While we’ve been busy enjoying London’s O2 arena being turned into a mini-Nashville every March, 400 miles away Scotland’s own version of the three-day country music festival has been steadily growing. We chatted to Edinburgh based music blogger Michelle, who’s been attending that Glasgow event since its launch in 2016, to find out what it’s like and get a few tips ahead of this year’s fest on March 8th– 10th.
I’ve always loved live music and travelled to as many shows as possible so when I heard about C2C I was so excited to see so many amazing artists on the same bill. Walking into the fantastic and friendly atmosphere that first year was just incredible. When you’re into a genre that can sometimes be viewed as a guilty secret, it’s nice to know you’re not alone; C2C is a real community of country fans. Thanks to the lineup mixing both old and new artists, country pop and Americana, those fans are quite varied.
It’s not just full of old people in cowboy hats line dancing – most of us are just really passionate music lovers who know quality songs when we hear them.
Since that first year, when I felt so lucky to get Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe on the same stage, the festival has moved from the Clyde Auditorium to the larger SSE Hydro and added official aftershow parties. Below are a few suggestions on making the most of the now, much bigger, festival.
Michelle’s C2C Glasgow Tips
1) Look out for pre-festival daytime events like Caroline Jones and Raintown doing a matinee show at SWG3 on Saturday 9th. Also, on the Friday and Saturday afternoons BBC DJ Ricky Ross (who accidentally leaked the C2C lineup early last October) usually interviews some of the artists. These take place at BBC Scotland, which is just across the river from the venue, so keep an eye on the Another Country with Ricky Ross facebook page or the BBC show ticket site for info on how you can apply for free tickets to be in the audience.
2) There is a nice bar in the SEC Centre (just across from the Hydro) for a drink beforehand. Then once you’re in the Hydro if the bars on the ground floor are busy then head up to the bars above as they are usually quieter and quicker. Make sure you get back to your seats early though so you don’t miss any of the acts!
3) Check the Hydro website for what you can’t bring into the concert venue – like selfie sticks or large bags. There’s a cloakroom over in the SEC which costs £5 per item.
4) Your seat may get moved (for the better) if the Hydro, which can seat 12000 people, doesn’t sell out. This happened to my group last year which we found out in a pre-show email, so check your emails before you leave just in case.
5) Stay put in between the main attractions to hear artists playing stripped-back sets on the small ‘spotlight’ stage at the back of the arena. A surprise highlight was when headliners Little Big Town came out and sang ‘Sober’ on the spotlight stage right below where I was sitting, which still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
6) The costs of C2C tickets can be daunting, especially now the festival is in the bigger Hydro. I have to make a choice about which day to go when I can’t afford the whole weekend (this year Chris Stapleton and Ashley McBryde swung it) but then I always end up spending too much at the merchandise stand anyway. Starting a C2C piggy bank fund is probably advisable or you can think ahead and purchase early bird tickets straight after the festival weekend which freeze next year’s tickets at this year’s prices.
7) The Aftershow parties (for which tickets must be bought separately) are held in warehouse style venue SWG3. There’s also a big club night in the complex so you may have to walk past a lot of clubbers to find the entrance. It’s just an 18-minute walk from the Hydro but I wouldn’t recommend walking it by yourself at that time of night, plus It can also be difficult to get a taxi afterwards so it’s best to book one in advance.
Have you been to C2C Glasgow? Please share your tips for other visitors below.