Wow where do I start from the weekend I have had at the C2C Festival at the O2 in London. The most wonderful feeling of C2C and from what I see the biggest pull of this festival is sharing a common interest with people who are all there for the same reason and that’s their love of country music.
When I am asked what kind of music I like, many people judge/tag country music and associate it with the likes of Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton (legends in their own rights)… how wrong are you! Country music can affect you from the lyrics of a song, evoke a memory of a lost love, heartache and true love. What I do know is that country music makes me happy and brings a smile to my face every time I listen to the simplest of lyrics which affects you deep down in your soul. Lyrics more often than not stem from the gospel roots of the south of Nashville to the loving lyrics of Nashville which many of us are familiar with today.
I feel my ‘music’ life has been completely turned upside down with my love of country music after seeing Carrie Underwood perform nearly two years ago at the iTunes Festival in London and ever since I’ve been completely hooked and this festival is the most idyllic with the pure sound, joy and happiness of what country music brings to people’s lives.
After many countless sleeps of excitement, Friday saw the first day of the festival and wow what a day this was. Upon arrival at the O2 I was overwhelmed of what I was hearing, seeing and just sheer joy on people’s faces – me even more so. With the later start on first day gave me the opportunity to get my bearings and plan the afternoon/ evening of which bands to see first, merchandise I have my eyes on and which CDs/vinyls to add to my collection (yes I have a lot). The main arena opened at 530pm with first act due on stage at 630pm. My seat for the days ahead of me couldn’t of been more perfect right near the stage. Opening the show was Jennifer Nettles and wow what an opening act. Energetic, amazing sound and certainly got the crowd going. In between each main act saw a new artist perform on the Yamaha Music Stage which certainly kept the crowd entertained with none stop music. Next up was the anticipated performance by Chris Young and wow he completely blew me away on how talented he is and such an amazing band. Standing ovation was certainly well and truly deserved and most definetly an artist I would love to see again in concert. He performed songs such as I’m Coming Over with the most gorgeous lyrics to songs such as Sober Saturday Night which normally features the super talented Vince Gill. So what next; well I was already thinking that today could not get any better but the eagerly anticipated performance by Brad Paisley is what followed and wow well what do I say. Brad gave the most best performance I have ever seen, he is an absolute genius with the guitar, super funny and for me well I’m just lost for words on how much I enjoyed his set and I certainly did not want it too end. I must confess that yes I don’t know all of his songs but from what I saw on Friday I will certainly be adding his catalogue of music to my collection.
Day 2 (Saturday) – super excited for day 2 with a jam packed day full of live music, yummy foods and yes of course cheeky American Bourbon – why not I ask myself seemed as I am at a country music festival :). We were lucky enough to go to a cinema viewing at the complex within the O2 for a showing of The Story of Nashville – this was superb and gave a real insight into the music scene in Nashville and how it all started. Lunch then beckoned and gave us time to plan the afternoon and look forward to another full night in the arena. Artists we saw included Hunter Hayes who again I’ve heard of and know a couple of his songs but someone who actually gave an amazing set and most certainly a artist to look out for in the future months. Next up and wow what an absolute performer he was and this is Darius Rucker (formerly in a band called Hooty and The Blowfish) – oh my gosh amazing set, gorgeous songs and a complete showman. His rendition of the infamous song by Prince called Purple Rain; gave me goosebumps as the arena plunged into darkness with just people’s mobile phone lighters lighting up the song. Stunning! Finally next to perform was Reba McIntyre who really I would say is on the same level as Dolly Parton. Reba herself has been performing for over 40 years and she I guess is a legend in her own right. Personally I would say for me she was a bit of a let down to the festival as I kind of expected more and more of a performance – but this is only my own personal feedback.
Final day and such a sad feeling knowing it was last day of the festival but I was so looking forward to the artists performing and I was certainly going to make the most of it. The morning started with a lush breakfast of scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with smoked salmon – perfect start to the Sunday. Again our Sunday morning started with another cinema viewing by the CMA (Country Music Association) with a showing of the 50th CMA Awards, this was super cool and great to watch. After which more browsing of CDs followed and merchandise purchased. Earlier start within the arena with doors opening at 3.30pm. Opening the final day was Dan & Shay, great voices but for me slightly more ‘pop’ music than country music. My highlight for me was seeing one of my favourite artists Maren Morris perform, she was on fine form and sang all songs I’m very familiar with and a great acoustic of my favourite My Church song. One of my highlights of the weekend for me was the artist next to perform and this was Marty Stewart – oh my god what an absolute music legend. His set absolutely blew me away and he certainly got the crowd up to their feet with his toe tapping songs and wowzers what a band he has. I was unaware that he used to sing with Johnny Cash of ‘Walk the Line’ fame and they were also neighbours in a Nashville. Finally, the last band to perform was the Zac Brown Band – wow, they certainly got everyone dancing and certainly nice to see everyone in the arena singing along to their catchy lyrics and such a great band to see live; utter privilege. Highlight for me was their performance of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen as the arena yet again plunged into darkness with lights purely from torches on mobile phones.
So if you are wondering as to whether I will be there again next year – then I think you all know the answer to this; too right I will and roll on C2C 2018. Thank you C2C for making this the best weekend I have ever had xx
As the artist Tim McGraw says in his song – Always Stay Humble and Kind 💛
Lots of Love
xxx Rachel xxx