With the final day of Country to Country upon us me and my brother headed across the river and straight into the loft. Having caught the James Barker Band on the Friday night was looking forward to seeing them again. We arrived at just before 10am and already the venue was full. We got in but this was disappointing. They either need a bigger venue or to remove some of the seating for this in the future. Know a lot of people want to see the Loft sets but if you don’t arrive by 10am, it’s pretty much one in and one out all day after that.
Unfortunately the James Barker Band ended up missing their set. The official announcement from the event was they were stuck in London traffic due to a car accident. I have also heard rumours that people spoken to them and that they simply overslept. I personally hope that isn’t true as it’s not a good look or very professional if that’s the reason.
This lead to an extended wait in the Loft with some time to get some coffee in to nurse the days hangover. Eventually after the unexpected delay the fantastic Runaway June took to the stage. Having loved their music yesterday in the Indigo they certainly didn’t disappoint today. With the sessions being a more intimate venue it allowed their personality to show through more and to compare the two sets this was better. Some good music and funny stories from the artists made for a really enjoyable way to start the day. Sadly there was no meet and greet opportunity for Runaway June, I did however find myself standing in line to meet the girls with Ben from the Shires right behind me until we were told they weren’t doing a meet and greet.
Deciding to leave the loft we then headed over to the Indigo to catch Abby Anderson. It also now we discovered it was her birthday. As a nice touch some people in the audience were handing out “Happy Birthday Abby” signs. She seemed a bit awe stuck when she came out on stage to be greeted by that. Abby as a person seems to upbeat and it shows when she was on stage. It a set that had a mixture of music that has more poppy tracks like “I’m Good” to the piano piece “Make Him Wait” gave for good contrast in style. I liked her before the weekend but by the end of it I had gained a new appreciation for her music. She also managed to get all the way through a very long meet and greet que which we were at the back off. It was nice she took the extra time to insure to meet everyone that wanted to.
With no prospect of getting back into the loft we then ended up heading to the Town Square for the first to two Lauren Jenkins sets from today. This was pretty much the same set that she played in the Town Square yesterday. It was still enjoyable but having already seen this from the day before there isn’t much I can add. Her best performance was the second one of today in the Indigo but this can be one of the issues with country to country that you can end up catching people multiple times.
We did see Sarah Darling again in the town square after she pretty much repeated her setlist from the day before. The only new person I did manage to see was the British independent artist Molly-Anne. Call it a little bit of a crime but I spent very little time over at the Icon Stage. Still having ventured over for a little look before the arena opened. I really enjoyed my time with Molly. Looking her up she has got some song released on apple music. If you are looking for a British indie-folk artist she is well worth checking out.
With that closing the spotlight stages for the day it’s time to move onto the main arena. This was maybe the day I was most looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint. Starting out the show was Drake White, having seen him on his solo tour last year this was someone I was looking forward to. He opened with “It Feels Good” and “Heartbeat” kicking off the show full of energy. One of my favourite things about Drake is his vocals and he sounded on point tonight. Closing the set was “Make me Look Good Again” and “Livin the Dream” we two personal favourites of his before ending on a cover. Drake was one of the top performers on the main stage of the weekend for me.
Following a hot set from Drake the mainstage went to Ashley McBryde. Ashley is someone that’s won me over recently. When she played at C2C last year I wasn’t really sold on her. That changed when she supported Luke Combs on tour last year and then solidified tonight. So much so I went and got tickets for her headline tour in September. Some of the standout from her performance was “American Scandal” I don’t know if its a love song or a cheating song but I do know its a damn good song. “Girl Going Nowhere” which is a good showcase of her vocal ability and finally the song that’s been climbing my iTunes charts the last week “Fat and Famous.” This was certainly a strong start of the Sunday Night.
Maybe the only block spot on the last day was of the festival was Lyle Lovett. As I said on my day one festival review that 3rd spot on the main stage seemed curse this year. This was maybe the biggest culprit for that. Lyle music or his performance as a whole just didn’t connect. When done right the legend spot can be entertaining. Marty Stuart was a prime example as he was interactive and made the set fun for a audience that didn’t know his music. Lyle didn’t do that. When you have a unfamiliar audience and you don’t interact and explain stuff for them it makes for a boring set. With a few tweaks he could have been better but for me this was the worst showing of the weekend.
The final act of the main stage was Chris Stapleton. This was the person I was most looking forward for the festival. I remember a few years ago him being on the undercard and stealing the show. That was back in 2016 now he is one of the biggest acts in the world. “Midnight Train to Memphis” opened the night to a standing ovation as this was the act most people wanted to see. The O2 arena was rocking all through his setlist that had him play with his full band or just show of his vocal ability with him and his guitar in an acoustic section, that featured “Whisky and You” with the amount of time he had he managed to get in all off the hit songs, including the most unique band introduction I have ever seen. Singing the introductions to the theme of Tennessee Whisky before going into the main song. I did have to skip out before the closing of his set to make Raelynn after party show. Still it was fantastic to see Chris Stapleton again. I am looking forward to him coming back, hopefully a little sooner this time. With the mainstream success he had with Justin Timberlake and him opening the Brits last year I can see an arena tour on the cards like Brad and Carrie Underwood as doing this year.
Heading over to the final act of the weekend was Raelynn. It was nice seeing her set a little bit of extra time as well. She played a slightly longer and different setlist to the day before while keeping in the staples. The song about her husband being away in the army stood out for me. Other than that you had “Bra” which is maybe the funniest lyrics off the weekend with “Breaking up with you was like taking my bra off. Feeling loose and free like this T-Shirt I got on” I am sure a lot of the woman in the audience can relate and I kind of hope that song gets a release. To finish the set and the weekend a birthday cake came on stage. Her guitarist Matt who looks like an early Lex Luger blew out the candles and closed what turned out of be a great festival. This was a strong year for C2C and despite a few blackspot I am looking forward to returning next year. Now we have reviewed the show here is the final rankings for the main arena.
1: Chris Stapleton
2: Keith Urban
3: Ashley McBryde
5: Drake White and the Big Fire
6: Carly Pearce
7: Lady Antebellum
8: Chase Rice
9: Brett Eldredge
10: Dustin Lynch
11: Hunter Hayes
12: Lyle Lovett