BBC Radio 2 Country Saved My C2C: Country to Country 2017 Weekend

BBC Radio 2 Country Saved My C2C: Country to Country 2017 Weekend

For a few reasons, which don’t need to be detailed here, for the first year since it started in 2017, I didn’t attended one single second of C2C: Country to Country (C2C) down at The O2 in London. On paper it wasn’t the greatest line up for my tastes, though seeing Brad Paisley on the Friday and Zac Brown Band on the Sunday would have been my top picks, the former being one of my absolute favourites.

As a big country music fan in the UK, C2C is THE ultimate 3-day weekend of music, and not being there had me feeling quite deflated. Enter BBC Radio 2 Country, a pop-up digital radio service that appears a few days before C2C and broadcasts many shows with a variety of presenters, and most importantly, all of the main stage acts from Friday through Sunday. So this year I tuned in and experienced C2C at home.

Without actually being there, this really was the next best thing, with some great shows presented by the likes of Sara Cox and homegrown UK duo The Shires. On Friday I managed to catch some of Jennifer Nettles, half of Chris Young and all of Brad Paisley. Having dinner with friends on the Saturday meant I missed all of that, but thanks to the listen again service on BBC iPlayer, I’ll be catching up on the Daruis Rucker and Reba McEntire performances.

Sunday was the highlight for me though, as I tuned in for the whole evening and got introduced to Brothers Osborne and Marty Stuart. These were both unknown to me and contributed to my lack of desire to get tickets. Oh how wrong was I, as both were absolutely spectacular, and showcased some incredible guitar prowess, something I always look for and cherish in music. Maren Morris in between these two was the disappointment of the night. I’ve heard a few of her songs on the radio and really liked them, but live she didn’t impress one bit. I did think maybe the sound was off, as it can be in The O2 at times, but Twitter was awash with praise. Strange, but I do still like her studio produced material and even had a friend pick me up an autographed copy of her CD at C2C. I’ll have to go to one of her shows on person, at the very least to see My Church performed live

BBC Radio 2 Country Backstage

The main event were Zac Brown band, who much like they did in 2014, blew the roof off the venue, with a combination of their much loved original material, and some triumphant covers. Two of those, The Who’s Baba O’ Riley and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, were highlights of my radio experience of C2C, and I dearly wished I’d been there in person for that night, and the others in all honesty, as the atmosphere alone is usually enough to compensate for acts that don’t push my buttons.

I am truly thankful for the BBC Radio 2 Country service, for without that I’d have had a weekend bereft of C2C, and that would have been a sad weekend indeed. Many of the artists did backstage sessions for this service, which are available to listen to now, but for a limited time. As are the main stage performances, so I’d head over there now if I were you, and relive C2C while you can.

Not only did BBC Radio 2 Country allow me to enjoy C2C 2017, but it gave me the motivation I needed to book early bird tickets for C2C 2018, which I did last Wednesday. So next year I’ll be there once again in person, but I’ll also be tuning in to BBC Radio 2 Country in the days leading up to it, and listening back to the performances as post festival blues kick in.

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