As the traffic, rain and the deserted office can attest there is a music festival other than Buckle and Boots happening this weekend. While I’m personally avoiding the mud-slide this year, there’s a tinge of hope that my friends on the way to Glastonbury (frustratingly slowly) may come back as part of the ‘country club’.

Selfishly, I haven’t always been grateful for the integration of country music into mainstream events. Of course I loved everyone singing along to Dolly Parton and asking me about this “new singer” Kacey Musgraves, but when Zac Brown Band played there and the hoard of new fans meant I couldn’t get tickets to their subsequently sold out London gig, I wanted to hold on to the secret of country music a little longer.

But the secret is out, as the rise of the UK’s most successful home-grown country act, The Shires, shows. So I’m embracing it and giving every Glastonbury-bound music lover I know strict instructions to check out the country side of Glasto.

This year The Shires are headlining Glastonbury’s Acoustic Stage (on Saturday 25th June at 9:45 p.m.). Even though they’re clashing with Adele (I’m sure she’ll be too crowded anyway, right?)  I’ve promised colleagues they wont be disappointed. For I am still harping on about the first time I heard them – the only act to distract me from my intense C2C mission of meat and whiskey. And I feel we’ve grown with them; as country music tiptoed out of the corners of UK village pubs and my cowboy boots got more and more opportunities for nights out. We have seen them go from pop-up unknowns, to support act, to the main event. We have clapped along with them in the crowd of Brett Eldredge in a Camden club and poked fun at American patriotism with them as they’ve sung about Fish and Chips.

The Shires wont be alone in bringing the Nashville sound to the south west. The Acoustic Stage is also treating festival goers with:

  • Country-pop duo Ward Thomas. (Friday at 13:35)
  • Cyndi Lauper (yes the Cyndi Lauper) who has a new country album out and is headlining on Sunday.
  • Lewis & Leigh, bringing Wales and Mississippi together at last! (Saturday 13:35)
  • Patty Griffin; if you don’t know her you’ll certainly recognise a couple of her songs thanks to their Dixie Chicks’ releases. (Sunday 16:20)
  • The incredible vocal blend of Applewood Road (Sunday 13:35)

The full Glastonbury line-up is here, so if you’re mud-bound, I hope you tip your hat to some of the country music gems buried there. Of course if you’re not, remember Buckle and Boots festival is on instead!

By @CheryTwee for @UKCountryBlog

(Cute pig pic from here)