NASHVILLE – The Country Music Association enthusiastically returned to Country to Country: C2C festival this past weekend in the U.K. with its critically acclaimed CMA Songwriters Series and Introducing Nashville series. Serving as the official kickoff leading into C2C, the CMA Songwriters Series show on Thursday, March 10 set the tone for the weekend’s celebratory return and featured performances by Country artists Shy Carter, Luke Dick, Russell Dickerson and Caitlyn Smith. CMA’s international touring series, Introducing Nashville, featured performances by Priscilla Block, Tiera Kennedy and Morgan Wade during the festival’s opening set on the main stage at the O2 in London, 3 Arena in Dublin, and the OVO Hydro in Glasgow. While on the ground, CMA also hosted series of valuable networking events that reconnected important relationships and forged new connections to continue the development and profile of Country Music internationally.
During the CMA Songwriters Series show, the sold-out crowd was captivated by the intimate-style of the show as Carter, Dick, Dickerson and Smith performed and told the stories of trial and triumph behind the songs. Highlights include special guests Block, Everette, Kennedy and Wade, surprising fans and joining the round, as well as the announcement that both Carter and Wade would be making their Grand Ole Opry debuts, which each received standing ovations. A return to the international landscape for many artists, and a first-time appearance for others, Carter pointed out that this was his “first chord in the U.K.” and bantered with Dickerson about British slang words, while Dick noted that the “woos sound a little different here.” With fans praising the show as the “best one ever,” the show proved to be a warm welcome back to international touring and an exciting start to an action-packed C2C weekend.
This year’s Introducing Nashville show was one of a kind, as this was the first time a songwriter’s round has been featured on a U.K. arena stage. Wade began the round, followed by Kennedy and Block, each artist performing three songs. Throughout the shows, the group kept the crowded arenas engaged and entertained, leaving fans wanting more by the end of each set.
“To be back and celebrating Country Music with our international fans, colleagues and industry partners has been incredibly meaningful,” says Milly Olykan, Vice President, International Relations and Development. “The energy of the crowds and overall excitement throughout the weekend was a testament to the ways the Country genre has continued to grow and reach audiences even with the challenges we’ve faced over the last two years. We are already counting down until next year!”