Country 2 Country Festival (C2C)

Country 2 Country- C2C Festival 2023: Better Security, easier access to Venues, Restaurants and Bars – is it just us or was it more chilled this year?

Jess & The Bandits – Photo Credit: Ruby Gaunt

Country 2 Country celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary last weekend. Having gone from the very first year in 2013, we were delighted to be there this year to be part of the celebrations!

C2C has grown so much over the years and sometimes for us, it can be a little overwhelming. However, this year quite possibly was the best time we have had at C2C. We were only able to be there for Friday, Saturday and the daytime of Sunday but that was enough to keep us satisfied. In fact, last year we were unable to do the Sunday evening too but we were very well aware of the security breaches, the dangerous crowd invading that happened and like many, we were a bit concerned to go this year because of that.

Thankfully, all worries were put to bed as C2C really took everything that was said and done on board and made the event much safer. Fans pleaded for wristbands so that other seating areas couldn’t get away with invading their space and so that fake tickets or shared tickets couldn’t be used to access those areas. This was listened to and put in place and made us feel safe from the get go. Fans begged for more security and police to be present. When we arrived there were so much more security and a good number of police officers in place.

Brooke Law – Photo Credit: Ruby Gaunt

All of this made a massive difference and we didn’t worry for one second so I hope that anyone that was sadly caught up in it last year felt safe too. Let’s just hope the same measures are put in place for Luke Combs shows later in the year. Possibly needed for Morgan Wallen’s shows too.

The atmosphere was just spot on this year and we felt that it wasn’t too crowded. No where near as bad as previous years. This is probably down to the fact that weekend daytime wristbands (previously sold at £10 a day) are no longer a thing! It’s only for main arena ticket holders and whilst I completely understand and appreciate that this upset a lot of people who couldn’t afford or didn’t necessarily want to go into the main arena, it did make it easier for people who had paid hundreds if not thousands of pounds to be able to gain access into the daytime shows. Previous years showed that Arena ticket holders missed out on a lot as the wristbands were so cheap, that they sold out and made the capacity full for each show. People don’t always leave after one act either which meant fans couldn’t get in all day! We found this to be the case for the Saloon in All Bar One and knew that if we weren’t media, then we weren’t getting in!

Photo Credit: Ruby Gaunt

We liked the relocation of The Big Entrance Stage too. This was definitely a smart move! Before it was literally in the main entrance of the O2 right by Starbucks which always caused issues to get in and out and blocked walk ways. Having it outside in March obviously was a gamble weather wise, but we thankfully didn’t get any rain. Not to my knowledge anyway! It just made the atmosphere nicer and the artists easier to hear. Before it was always blocked out by surrounding noise.

We didn’t get a chance to go to the Town Square. This is the first time this has happened to us but with a heavy schedule it just didn’t work out. Normally, I opt for that over the Indigo O2 but the Indigo was smooth running this year and didn’t have an overflow of people nor queues of people waiting for a one in and one out system. Again, not when we went anyway! Whereas every year before, we saw that to be an issue and going into to that crowd put us off staying as we couldn’t see anything! We loved The Indigo this year. It was easy to get in and out, easy to move around inside and the security staff were all on point with knowledge and were all kind!

Photo Credit: Ruby Gaunt

Merchandise queues still seem to have been an issue but I never saw a queue inside the Indigo. I don’t think they had the same amount of stuff available though.

The addition of the Icon Stage was great as that space up in the Icon Outlet is always easier to move around. It’s actually a quicker route if heading from main entrance to the International or Entrance H and Vice Versa as you avoid all the crowds.

We noticed that restaurants and bars weren’t horrendous either. I have never seen Five Guys without a queue but this year I did. It does take away business from the food outlets of course but they still had enough custom but staff probably weren’t as overwhelmed.

Overall, I just felt that this year was so much more chilled and in the best way. Even the bars inside the O2 Arena itself weren’t massively busy! Our friend at the Whiskey bar was often alone! Perhaps this is down to cost of living? Or maybe I just happened to walk by everything when it wasn’t busy?

The only set backs I found were still the queues for The Saloon and for merchandise. I returned home having had such an amazing time!

We would love to hear about your experiences!

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