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C2C Festival 2018 | Sunday Review

Day 3 of Country To Country Festival featured performances from Midland, Lindsay Ell and Little Big Town

C2C Festival 2018 | Sunday Review

Photo: Luke Dyson; Little Big Town on stage at C2C Festival 2018

James Gilmore

W!ZARD News Author

The final day of C2C 2018 was clearly going to be epic from the off-set.

With the Main Arena opening earlier than any of the other days (with first mainstage performer Midland due to perform at 4.30pm), it was clear that Sunday was going to be a day of big performances and must-see acts.

Taking to the BBC Radio 2 stage at the Indigo2 was Ashley Campbell, daughter of legendary musician Glen Campbell who performed distinctively with a banjo in-hand. With a band including her own brother and a violinist, it was truly something very different… in a good way. Her true brilliance was on full display when her brother’s guitar string broke and, left in an unprepared for situation, she broke into a song so perfectly and so naturally, showing just how “born for the stage” she really is. Equally, her song for her Dad, ‘Remembering’ was a heartfelt touch.

Among the acts performing on the free-to-access Town Square stage were singer-songwriter Ryan Kinder and next big thing country-rock band LANCO. Kinder wood the crowd with a varied set, including hit single ‘Close’ and the more ballad-y ‘Leap of Faith’ which had everyone singing along. Perhaps our third time seeing LANCO over the weekend, they proved the perfect closers of the Town Square Stage with a loud and energetic set which fixated everyone in attendance. This is a band made to headline arenas, and Sunday’s set proved that they aren’t too far away from just that.

Also, a notable mention goes to Holloway Road who packed out the Water Margin stage with their acoustic set, even to their surprise! With fans moving right up close to the stage, it’s clear that they’re onto something and won over the crowd before they had even leapt into their first song.

Moving to the Arena, Midland were the perfect openers with a set which was truly inspiring. Even though they held their best-known tracks (such as ‘Make A Little’ and ‘Drinkin’ Problem’) for the end of their set, the crowd was on-board from the start, which says so much about a band only on their debut album.

Whilst tracks such as ‘Burn Out’ and ‘Altitude Adjustment’ proved fan favourites during the set, it was with ‘Drinkin’ Problem’ which closed the set which showed just how success the “Midland formula” (good music + good banter = good times) had worked. As lead singer Mark Wystrach asked fans to put their camera lights on and light up the arena, even the band seemed visibly shocked when almost the ENTIRE arena followed their every word, light up their phones, danced and sang along. It was a truly magical moment.

The Spotlight Stage – located at the back of the arena – showcases performances from rising musicians who will, one day, appear on the Main Stage. After Midland performed their headline-worthy set, Lindsay Ell took over the Spotlight Stage, shining a light as one of the most exciting female rockers. Opening with the folky ‘Wildfire’ and closing with ‘Criminal’, the short set was a crowd-pleasure, proving that she too has everything it takes to become a major player on the scene.

Another highlight of the day on the Spotlight Stage was Russell Dickerson, who’s performances of latest single ‘Yours’ and ‘Blue Tacoma’ showed that even an independent artist can cross over the Atlantic… if the music is good enough. In Dickerson’s case, this set proved that his music is match-fit for global success.

Headlining and closing out Night 3 of C2C was the 11-time Grammy nominated (3-time Grammy winning) and 9-time CMA Award winning Little Big Town.

Opening with a stellar cover of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ showing just how incredible their harmonies are, the band balanced both their renowned big sound with more intimate songs too. Following performances of Beatles-esque ‘Drivin’ Around’ and ‘Pontoon’, among others, during hit singing ‘Little White Church’ the band surprised the crowd by entering the audience and walking (whilst singing, and partially dancing!) to the Spotlight Stage for intimate performances of ‘Sober’, ‘Your Side of the Bed’ and a cover of Glen Campbell’s ‘Wichita Lineman’. As Karen Fairchild said, “these aren’t the cheap seats anymore” – the reality is that at a gig as loud and bombastic as Little Big Town’s, no seat is the cheap seat.

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Returning to the Main Stage with a cover of The BeatlesWith a Little Help from My Friends’, followed by the Taylor Swift-penned ‘Better Man’, the band proved just why they are as successful as they are when closing with ‘Boondocks’ – a global hit which had everyone on their feet.

Whilst the Main Stage had had some mishaps during the evening, with sets from Margo Price and Emmylou Harris running slightly too long, Little Big Town saved it all and ended what had already been a very special weekend in a very special way.

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