Festivals 2018: British Country & Americana preview

In 2018 the country and Americana scene has well and truly arrived in the UK. You can tell by the festivals that are majoring in those kind of acts this year. Established medium-sized events like Green Man and End Of The Road are including increasing numbers of acts, this year Hiss Golden Messenger, Marlon Williams, Colter Wall, and Courtney Marie Andrews are flying the flag, but it's in the events that are genre specific that the movement is truly showing its colours. Below we're taking a look at the four festivals that are pushing the genre into new grounds in 2018.

Country To Country (C2C)

The UK, in fact Europe's, premier country music festival has continued to grow in size in the five years since its launch. Now filling the O2 in London, the 3Arena in Dublin, and Glasgow's SSE Hydro, it's now three days of the finest American music. In London part of its success is the "Festival Stages" which are mini-stages set up around the public spaces of the O2 and plays host to a mix of UK and US acts, including some major label names like Sam Hunt and Maren Morris in previous years. In 2018 you can see Sony Nashville's Lanco, Warner Music Nashville's Ashley McBryde and Big Machine's Danielle Bradberry, all of whom could headline their own shows in the US.

On the main stage though is where C2C really shines. This year husband and wife duo Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are headlining, their first trip to the UK for some time, in previous years Nashville mega-hitters Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, and Florida Georgia Line have appeared. They also have the European debut of Midland and the first show by the reformed Sugarland in 2018 and hosted Chris Stapleton's only UK shows in 2016. Alongside all that is the less mainstream mix of acts like Kacey Musgraves (headlining this year), Margo Price, Andrew Combs, Lee Ann Womack, and a bunch of others.

Tickets are available from the festival website for all venues.

Cambridge Folk Festival

The grandaddy of festivals in the UK, the Cambridge Folk Festival has been running for over 50 years. 2018's version includes the country legend John Prine, country royalty Rosanne Cash, rising Americana star John Moreland, and is curated by Americana-folk crossover Rhiannon GiddensIts country and Americana credentials grow by the year, helped by the fact that the roots of that music are in English folk music. Though the 2018 line-up is leaning more on its American cousins than ever before, there has always been a balance between its core audience and the newer forms of folk.

Tickets are available from the festival website.

Black Deer Festival

The newest kid on the block is debuting in the heart of Kent this year. In June Americana (and country) is taking over Deer Park. With only its first set of acts announced so far the festival is already showing its hand with headliners Iron and Wine, Passenger, and especially Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Include other acts like Brit-country twins Ward Thomas, Cornwall's William The Conquerer, CC Smugglers and John Moreland and you can see it's a proper Americana festival in the middle of the UK summer.

Tickets are available from the festival website.

Other festivals

Alongside those three are a number of smaller festivals representing country and Americana. Maverick Festival consistently puts on good line-ups of British and American talent, while Summertyne Americana Festival has a strong mix of the known and unknown, and Manchester's Buckle and Boots Country FestivalAll are yet to release their line-ups for 2018.

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