With a passion for country music and dreams of one day working in Nashville, student and C2C first-timer Amelia Stimpson looks back at the two days she spent working at The O2 as a festival volunteer.
Currently studying for a degree in Music Business and Events Management, Amelia is a big supporter of women and diversity in country music, and the weekend gave her the chance to meet one of her favourite artists, as well as enjoying a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on.
Amelia tells Six Shooter Country about her experiences and provides a few tips for future C2C newcomers in 2023:
As a first-time attendee and volunteer at this year’s Country To Country, it is safe to say that the wait for the festival meant that guests were ready for an exceptional line-up of music!
It was great to see a community of fans come back together to really appreciate and celebrate a diverse scene here at London’s O2 Arena. The weekend isn’t just about coming to watch your favourite artists perform, it is about discovering new music, making friends, living in the moment and drinking a few pints of beer too.
As a volunteer, I got a tour around the venue on Friday getting to see artists at the Big Entrance Stage, Garden Stage and Town Square begin their sound checks. I have a lot of respect for all the crew working to get the sound perfected for every act performing during the weekend, as it is not an easy task.
As volunteers, we were answering questions, giving directions to the stages and recommending our favourite artists to see. We were so lucky to be helping at an event where the fans have such a passion for the genre, and getting to witness people coming together was priceless.
As a thank you for our work we were able to see the main show in the evenings and one of my favourite memories was us singing and dancing along to Brett Young’s set.
An artist I was very excited to see perform was Laci Kaye Booth. I first discovered her when she auditioned for American Idol in 2019, making it to the top five.
My personal highlights from her set on the Big Entrance Stage was her current single Shuffle. It references other women in country’s iconic songs by artists such as Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood and more. After the success of What’s Your Country Song by Thomas Rhett and Song for Another Time by Old Dominion, it was a great version and a salute to women in the industry.
Laci’s unique smoky vocals made the entire entrance of the O2 Arena have the feeling of being at an intimate gig, as if it was only you and her in the room. What really captured the audience’s praise was her cover of Queen’s Love Of My Life. Laci sang this on American Idol, and it was a standout performance of hers that I still talk about. The emotion conveyed throughout her set had the audience go from complete silence taking in every note, to applause from everyone around, even stopping people in their tracks.
After the set, I went up to speak to Laci and told her how inspired I was by her and so many other women in country music that have inspired me to work within the industry. She gave me a hug and told me she could see me singing along to her music and was so grateful to have the opportunity to perform at C2C!
For the rest of the weekend, she would come up to me and ask how my day had been going whenever she saw me, and these were the most rewarding moments as a fan of country music.
Being a volunteer meant I was at the venue before guests had started to arrive. I got to see a lot of artists and their crew walking around such as Breland, Ben Earle from The Shires, Jess Thristan, Laura Oakes, Tenille Townes and a few others.
Throughout Friday and Saturday, I always seemed to be in the same place as Robyn Ottolini and her team. One of her crew members, Ryan, came up and introduced himself and shook my hand after exchanging a few words over the weekend.
My advice for anyone that comes to C2C would be to find an area and stick to it. On the Sunday (my day off), I arrived at the BBC Radio 2 Stage first thing in the morning, sat in the front row and didn’t move until the end.
It is the best way to experience artists that you might not have heard before but you will definitely be adding to your playlist after the weekend’s finished.
The biggest mistake I made was not writing down the name of songs I heard, it is not possible to remember them all, so it is something I will not forget to do next year.
As soon as I was in the car on the way home, I was already creating my wish list for next year’s line-up and setting a countdown to 2023’s dates. This weekend was filled with so many amazing experiences, moments, people and music I will cherish from my first time at Country To Country Festival 2022.