C2C: Country to Country is Europe’s biggest country music festival, created by AEG Europe and SJM Concerts in association with the Country Music Association. Each March, country music artists from Nashville, the United Kingdom, and Europe come together in London, Glasgow and Dublin for three days of the best in country music and programming.
After having to cancel the past two years of events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, C2C will make its triumphant return for its eighth year this week (March 11 – 13).
This year’s festival will include performances from some of country music’s biggest and fastest-rising superstars, such as Ashley McBryde, Hailey Whitters, Russell Dickerson, Priscilla Block, Tenille Townes, Brett Young, Breland, Callista Clark, Tenille Arts, Caitlyn Smith, Tiera Kennedy, Morgan Wade, Scotty McCreery, Kip Moore, Flatland Cavalry, and many more.
At the top of the bill for the 2022 C2C festival are Darius Rucker, Miranda Lambert, and Luke Combs, the latter two of which are represented by WME.
MusicRow recently spoke with Shannon Saunders, an agent in WME’s Nashville office with a focus on booking international acts, about what goes in to picking the best artists for an event like C2C, the influence of Nashville artists overseas, and the return to touring in country music.
MusicRow: What is your role at WME?
I have been with WME for over 10 years now, and have worked in various places booking for domestic territories, including fairs and festivals all across the U.S. Most recently I’ve moved into the international territory where I focus on growing our international touring opportunities for our Nashville roster.
What is the importance of a festival like C2C? Why is connecting Nashville artists such a vital piece of it?
C2C has been going on for quite a few years, much longer than I have been working with it directly. It’s always been a great event that introduces new country artists to the UK and Irish marketplace, and most recently even into Germany and the Netherlands. It’s one of our marquee events of the year, and I know that everyone is really looking forward to getting back there.
C2C has really created a wonderful community and culture around it where fans get together and look forward to discovering new artists. You find a lot of artist discovery with the different festival stages during the day, specifically around London. You also get to watch acts like Ashley McBryde, who started on a Spotlight Stage and has continued [to become] a big, main stage act as well.
It’s predominantly [American artists] that are coming over, but there are domestic country music artists that are on the festival as well. For instance, we represent Essex County, who is a part of the festival this year. They are based in the UK and are local to that market. There are many others on the bill as well, so it’s definitely a mix of [American] and local acts.
WME acts Luke Combs and Miranda Lambert are two of the three headliners for C2C this year. What goes into finding the perfect act for an event like this?
We’re always looking for talent that’s never been overseas before or acts that have put in the work and continue to grow a strong and loyal fanbase in Europe. You have definitely seen that with Luke Combs, who is a strong act there. He started touring really small and has grown all the way up into a major headliner in Europe.
We’ve got acts of all kinds all over [the world]. WME has 18 acts booked from our roster on this 2022 festival that range from big, marquee headliners all the way down to acts that are going over for the very first time and will be introduced as a new artist in Europe.
The 2020 and 2021 editions of C2C were cancelled because of COVID. With that in mind, what will this year’s show be like?
I’m really looking forward to the 2022 festival. I highly anticipate it to be a very large celebration of the comeback of country touring overall, and the excitement of everyone getting together with that community and getting to watch some amazing talent. The lineup this year is truly incredible. It’s very diverse and it’s a great cross section of everything that country music has to offer and all of the many different sounds that live within that genre.
I think C2C is going to be the kickoff of a lot more international country touring for the rest of this year and into 2023. I’m really looking forward to a lot of the things that we have in the pipeline. We have quite a few tours already announced through 2022 with Brad Paisley, Scotty McCreery, Morgan Evans, and The Cadillac Three.
There will be more that will continue to be announced over the next few months, so this is just the beginning of country touring coming back. I’m really looking forward to having a robust touring season in the year to come.
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