I’ve decided to put on a festival. Obviously it’s imaginary but come on in!!
The most impressive thing about C2C is that music hits you as soon as you walk in, thanks to the Big Entrance Stage. I would put on some of the most impressive British acts including Robert Vincent, Ferris & Sylvester, The Blue Highways and Laura Oakes. All four of them have superb catalogues and mix blues, rock, pop and country.
I would also put on the sparkly dressed Jade Helliwell, owner of the finest voice in British country, Representing American country would be Kenny Foster, a very nice gentleman who covers country classics and peppers them amongst his own songs about love and loss. Together with him, I’d showcase bluesy Kyle Daniel, energetic Track45, contemporary Mackenzie Porter, suave Alex Hall and Texan horseshoer Jarrod Morris.
And, of course, Holloway Road, one of the most fun bands on the circuit.
The Indigo2 venue is used during the daytime to prepare folk for the main event but it can also act as a main event in itself. I caught Adam Hambrick showcase some of his songs – How Not To, Rockin All Night Long, Somebody Else Will, lost classic Country Stars – to an appreciative crowd, so he would play the Tent.
In the absence of the Town Square Stage, which is now held in a tent outside the O2 main complex and where vendors sell boots and whiskey, I would ensure some top acts entertain the crowd. Brittney Spencer’s soulful country, Tebey’s poppier style, Jimmie Allen’s rocking tunes and ballads and the indomitable Morganway would certainly play this venue, as would Phil Vassar, who would show up and ask the crowd which one of his many, many hits he should play.
In a very masculine US market, country in the UK is predominantly performed by women which means American acts like Abby Anderson, Kassi Ashton, RaeLynn and the superlative Hailey Whitters all have fans this side of the Atlantic Ocean. To balance them out, I would put on the party-starting Filmore and the underrated Charlie Worsham, who is now attached to Old Crow Medicine Show.
The big swingers will entertain thousands across the weekend. Returning heroes Eric Church and Darius Rucker, who were both due to headline C2C 2020, can mix slow and quick songs, as can Luke Bryan who has a decade’s worth of hits and, since this is a festival of the mind, won’t be tied down by American Idol.
In support would be three hot, sexy guys with good catalogues: Brett Young, Dustin Lynch (DL) and Thomas Rhett (TR), who are ‘automatics’ on country radio. The UK’s love of rockin’ country would be satiated by Brothers Osborne and Lindsay Ell, while Caylee Hammack and Twinnie would both put on showcases of their personalities and music. Cam and Brad Paisley, a pair perhaps more beloved to the East of the Atlantic than to the West of it, would round off the roster.
Then everyone would drunkenly stumble home, unless they hit the afterparties!
Listen to ‘highlights’ of the Country Way of Life festival on The Pulse Hospital Radio at 7pm on March 12.
A 36-song playlist with music from all the acts who play during ‘the weekend’ can be found here: