C2C Pop-Up Stage Highlights (Shannon Hynes)

So, C2C has long gone for another year and we’ve all fallen in love with Cam even more than before, still have goosebumps from Chris Stapleton’s set and have well and truly started our countdown to C2C 2020. As well as the draw of the main arena acts, C2C highlights the best of UK Country and its up and coming artists too, some of which are Lisa Wright, Jake Morrell and Jade Helliwell. All of these are making huge steps in their career and C2C is bound to be a huge push as they are showcased to the biggest audience the UK Country scene sees. As well as homegrown talent, we are incredibly lucky to get the up and coming talent from America. Personally, I find most of my highlights of the weekend lie within the pop up stages rather than arena. So therefore, I am going to talk about my pop-up stage highlights of the weekend.

Lisa Wright (Credit – Graham Joy)

Let’s start with the Thursday night. It’s not technically a pop-up stage, but the songwriters is one of my favourite parts of C2C weekend. I always discover new songs and new meanings to songs I already knew. Laura Veltz is one very very talented songwriter, whom I had already seen before, when I, by some sort of magic, stumbled upon a writers round she was playing in Nashville about 2 years ago. Do when she was announced on this year’s line up, I was quite frankly over the moon. Although Laura is known mainly for her song writing, her vocals silenced and stunned the attentive crowd. Capturing us with behind the scenes stories of the making of songs such as ‘Speechless’ (Dan and Shay) and ‘Rich’ (Maren Morris), Laura Veltz is a perfect example for why the Thursday night of C2C will always be my favourite.

Not necessarily a new discovery, but RaeLynn really impressed me at C2C. I have always enjoyed her singles but have never really spent much time looking deeper into her music. I saw her twice on the pop-up stages and both sets were full of new songs, which were absolutely fantastic. Intoxicated with energy, this sassy chick had everyone in fits of laughter and bopping along to every beat of every song. As well as her latest single ‘Tailgate’, RaeLynn introduced us to plenty more of her upcoming releases such as a song likening a break-up to taking off your bra, which I think is classic and quite frankly legendary. With the tough job of getting everyone dancing on the Sunday night at the after party, Rae seemed to do this with complete ease, looking gorgeous, sounding strong, and showering the audience with her sassy, Texan personality. She definitely gained a new fan in me and I cannot wait for this new music to be released.

RaeLynn (Credit – Aron Klein)

Going back to our UK roots for a second, we have just got to talk about Twinnie! With the recent release of her debut EP ‘Better When I’m Drunk’ smashing the critics and the charts, Twinnie was bound to have a bit of a draw at C2C. I was absolutely gutted to only catch her once during the weekend, at the ‘All Bar One’ stage. After this intimate performance I was genuinely kicking myself I hadn’t found the time to see one of her other performances. A diva in the best sense of the word, Twinnie blew me away and clearly not only me, as she received a standing ovation at the end of her set. Clearly a performer and entertainer, Twinnie enthused us with fun and warmth, as she somehow incorporated high kicks and spins into her mostly up-beat performance. I am ecstatic to see what the future holds for Twinnie, as I am certain it’ll be bright.

Twinnie (Credit – Aron Klein)

Now, Runaway June are one of my favourite up and coming bands anyway, so I tried to see them as many times as I could over the course of the weekend. The queue outside of the Indigo’s Radio 2 stage before their set was quite astounding and one of the biggest I think I saw the whole time, so I was pretty relieved to make it in on this occasion. The energy these girls have as a threesome is tiring to just watch, so how they manage to maintain it is above me, but they certainly did over the C2C weekend with their many performances. Hannah, Naomi and Jennifer’s personalities protrude enthusiastically and blend seamlessly as their strong friendship is blindingly obvious to see. One of my favourite moments was when they sang ‘Blue Roses’, which is a very personal and melancholic song. The emotion that came through in Naomi’s voice was gut-wrenching. I can’t wait for a hopefully soon-to-be released album from these girls!

Naomi Cooke of Runaway June (Credit – Graham Joy)

Shannon Hynes
@s_hynesmusic