It seems like forever since I decided to come to the first-ever British Country Music Festival. As a big Catharine McGrath fan, and also a fan of Ward Thomas and Sarah Darling this festival seems right up my ally. So after much anticipation, I dragged my friend Nick off to Blackpool for a weekend of Country Music.
The first act we got to see was Emily Lockett in the Gillows Bar, she was on before Molly Ann who got a mention as a stand out in my country to country review. This was the first time listening to her and she immediately stood out. Her music has that early Taylor Swift vibe. The only disappointment was arriving and missing the first half of her set.
Lucky Emily did play a second set on the outdoor stage in the evening. This was more of a cover set with only one original song. Still, she seems to draw a good size crowd and did a fantastic cover of Love Story by Taylor Swift. Looking forward to seeing her more in the future.
Next up was Molly Anne. Now I remember being impressed by her at Country to Country. She describes her style of music as being sunshine music. it’s a very upbeat, high tempo and full of energy that just makes you smile that made for an enjoyable set that unfortunately seemed to pass by quickly.
So with the side stages out the way, it’s time to move onto the main stages. The first person we saw was Gary Quinn. Gary impressed me a lot. He has a great stage presence and looks at home performing. The song that stood out the most for me was his “cheeky” I like to watch you leave but there wasn’t a dud on anywhere on his set. For an opening act on the main stage, he provided everything you would want to get the crowd warmed up.
The two acts I was most looking forward to for day one were Laura Oakes and Sarah Darling. Laura took the second to last spot. She delivered, in my opinion, the performance of the night. “Better in Blue Jeans” opened the set and was as catchy as ever. “Nashville Stole Your Girl” is a song I personally love and to hear it live again was amazing. If you only go and listen to one Laura Oakes song in the future then make sure it’s that one. She rounded out her set with a cover of “groove is in the heart” which I enjoyed more than the original.
Our headline act for the night was Sarah Darling. As you may have seen in previous reviews I’m a big fan, having seen her multiple times. I’m not sure what I can say that I haven’t already said in past reviews. This performance lived up and surpassed my already high expectations. The set was a good showcase of the Wonderland album while throwing in some of the old staples. “Where cowboys ride” is still a beautiful song to listen to live and one of my favourites. It was a worthy headliner for the first night of this new festival.
Coming to this I wasn’t sure what to expect. What we got was a well-produced event with a decent crowd and some talented acts. Now that the bar has been set looking forward to watching it be surpassed on day two.