It was a mixture of feelings driving up towards the O2 Arena on Friday 11th March 2022. Seeing the roof of the O2 Arena brought back a sense of emotion we completely forgot we had. As we got closer, we saw fans, real life country music fans! We had not seen a cowboy hat, cowboy boots or fringed jackets in 2 years!!! You could see it in everyone’s faces, in their steps and their skips just how much being back here meant to them. What it meant to us all!
We didn’t arrive till 1.30pm ish on the Friday. A mad rush to get our media pass and tickets we then ran to the Town Square to catch Shy Carter, an artist who was on our ‘must see’ list so we weren’t going to miss him, in fact we left home at 8.30am to ensure we made it in time.
Walking through the Town Square was like returning home after being away for so long. The stalls, the fans, the outfits, the atmosphere and of course the music all of it had that old familiar feel.
It’s the little things like the music stall Humphead selling the signed CD’s and Vinyl that hit home. How did we forget that we missed this stall? People were spending loads, snapping up all their favourite artists signed merch as had two years to catch up on. (You can still grab signed items online via their website now. )
Seeing familiar faces as if you had never been apart was moving. Seeing people you didn’t even know embrace their friends was beautiful!
Listening to live country music and a crowd of fans sing every word back was nostalgic. Seeing the artists evoke the atmosphere of the crowd and well up on stage was heart-warming. For many, this was their first show in years.
When we walked through the O2, hearing the sounds of the Big Entrance stage made us buzz with energy. That love for live music is like nothing else, even if you just walk past it you still take it all in.
The main arena was a mixture of feelings. Fear of being in close proximity of too many people, no masks for the first time, excitement for some of country musics biggest names such as Kip Moore and Miranda Lambert about to take stage and soaking up the atmosphere of 20,000 delighted fans.
Falling in love with new artists such as Breland, Brittany Spencer, Morgan Wade and Priscilla Block reminded us one of things we love most about C2C. This is one of the best places to not just discover new artists but to finally see artists you had never seen live before perform and that brought on a sense of adrenaline.
By Saturday it was like we had never been away. People were more at ease. Everyone had settled in much more including the artists and for some of them, they had already become part of the UK Country family with fans approaching them for selfies, high fives or just to simply say hi.
The arena was more relaxed yet highly energised for Tenille Townes, Scotty McCreery, Brett Young and Darius Rucker but queues at the bars were on an all time ridiculous high which is something that needs to be sorted. People cannot queue for over an hour for a drink it’s just insane.
Sunday, well we weren’t there in the evening. We have heard and we are incredibly saddened to hear what happened.
I feel that C2C did a great job to ensure everyone had fun and the organisation was great especially considering having to pull it all off after possible major financial losses and Covid stresses.
The Indigo O2 were a joke in terms of letting my son in. There was no age restriction but for some reason a security guard targeted us when I was taking my 6 year old to see his first show that he would likely remember in Tenille Arts. It was an awful experience and we were very upset, especially when kids younger than my son were allowed in straight after us so why target us?????? How do you explain that to a six year old? We were literally picked from the queue and told no under 14’s. Wasn’t true!
There was also an issue at the disability entrance of the main arena. My friend has a hidden disability which means she can’t queue for long and she had the appropriate ID to prove it but the security lady was having none of it despite her superior telling her to let her in.
Overall, our experience was a great one! It was as always too busy, we couldn’t do everything and we didn’t see half as many day time artists as we wanted to. We were anxious about covid but many were. Apart from the Indigo staff and woman at main arena the staff at the other stages were fantastic and very helpful.
The O2 need to improve on bars, where to buy water so we don’t have to queue at the same bar when we just want water. They need to clue their staff up on kids entry, disabilities and of course they need more security staff and staff who are well trained for a crisis.