown Band! Ive never seen so many people singing and dancing in my life. Off the bat, “Homegrown” got everyone on their feet aswell as fan favourites like “Toes” and “Whiskeys Gone.” Zac and the band toned it down a bit with some meaningful classics such as “Colder Weather” which never fails to bring a tear to my eye, “Free” which they brought Drake White on stage to help and I nearly passed out because it was so damn good! and a song off of the new album, “My Old Man.” Now this song is relatable to anyone. You can tell it also means alot to Zac because he stated that he “finds it hard to get through that song sometimes.” They rounded up the whole weekend with the good ol classic “Chicken Fried!” Twenty thousand people, all up from their seats, singing and dancing. It was a truly spectacular way to end a brilliant weekend!
I just wanna round this off by saying,
ROLL ON C2C 2018!
See you there!