Day two opened with an early morning start. With a slightly fuzzy head from the night before in whats become a slight C2C tradition we headed to The Airline Cafe. For the price £4.95 for a breakfast that comes with Egg, Bacon, Sausage, Bean, Chip, Toast and a drink you can’t really beat it. If anyone plans to stay that side of the river for the festival I would highly recommend checking the place out for a cheap hangover cure.
Feed we hopped on the Emirates Airline back across to the festival. It was not a good flight. Sam Palladio during his set talked about travelling across that morning. He had forgotten how windy it was and being scared of heights was facetiming his girlfriend, Cassadee Pope. Still after maybe the scariest flight across the Thames we made it to the Indigo ready for Sarah Darling.
I am a big fan of her music, having already got tickets for her solo tour which i’ll be reviewing and while the indigo wasn’t the busiest place for her set, she made a good account of herself. It was a nice highlight for her new album Wonderland which is coming out later on this year, however you can add the album for pre-release on apple music and listen to three tracks already. I would have liked her to have performed “Halley’s Comet”, as thats my favorite Sarah Darling song but as with any festival her set was time limited and “Where Cowboy Ride” was well received by the audience. The one thing I was expecting from her performance was to be excited for Saturday and it definitely built up the excitement factor I have for that show.
After that the aforementioned Sam Palladio took to the stage in the Indigo. I don’t really know much of his music outside off what he did on Nashville. The only song I really knew him from outside of the TV show stuff was “Stay My Love” his duet on Una Healy album. Still he made the set entertaining enough including some funny stories. It was a good way to start the Saturday of the event so you can’t really asked for more
The next stop on the Saturday was off to the Town Square. We arrived to catch some off The Adelaides set but the main reason for being there was for Lauren Jenkins. Lucky we managed to get to the barrier for her set. Lauren was someone who I didn’t know much about but my brother was a fan of hers as she was recommended on the Bobby Bones show. Think my personal favourite song from her set was “My Bar” which was made all the better by hearing the story behind the song. Another standout from her set was “Running out of Road”. She seemed to be well liked with the record store selling out of her albums by the end of the weekend. If you did miss her presale at Country to Country I recommend picking this up as soon as it’s released later on in the year. She was a shining star at this years festival and I look forward to hearing more from her.
Not wanting to stay put and having some time to kill we decided to head back to the Indigo. Having missed Runaway June spotlight performance and not going to the aftershow party on the Friday this was my first time catching them. I instantly regretted not going to see them the night before hand. Runaway June were the show stealer off the weekend for me. I instantly fell in love with their music. Since the festival ended I have played the living hell out of their EP. I hope they come back over sooner rather than later. “Buy my own Drinks” is one of the catchiest songs I have heard in awhile. Other standouts from them included “Wild West” and “Lipstick.” One of my favorite things about going to Country to Country is the festival stages and that’s partly because you’ll always find some new artist you didn’t know about before hand. For me, Runaway June was that act for me. These girls have a bright future and the weekend stood as a great showcase from them.
Following the epicness that was Runaway June it was time to round out the early part of the day inside the Town Square. We headed back over in time for Raelynn, someone I was majorly looking forward coming dressed in a Raelynn T-Shirt. Her performance was full of energy from the moment she stepped on stage, “God Made Girls” was a good introduction to her music. Her set went from fun to funny with “Bra” to finally emotional with “Love Triangle” and everything in between. I can’t wait to see her again later on in the year when she tours with Maren Morris. Hopefully she is given a decent amount of time. Following her performance I went to the meet and greet and got her to sign my Raelynn T-Shirt. This was one of the person highlights of the weekend.
Catherine McGrath ended up being the special guest for the Saturday. This wasn’t really a surprise as it happened to be on the day she was doing the Bluebird Cafe and the Spotlight stage. She sounded pretty good but having being in the que for the Raelynn meet and greet didn’t really see the full performance. Still after a good day at the festival stages it was time to move indoors to the Arena.
This was maybe the day I was least looking forward to in the arena. The act I only really wanted to see was Carly Pearce who opened. Sadly enough there seems to be some issues with the sound at the start of her set. The band seemed to be to louded and drowned her out for the first couple of songs. Still once the levels issue was fixed she performed much better. Her set included a good rendition of “Man! I Feel like a Woman” and then was rounded up by my three favorite songs of her’s. “If My Name was Whisky”, “Every Little Thing” and “Hide the Wine” Out of the four main stage performances tonight this was my favorite. I am hoping she comes back over soon with a tour.
Fairground Saints were the follow up act from Carly. They seemed okay for what I heard up in the gods. They weren’t really memorable for me. This seemed to be the issues with a lot of the Spotlight acts tonight. Michael Ray i also found to be quite forgettable as well so was a step down from the night before.
Dustin Lynch was the next person to take the main stage and manage to impress me. I have heard alot of people do covers of “Friends in Low Places” over the years but this was the first time I have ever seen someone finally play the third verse. As soon as the bridge into that verse started I, to use a wrestling term, popped a little and yes as he asked I did finish my glass by the end of that song. Dustin made the most of the time he was given and I hope if he comes back again and he is given a later time slot with a chance to play a longer set. Sadly after this the rest of the night for me just seemed to do down hill.
Catherine McGarth got her 15 minutes in the spotlight and this was maybe the last highlight of the Saturday for me. I have seen her perform a few times and in the past she has always been incredible. Her music reminds me a lot of early Taylor Swift and it’s due to this that, when it comes to British country artists, I see her having the best shot of getting some mainstream success down the road as I just find her stuff fun and easy to listen too.
Then the night just fell off a cliff edge. I remember sitting through Hunter Hayes in 2017 and being bored to tears. Still I was happy to give him another chance and was hoping he would prove me wrong. He didn’t! There is something about him when he performs live that just doesn’t seem to click. His vocals sounded off for the whole evening and it really ruined the show for me. He didn’t seem any better than he was the last time he was here which is sad. I can safely say I hope he doesn’t come back to the festival anytime soon. If I was to rank the main stage over the weekend Hunter would beat Lyle Lovett, who we will talk about tomorrow, for the worst of the weekend.
As we have already mentioned Michael Ray we will move right onto the main event Lady Antebellum. I wouldn’t say they were bad just not on the level off the other two headliners for the weekend. That being said they aren’t many people on the level of Keith Urban and Chris Stapleton. Last year Little Big Town blew me away with their headline performance and I hoping Lady Antebellum, who I have never seen live would do the same. Sadly they just didn’t work for me. It was nice to them bring Carly Pearce and not so much Hunter Hayes back on stages for “Slow Hand” however it did make me wonder what Dustin Lynch did not do get an invite? The song from their set I enjoyed the most was “Need You Now” which is always fun to listen to. The issue here was they just didn’t meet the expectations I had set for them in my head. Hopefully next time I see them live they can surprise me and turn me into a convert but at the moment I feel Lady Antebellum are just a less good Little Big Town.
Since we didn’t go to any of the after shows on the Saturday, however I hear Lainey Wilson was fantastic in the Saloon that ends day two of country to country. It was a great day I got to meet one of my favourite artists, discovered a new favourite band and listened to a lot of good music. Sadly it didn’t carry through to the main arena. This was the weakest evening of the three and I am hoping the Saturday line-up next year is much improved.