Following the success of the brand new C2C: Country To Country Satellite Stage during Day 1 of the festival, which saw rising star Sam Hunt and Nashville actor Sam Palladio perform, Day 2 saw another two acts take to the stage between the main stage action. Both acts are homegrown and causing waves and we were intrigued to see how they’d stand up next to the polished American acts that performed on the main stage.
First up was sister duo Ward Thomas who released their album From Where We Stand last summer. They kicked things off with an acoustic performance of Push For The Stride, the single that garnered them a lot of radio support in the UK, and their powerful voices filled the arena. The sisters are at their best when they work together and harmonise, and it’s at that moment you know they’ve got something special.
For their second song they performed new track Cartwheels, which was the highlight of the set. You could hear the emotion in their voices and their harmonies were beautifully tight. Closing off their three-song set, Ward Thomas performed current single Town Called Ugley. The audience responded well to them and the sisters expressed how excited they were to be playing their first arena show. They definitely showed off their voices and they sounded fantastic.
The second, and final, Satellite Stage act was The Shires. The duo have been picking up a lot of buzz and their performance coincided with them making history as the first UK country act to have an album chart in the UK Top 10 album chart. That bit of news gave the performance a boost and the band was clearly pretty overwhelmed.
Their set consisted of Nashville Grey Skies, a rousing rendition of current single Friday Night mashed up with Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk, and the gorgeous piano ballad State Lines. They sounded strong throughout the performance and if you didn’t know any better you would probably think they were American. They’ve definitely captured the mainstream modern country sound.
We enjoyed both Ward Thomas and The Shires. They are forging very different sounds that rival the music coming out of the US. Both acts are paving the way for country music to finally get the attention it deserves in this country and they are doing in on their own terms. Maybe in years to come we’ll see them performing on the main stage?