Europe’s biggest country music festival, Country to Country (C2C) is back in full force after a pandemic break.
The festival, which is split between London, Dublin and Glasgow, attracted country music connoisseurs from across Europe, and the arenas were packed despite generally bad weather in the UK and Ireland when it took place on weekend of March 11 to 13.
“These towns in particular always bring great energy and are so passionate about country music,” says Grammy-winning artist Darius Rucker.
“We couldn’t wait to get here,” added the singer, who headlined a Friday lineup that included Tenille Townes, Scotty McCreery and Brett Young.
McCreery, the winner of the 10th season of American Idol, shared with fans that he had arrived a few days early to sample the local bars.
“We were lucky enough to go to London and did a few shows before the world shut down and it was great, and we had to go back, so it’s exciting to be here,” McCreery said.
“Fans listened to every word and knew every song from every album. They were asking for singles but also album cuts and I thought, man, I haven’t sung those songs in 7 years. I don’t think I would know how to do it.
McCreery is then due to visit the European cities of Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and Amsterdam before returning to the United States.
Among fan favorites, Brett Young wooed the crowd by singing “You Ain’t Here To Kiss Me” and “Stay Here Tonight,” but it was Darius Rucker who got the party started by opening with his hit “Homegrown Honey.” .
“We’re thrilled to be back,” Rucker said.
“We were in Europe for a series of shows when the pandemic started and we were really looking forward to capping that off with everyone at C2C.”
Is country music restricted to the United States?
Headliner Rucker was keen to debunk all the myths that country music is only for Americans.
“At its core, country music is about telling great stories,” the singer said.
“It really shows how much we all have in common at the end of the day; whether in America or around the world.
Country music consumption in the UK grew by 32% between 2019 and 2020, according to the Country Music Association (CMA). This further increased by half between 2020 and 2021.
Of course, country music is no stranger to Europe with the likes of Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton all long-time favorites on the continent, but popularity is clearly skyrocketing with musician Garth Brooks which sells Dublin tour dates in September. .
Europeans, Asians, and Africans got into the genre thanks to its lyrics about love, heartbreak, and family life.
“I try to write songs about what I’ve been through and what I love,” McCreery says.
“My fans [are] all over the world and I have a lot more in common than we are different.
“Three Day Tourbillon”
Grammy and Academy of Country Music (ACM) winner Miranda Lambert headlined the festival on Friday night, fresh from her Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year award.
American singer Russell Dickerson, who opened for Lambert, has had the festival on his radar for some time.
“Since the day we found out that we would be playing C2C this year, I’ve been counting the days! Hearing my songs from a crowd on a completely different continent is just a feeling I can’t explain,” the singer said.
Saturday in Dublin was opened by Hailey Whitters, the 32-year-old was continuing her European debut in Glasgow on Friday night.
“It’s great to be here. I’ve been waiting so long to come here to play music, so to finally have it here is very exciting,” Whitters said.
“They were singing every word.”
It’s a 3-day whirlwind for artists on the go every day. “A lot of times we don’t really see the cities we’re playing in because we’re driving so fast to get to the next place,” Rucker says.
“In Europe, however, I always try to get out and experience the local culture; see the important sites and of course try the food!”
While the festival attracts fans, it is also a destination for European country musicians, emerging artists and up-and-coming singers of the genre.
Rucker’s advice to those performing on smaller stages in London if they want to pop is; “If they perform at C2C, they are already doing something good!
“I think the most important thing is just knowing who you are as an artist and as a person and staying true to that. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to make the most of the moment – playing in front of C2C’s amazing fans is a perfect chance for that.