2018 Preview: Country Music Happenings in the UK

It’s early days for 2018 (literally) but country music fans in the UK have already got a lot to look forward to. Here’s just a taste of the ways this year looks set to be a momentous one.

Flights

Thanks BA – Heathrow to Nashville in 9 hours.

We’re ridiculously excited about British Airways’ London to Nashville flights, launching in May. This new, direct 9-hour route will bring costs down and convenience up and tickets are currently in the January sale from just £499 return. The cheapest time to travel is October – December so CMA Awards, anyone? Even if you’re not jetting off to Music City this year, there is plenty coming up in our own shores.

Festivals

Country 2 Country, the huge tri-city country music festival is back for it’s 6th year and its expanding once again. More artists will be playing Glasgow, with the introduction of pop up stages which until now have been the privilege of London attendees.

March isn’t the only festival time to look forward to. While other established festivals like Greater Manchester’s Buckle and Boots return, there are also new events on the block. Last year saw the arrival of London’s Country Music Week plus Harvest Country Music festival in Ireland and Northern Ireland which kicked off with an epic line-up boasting Miranda Lambert and Kip Moore. We’re hoping both will return this year and we’re also incredibly curious about what another new outdoor festival will bring. Black Deer festival in Kent is scheduled for 22nd – 24th June. You can sign up now for notifications but the line-up remains a mystery. For a quicker fix, check out the best of UK artists playing at Devon’s Midwinter weekend festival, 12-14th January.

Releases

There’s no slow start to the year. Brothers Osborne, the darlings of 2017, have a new single out on Friday 6th January, the following week has new music from Dan + Shay and Anderson East, while on 19th the we’ll have the debut full-length album from Lanco. Significantly, February will see the release of Montgomery Gentry’s final work as a duo. Then, later on in the year, new albums are anticipated from Eric Church, Kasey Musgraves, Scotty McCreery and The Pistol Annies.

Tours

As well as the big names heading over for C2C festival (see the full line-up here) we’ve already got UK tour dates in the diary for Brothers Osborne, Tyler Childers, Jess and the Bandits, Sarah Darling, Shania Twain, Phil Vassar… and, if you’re still counting her as as country, Taylor Swift.

Nightlife

London’s country music club night Nashville Nights [pictured] has gone from strength to strength, often selling out last year.  Thankfully, this year we don’t have to wait as long between country events as there are more regular offerings on the cards. Bourbon and live music bar Bunny Jackson’s opened in Manchester in October and we’re hoping for news soon about London’s promised permanent honky-tonk Buck and Bull Saloon (their next pop up event is planned for Feb). We’ve started a list of country music night spots around the UK to help you find one closer to you.

Between all this going on and UK talent like Emily Faye getting recognition internationally (she was tipped by Rolling Stone last year don’t ya know), we’re expecting a brilliant, albeit tiring, year ahead on the UK country scene.

Hope to see you at a gig soon,

CJ & Judi

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