Country 2 Country Festival is the UK’s biggest and most exciting Country Music Festival of the year. With an already steller line up of artists such as Keith Urban (who we have been wanting since forever) Chris Stapleton, Lady Antebellum, Brett Elderidge, Hunter Hayes, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, Lyle Lovett, Drake White, Chase Rice, Cam and Dustin Lynch we have just had the announcement of the Spotlight Stage artists who play on the stage at the back of the arena in between main stage acts to entertain you during the breaks.
So….who are the Spotlight Stage acts and what do we know about them?
Singer/songwriter Jimmie Allen has made quite the impact in country music over the last year. His debut album Mercury Lane has had endless amounts of praise and he recently got to number one with his hit Best Shot. Jimmie made his UK debut during Country Music Week in October and we are so pleased that he is coming back. Jimmie is a must-see on the Spotlight stage and it won’t be long before he will be on the main stage. One of the hardest working and nicest people in country music, Jimmie deserves all the success that has come his way so far and more. Songs such as Warrior, 21, Underdogs and County Lines are must haves on your playlists.
The Wandering Hearts
The UK’s much loved vocal group The Wandering Hearts have grown from strength to strength over the last couple of years. Working non-stop, Chess, Tara, AJ and Tim have been absolutely everywhere including the US promoting their debut album Wild Silence. Voices that will take your breath away, The Wandering Hearts vocals are bound to soar throughout the O2 Arena. With an album full of absolute delights, we hope we atleast get to hear Burning Bridges acoustically in the arena as it will be undeniably stunning. A deluxe version of their album will be out early next year with a few new songs as well as some alternate versions of other tracks and some live versions.
Caroline Jones is a country pop singer/songwriter who resides in Nashville. Most recently Caroline released her studio album Bare Feet via Mailboat records and it was produced by Grammy Award Winner Ric Wake. The album reached number 20 on the Billboard Country charts. From the album, Caroline released the single Tough Guys, which spent six weeks at no 1 on CMT.com’s 12 Pack Countdown. Caroline was named as one of Rolling Stone’s 10 Country Artists You Need to Know. As well as being a gifted singer and songwriter, Caroline is also a multi-instrumentalist. Caroline has toured with the likes of Jimmy Buffett, The Eagles, Zac Brown Band and has shared the stage with Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and Jimmy Buffett at the Trying to Reason hurricane relief benefit concert. At this concert, Caroline performed a live duet with Jimmy Buffett and from that released a charity single Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On. To get you in the festive mood, Caroline has released a stunning version of The First Noel which you can listen to here.
Abby Anderson is a name I have heard a lot over the last year or so. Not to be mistaken for Taylor Swift’s high school best friend with the same name, Abigail is a very gifted singer/songwriter who is making waves in the country music industry as another kick ass woman who deserves a lot of recognition. This year, Abby released her EP I’m Good which features five songs that are sassy, emotional, up beat, slick and very addictive. Abby is such an exciting addition to the Spotlight Stage as will no doubt be a big name in the country scene soon. Heavenly ballad Make Him Wait is a must hear and I hope she plays it at C2C. On the same label as Kelsea Ballerini (Black River Entertainment) Abby co wrote all the tracks on her EP except for the track Dance Away My Broken Heart which was written by Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett, Ashley Gorley, Rhett Akins, and Jesse Frasure. Abby’s soulful vocals and soulful, country sounds will no doubt have the O2 up and dancing and that’s the Naked Truth.
Irish starlet and UK favourite Catherine McGrath has earned her spot on the Spotlight Stage over the years. Having toured non-stop and supported some of countrys biggest names such as Dan + Shay, Maren Morris and more, Catherine has also played some major festivals including BST Hyde Park and recently toured Australia with Morgan Evans, Catherine’s debut album Talk of This Town has received critical acclaim everywhere and fans are sure to be singing their hearts out with Catherine as loud as can be inside the O2. Having collaborated with Hunter Hayes for her track Don’t Let Me Forget, let’s hope we get to see the two of them perform this duet together across the C2C weekend.
You won’t want to runaway when Runaway June make their C2C debut on the Spotlight Stage. A trio of bad ass women who show that women in country music need to be heard. Naomi Cooke, Hannah Mulholland and Jennifer Wayne who make up Runaway June deliver stunning three part harmonies. Runaway June’s debut single Lipstick made them the first all-female trio in over a DECADE to score a Top 25 hit. Their follow-up Top 40 single Wild West helped them earn a 2018 ACM nomination for New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year. Runaway June released an EP which features the song Wild West as well as tracks Buy My Own Drinks, I Am Too, Fast As You and Got Me Where I Want You. The sharp, authentic country trio bring a traditional yet modern sound that is for fans of Dixie Chicks, Maddie and Tae and more. The trio will also get you into the spirit of Christmas with their gorgeous and fun version of Sleigh Ride.
Fairground Saints are a country music trio from Santa Barbara, CA signed to Sony Nashville. The trio were in the UK recently as part of Country Music Week in October. Made up of Megan McAllister (not Kevin’s sister) Mason Van Valin and Elijah Edwards, Fairground Saints have toured with the likes of Scotty McCreery, Brothers Osborne, Kip Moore, Thompson Square and Sara Evans. The trio’s melodic, folky sound and breathtaking harmonies will appeal to fans of Little Big Town, Fleetwood Mac, Gloriana and more. Check out the sensational Somewhere Down The Line which is every bit as if not better than the early sounds of Little Big Town and holds a strong energetic sound which will rock the heck out of the O2 Arena. The group have released a stunning version of Silent Night for Christmas and it really makes you feel the Christmas magic.