Country to Country 2018 – I’m Coming For You, Be Ready!
For any fan of Country Music, this coming weekend at The O2 will see the sixth instalment of Country to Country, and I for one am looking forward to this one more than any other. I’d been to every one up until last year, when finances and situation didn’t allow it, so being 2 years away from my favourite music weekender of the year has only fueled my appetite for the 2018 festival. Ah to hell with the attempted build up, I’m bloody excited, and I just can’t, and don’t want to hide it!
I’m not au fait with all the acts, but having Kacey Musgraves headline Saturday is worth the cost of the 3 day ticket on its own. Along with Eric Church and Ward Thomas, she’s up there as my absolute favourite music artist of the last 5 years. You can imagine how much I loved the Sunday of Country to Country 2016 which saw Chris Stapleton play a spine-tingling set, followed by Kacey and then Eric – arguably the greatest live music experience of my life. This Saturday night will kick off with Ashley Campbell playing a tribute to her late father, which will see few dry eyes in the arena. Ashley has definitely inherited her Father’s talent, as she showcased 2 years ago and I witnessed her perform her emotional song Remembering flawlessly. Add in Luke Combs, someone I have heard a lot about, but stupidly have not listened to yet, outside maybe 2 songs, and it’s going to be a superb night. I’ll reserve judgment on Kip Moore until after I’ve seen him play live.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill headlining Friday is a rare treat, and my own personal wish is for Faith to take Taylor’s part in Highway Don’t Care, a song I’d love to see live. I still haven’t get their recent album so I’ll be unfamiliar with a lot of their songs, but come on, how is a set from these two not going to be great? Old Dominion I don’t really know, and Kelsea Ballerini is someone I dismissed as lightweight country pop originally, but on listening to her more I’ll admit I was wrong, and I’m becoming a fan. Looks like Friday will be a storming first day of Country to Country.
Sunday has the potential to be the dark horse of the 3 nights, as Midland will kick off proceedings, a band who I only listened to recently and really like what I’ve heard. They are followed by the brilliant Margo Price, whose album All American Made was one of my absolute favourites of last year and is still on heavy rotation. Then we have Emmylou Harris who is country music royalty and arguably the most prestigious artist at Country to Country this year. The whole weekend climaxes with Little Big Town, who have never really been my cup of tea, but I’ll give them a chance, and who knows, my opinion may change.
As well as all the incredible main stage performances in the arena there are pop stages, where lesser know acts from all over the world showcase their talents from as early as 10am every day. In my experience this has been an equally good part of the festival, introducing me to many great singers and songwriters over the years. It was there that I first met UK scene favourites Dexeter 4 years ago, had the pleasure of seeing Jessi Alexander sing and got to meet her, and saw the start of the Striking Matches phenomenon, to name but a few.
So yes, this coming weekend has me very excited, as I look to being around fellow country music fans, watching great musical performances, and basically having the absolute time of my life. I’ll be looking out for familiar faces from my adventures in the UK country scene, so say hi if you see me.