C2C: Country To Country 2017 - My Dream Line Up

Excitement is building amongst country music fans ahead of the long-awaited announcement of the headliners for next year's Country to Country festival next week. And I'm one of them, to the extent I've had dreams about the line-up (both good and bad!). So whilst we're eagerly awaiting news, I thought I'd do a quick blog post on who I'd love to see at this year's festival. Fingers crossed some of these come true!

Note: all these predictions are for London, so your mileage may vary if you're going to Glasgow or Dublin.


Friday headliner: Keith Urban
All signs point to Keith for me. American Idol is finished, he has a new(ish) album out as well as a hefty back catalogue, and he's said his Ripcord world tour will 'go to places I've never been before' - I couldn't find anything indicating he'd been to the UK previously, though if you know better please correct me. Plus his US and Australia dates line up pretty perfectly for an European leg in early 2017, which could quite possibly include a stop at C2C. I've put him on the Friday purely because that's where Miranda Lambert was as the 'never-been-before' headliner but wouldn't be surprised if he was moved to the Saturday either.

Saturday headliners: Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Carrie Underwood's appearance at this year's C2C has opened the door for returning acts, and Tim McGraw would fit perfectly. Like Keith Urban he released a new album relative recently, and as far as I can tell he hasn't toured the UK outside of C2C, so no doubt there's a huge appetite for him to come back. Faith Hill, meanwhile, has never played C2C, yet has a back catalogue full of hits that I can already picture the whole of the O2 singing along with. Add to that that they've just announced a joint 'world' tour - which starts in the US in April - and surely C2C would make the perfect warmup gig, especially as there are few other big solo female acts who haven't played C2C recently.

Sunday headliner: Dierks Bentley
I was lucky enough to get to see Dierks when he played at the Hammersmith Apollo in April (one of the best last-minute decisions I've ever made) and was absolutely blown away. He has a great mix of uptempo party tunes as well as more introspective, guitar-driven pieces and from all accounts he was great when he last played C2C back in 2014. Now his Black album is out and he's announced a 'world' tour - currently finishing in early February - surely it's time for him to get upgraded to C2C headliner. If he brings his support acts Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi with him then even better; I'm a huge Jon Pardi fan in particular, which is partly why I've suggested him for the Sunday to go into the slightly more 'traditional' slot occupied by Andrew Combs and Chris Stapleton in 2016.

Other acts I'd love to see:

Cam - I'm aware this is a very bloke-heavy line-up, but with a lack of major female stars in country at the music (especially given that we had so many of them at last year's C2C) it's only really Cam and Kelsea Ballerini who could fly that flag. Kelsea is out on tour in the States with Thomas Rhett in March - although I wouldn't be surprised if she came over here for his November shows - so Cam it must be, and I'd be very happy indeed with that as she has some utterly beautiful songs.

Darius Rucker - he's said he's coming back to the UK 'early next year', he should have a new record out by then and the returning act argument applies here too, although it's hard to say if he'd do C2C again without being moved up the bill. Then again, Little Big Town have played C2C twice and not headlined, so you never know...

Kip Moore - mainly because I'm gutted I missed his tour earlier this year and by all accounts he puts on a great show. He's played C2C before but much lower down the bill, so I'm hoping 2017 will be the time he gets a much longer slot.

The Shires - this is a bit of a cheat as I've seen them before, albeit fleetingly, at last year's C2C. But given they are the biggest UK country act I think it's high time for them to get a slot on the main stage and showcase their music to the biggest audience possible.

Are you going to C2C 2017? Who would you love to see performing?