The introduction to the small stage inside the O2 Arena between acts at C2C Festival was and is a fantastic idea, not only does it keep things flowing between main stage acts but it gives artists a wonderful opportunity to introduce themselves and their music in front of a 20K strong audience. As hardcore country music fans, most are already familiar with the small stage artists which this year has been called The Spotlight Stage but as the O2 Arena fits the above mentioned capacity, then it is likely the acts are new to a huge portion of the audience and will undoubtedly gain more fans.
Over the years we have seen artists such as Sam Hunt, Maren Morris and Drake White take to the Spotlight Stage and the following year become some of country music’s biggest acts. Maren Morris can even boast to the O2 Arena audience being the first ever audience to sing her debut hit single My Church back to her.
This year, 2018, C2C Festival continues to impress with its high calibre of Spotlight Stage acts.
Friday night in London brings the return of Morgan Evans who has built quite the fan base in the UK this year with a successful tour and hit single Kiss Somebody. With his new bride Kelsea Ballerini also on the C2C line up but on the main stage, the atmosphere will likely be full of good vibes, adoring fans and Morgan will undoubtedly win over a new audience.
Also on Fridays Spotlight Stage line up is Brett Young. The UK LOVES Brett Young and this see’s his return to not just the UK but to the O2 Arena as he performed as a support act for Lady Antebellum late last year. Brett Young saw much success with his self titled album and hit single In Case You Didn’t Know which he re released in the UK as a duet with Una Healy.
Saturday brings one of our favourites Jillian Jacqueline who made her UK debut as part of Country Music Week in October. Jillian Jacqueline has a retro pop country style to her music and is without a doubt an artist to watch. Her debut EP Side A was our number one album/EP of the year (2017) with exceptional songs such as Reasons, God Bless This Mess and Hate Me. Jillian has quite the career ahead of her and I am excited to see what the C2C audience make of her and very much look forward to an album.
Ashley McBryde has been described as no – bullshit country and will bring a lot of attitude and sass to the Spotlight Stage. Whilst Ashley’s name is not new to me, her music is and I will be checking out her sound prior to C2C. She has been tipped as an artist for fans of Eric Church, Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton with her bad ass guitar driven music.
Another BOON favourite is Lukas Nelson (Son of Willie Nelson). Lukas and his band Promise of The Real also ended up on our top albums list of 2017. Lukas Nelson and Promise of The Real have a strong Country Rock sound blended with a traditional country and Americana style and will rock the O2 Arena and I personally cannot wait.
Sunday brings us Russell Dickerson who returns to the UK after a successful show headlining London’s Nashville meets London. Russell released his debut album Yours last year which also saw the release if the single with the same title. Yours is a brilliant pop country filled album with many up beat tunes which will get the O2 crowd going.
Lindsay Ell was another much loved artist at Country Music Week in October and with her album The Project being yet another one from our best of 2017 list, we couldn’t be more excited to see her again. Lindsay is worth the watch and listen for her insane guitar skills alone but her vocals, beauty and personality give us the whole package for what will be a memorable set.
Walker Hayes is an artist that I am very excited to see live – his album boom. Again is another album off our best if 2017 list, this is just a coincidence and it is why I am so beyond happy with C2C Festivals choice of Spotlight stage artists. Walker has brought controversy to the country community recently with people questioning as to whether he is country or not, but regardless of the debate, boom. to me is an excellent album with fun up beat tunes and deep and meaningful lyrics. Walker is going to bring an exciting set to C2C and I for one cannot wait.