Can you imagine being five feet away from your idol or seeing somebody perform in front of 20,000 people when previously you’ve only known them because you’ve watched their YouTube videos? This is how i’ll remember Country 2 Country Festival 2017 and the magic it can provide.
I don’t know where to start if i’m honest, C2C 2017 was (In my opinion) the best yet, I made so memories, saw and heard so many amazing artists, some of which I had never heard of before or knew little about; and I also drank an awful lot of whiskey. I’m now going to try to summarise, relive and share on some of my favourite moments.
Let’s talk about one of the things I love most about C2C Festival and that’s being able to discover new music; there’s always one act I come across that I knew nothing about and then walk away wanting more; this year it was ‘Rackhouse Pilfer’. Not exactly new kids on the block the Irish band have released 2 albums and have an impressive CV. They have a real twangy and fun Irish-Americana sound, something that i’ll admit I don’t listen to very often but these guys may have just changed that. Their stage presence and energy are a real joy to experience and you really feel like they are there because they enjoy it and they have a story to tell. Their passion and harmonies are only topped by their powerful lyrics and fantastic instrumental talents.
Bailey Bryan may be another name you haven’t heard of before, but the 19 year old from Washington state is a name you will most definitely hear over and over again as the next few years begin to unfold. I have been aware of this young lady’s talents for a little over a year after randomly finding one of her YouTube videos. The quirky and fun teen may seem a little awkward at times but it’s all a part of her charm. Bailey’s only single ‘Own It’ may not be the most ‘country’ song you’ll hear but with underlying country tones, Bryan is reaching out for the younger social media savvy audience while still being able to conquer the country market; however, she performed her set acoustically at C2C and it was fantastic. ‘Own It’ will always be a favourite of mine as most of the lyrics describe me perfectly, especially: “Awkward in conversation, But I’m Shakespeare when I’m texting” but the standout track for me was ‘Hard Drive Home’, a powerfully emotive song which if you’ve ever gone through a breakup will likely have you reminiscing of those hard times. I can’t wait for the release of her debut album whenever that may be.
Sometimes you’re wrong about some artists, and this next person I have to apologise too. Cassadee Pope surprised me and I have never been so happy to be wrong; I’ve always enjoyed Pope’s music but never thought it would transition well into live performances. In fact, I enjoyed her act so much I saw her twice this weekend (three times if you count her cameo appearance during Chris young’s Think of You). Her vocals are impressive, really impressive; ‘Kisses at Airports’ conveys so much emotion, in fact believe it or not, just like kissing at an airport and if you’ve ever had to leave somebody as they’re boarding a plane as I have, you know it can be a tough thing to get through. With a slight punk rock sound mixed with more of a modern country blend; Cassadee Pope is unique in the present country music scene and I have a newfound respect for this very talented artist.
Everybody on the main stage is always a fully established artist; and some are more established than others, this year’s lineup was no different with Darius Rucker, Zac Brown Band and Reba among many others gracing the stage however one artist was the reason I came away from this years festival the happiest i’ve been in the 3 years i’ve attended Country 2 Country and that is because of my musical Idol: Brad Paisley.
I’ve seen Brad perform live once before; in Autumn 2012 at Lakewood Amphitheatre in Atlanta, Georgia but that couldn’t compare to this. The man who has written the soundtrack to over half my life was only about 5 feet away from me; I don’t usually get excited about celebrities, but this man means so much to me I couldn’t help but get a little giddy.
Song’s like ‘She’s everything’, ‘Then’ and ‘Perfect Storm’ flooded me with memories of previous relationships; ‘Mud on the Tires’ took me right back to when I was first discovering country music. ‘River Bank’ and ‘water’ took me back to those summer evenings I had spent at the beach and ‘Southern Comfort Zone’ and ‘Old Alabama’ transported me back to my road trip holidays driving through the backwoods of Georgia and Tennessee.
All that, is why for me, the performance by Brad Paisley was my favourite moment of C2C. Of course the performances themselves were incredible and as his showmanship and stage presence were nothing short of amazing; but it was the emotional journeys that I relived is why Friday the 10th of March 2017 will stick with me for a very long time. Despite being stuck in the small vicinity of my seat; in my mind I travelled 13 years into the past and travelled all over the world all within less than 2 hours.
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment area.
© March 2017