DAY 2: COUNTRY2COUNTRY FESTIVAL – LONDON 2017

Before you start, if you haven’t read all about Day 1, you can here.

So here we go! Day 2, and I can safely say this was the day I was most excited for. Why? Because on the Friday, it’d been confirmed that Chase Bryant would be doing a signing after his gig on the Radio 2 Country stage, AND because it was Darius Rucker & Reba McEntire day!

So it all began with my Mum and I dragging ourselves out of bed with Friday’s makeup still halfway down our faces and fill up on breakfast. Eggs, sausages, bacon, beans, the full works. We needed our energy because we knew it would be a day that was almost as long, if not longer than Friday. Shower done, hair straightened, and make-up the best I’d applied it all year, we headed out of the door. Like I said, a 20 minute walk to the O2, so just enough time for my heart rate to go through the roof.

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We arrive there, at the O2, and the music is already playing. It’s literally 9:30am and there are already bands playing at the main entrance! Chase was the first act on the Radio 2 Country stage, 11:40am (a tad inconsiderate of him considering we had such a late night the night before…) and we’d heard from our new friends, Caroline and Mary, that it’s best start queuing early as it’s one of the smallest-yet-most-popular stages there. As advised, we got in the queue, 90 minutes before the doors opened.

Of course we got right at the barrier for his set, which was incredible. He puts on a brilliant show and is such an amazing entertainer. I had the pleasure of seeing him when I road-tripped around America for Tim McGraw’s Shotgun Rider Tour, where he was the opener, and that’s where my love for him began. He sang a couple of new songs, covered Stevie Wonder’s Superstition and two of his songs from his self titled EP. It was only about 45 minutes long, but it was worth the wait.

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After his set was over, we hot foot it out to the entrance where he was doing his signing. We only had E-tickets for the whole weekend and they weren’t that great to sign, so I took along my polaroid printer. The photos I took of him during his set, I printed out, and some I gave to him and the other I asked him to sign. I also got him to sign the photo of us when I met him on the Shotgun Rider Tour – and much to my amazement, he remembered me and what state we met (I held my fangirl scream in so well). I also asked him to sign my phone, because my phone case was a Cath Kidston flowery one which would’ve been hard to see a sharpie pen on, so I took the case off and he literally signed my phone, which he’d never been asked to do before!

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After we met Chase, I clocked his girlfriend, Kourtney, standing by the stairs. I’ve followed her on Instagram for a while now, and recently she won Miss Texas International, so I wanted to congratulate her. I went over, said what I wanted to say, and she said “Oh my gosh are you Olivia?!” so yeah, she knew who I was because I guess she sees my tweets and Instagram comments a lot – oops! I had a photo with her, and we went on our way.

By this point it was about 1pm, and we were getting pretty hungry, plus the next act we wanted to see wasn’t on until 3pm, so we had a lot of time to kill. We had a fairy big lunch in the Slug & Lettuce, which was amazing! The waiter in there was super friendly too, so he made us smile. We sat there for around 90 minutes and got chatting to this guy, who was obviously wearing a cowboy hat – turns out he’s from Exeter, which isn’t too far away.

Around 2:30pm, we were on our way and and went for a little wonder around the O2, seeing the sights we didn’t get to see on the Friday because it was all a bit rush. There was a huge market place selling hats, boots, countrified wall plaques, guitars, everything. Anything with ‘Nashville’ written on it, was there.

Whilst we were walking round, me and my Mum were talking about the seats we had, and how they weren’t really for us. We were wanting to get them upgraded to a seat lower down where the atmosphere was better, so we went to the box office and as if by magic, they upgraded us. We were now in Section 111, which was stage right, pretty much in the middle of the block. We were SO happy about it, and the atmosphere was already 10x better because we were nearer the hard-core fans, like us!

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Like I said before, in terms of the people performing, this night was the night I was most excited about. Dan + Shay, a duet from Nashville, were brilliant. I’d never really listened to them before, but now I have their album downloaded on to my phone and listen to it when I’m on my way to work. I’d pay to see them again, that’s for sure! Hunter Hayes was next, I guess you could say he was country-pop. To be honest, we didn’t really enjoy his performance, so I’ll say no more. As for the next act, Darius Rucker, WOW. THE loudest reaction of the whole weekend when he came out, and I didn’t sit down once during his set. It was insane, he had the WHOLE crowd in the palm of his hands and we couldn’t believe how loud it was. He sang Purple Rain as his encore song, right before Wagon Wheel, so by this point, he’d blown the roof off. If I could’ve relived that set just one for time, I’d have given an arm and a leg! And then, the headliner, Reba McEntire. One of the Queen’s of country, alongside Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. A class act, flawless set and great sense of humour. I adore her, even more than I already did!

So that’s it! Night 2 of 3 was almost over. We headed out of the arena, through the way we came in. Everybody went in front of us and we took a slow stroll down to the official after-party. On the way out, we saw (well, heard them first), Dan + Shay! They were mucking around with their friend whilst walking past us, so I stopped and asked them if it was ok for a quick photo. They were so friendly, and I told them how much I loved them now, and they were super happy that they got to perform in the UK!

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The after party! Again, bags checked thoroughly to make sure there was no contraband going in, a room full of people probably still drunk on Jack Daniels from the night before, and country music blaring. Me and Mum were way out of our comfort zone, and because we didn’t really know many people, we felt kind of awkward. It was getting later and later, and Drake White, the performer, was still nowhere to be seen. By this point, we were getting frustrated because we were just so tired. We decided to call it a night before he was even on, and head back to the hotel. It’s safe to say that next year, we’ll give the after-party tickets a miss.

So that’s Day 2! The walk back to the hotel was painful for us both because of Mums back and my cowboy boots rubbing the skin on my leg, so it felt like the longest half a mile ever. We got back to the hotel, make up off, hair up, comfy clothes on. Heads > pillow > snoring. Done. We were zonked.

Day 3’s blog is on its way!

Speak to you soon!

Olivia

russain-1

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