At the moment (October 19) marks the beginning of Nation Music Week, the annual seven-day celebration of the style delivered to you by the organisers of Country To Country Festival. Solely this yr there’s a twist.
Whereas the coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on CMW 2020 – to not point out C2C Pageant 2020, which was cancelled on the onset of lockdown – it has not, nevertheless, stopped it, with this yr’s instalment going digital.
Between Monday October 19 and Sunday October 25, Nation Music Week Digital might be providing dwell periods, unique interviews, social and radio present takeovers, showcases, quizzes and extra throughout a bunch of platforms and all solely for UK and European followers.
A bunch of artists have signed up for the occasion, together with Ashley McBryde, Brett Eldredge, Cam, Carly Pearce, Chris Younger, Danielle Bradbery, Ingrid Andress, Kalie Shorr, Woman A, Lindsay Ell, Midland, Morgan Wallen, Runaway June, Ruthie Collins, Scotty McCreery, Tenille Townes, The Shires, Twinnie, Ward Thomas and extra.
Legendary broadcaster Bob Harris will host Stand By Me: 50 Years In Broadcasting, a particular zoom occasion hosted by Vacation spot Nation, whereas different exercise consists of particular Nation Music Week Social gathering Mixes with DJ Hish on Nation Hits Radio, with additional takeovers together with Caylee Hammack, Jameson Rodgers, Lauren Alaina and extra.
Right here, Alex Simmonds (promoter, SJM Live shows) and Tom Saunders (promoter, dwell music at AEG Presents) inform us what we are able to anticipate…
What has the continuing evolution of Nation Music Week performed for nation’s profile within the UK?
Tom Saunders: “It has had a very optimistic influence on the nation touring circuit. By having an autumn occasion to go alongside C2C within the spring, it is a additional alternative to construct consciousness and press across the style by bringing quite a few exhibits collectively below one banner. It is also a further likelihood for rising expertise to learn from enjoying an occasion alongside some extra established names. With CMW and different country-specific occasions launching within the calendar, there are an increasing number of home windows for nation artists to plan European touring and exercise – this flexibility permits extra alternative for nation artists to steadiness US commitments with creating their profession internationally.”
Alex Simmonds: “It’s nice to have one other second within the yr the place the UK nation music trade can have artists, administration, labels, brokers, the CMA and press all in the identical place. There may be a number of focus to develop nation music right here and having one other alternative for artists to carry out to their followers in addition to tie in new releases, promotion and meet with their UK groups is a giant assist.”
How does CMW differentiate itself from C2C – can it do something for nation music that the pageant can’t?
TS: “Nation Music Week is a really totally different expertise for followers. For one, it is a chance to see acts they’ve seen on huge pageant levels at C2C in a extra intimate setting. Nation artists are inclined to thrive in these settings the place their persona, and fervour for the music and the songwriting actually endears themselves to the followers. It’s these intimate connections which have constructed robust relationships and loyalty with followers.”
AS: “For me, CMW allows expertise to tour throughout the UK too. It permits us to convey nation music to cities and cities the place C2C doesn’t occur. Our purpose is to develop the style and make nation music extra accessible to its followers.”
What is the degree of trade participation this yr?
TS: “As you’ll be able to see from our line-up, there was an enormous quantity of curiosity from artists, media retailers and labels to be a part of the occasion. There are a selection of occasions going down on radio together with Radio 2, Nation Hits, Chris Nation and Easy Nation, in addition to quite a few label showcase occasions we have now labored on with Sony Nashville, Massive Machine Information, BBR/BMG and Curb. Because the dwell aspect is so essential to artist improvement, notably within the nation area right here, it has been vital to seek out methods to be artistic to nonetheless present alternatives to artists who’re eager to develop their viewers right here, and to maintain the prominence of the style rising. There was nice collaboration throughout the trade to construct CMW within the totally different manner wanted this yr.”
AS: “We’ve additionally labored carefully with the CMA who might be working quite a few trade webinars all through the week.”
We began off pondering we would get 15 issues taking place over the week, we now have 60
Alex Simmonds (SJM Live shows)
Nation has posted some extraordinarily promising streaming results in the UK – how huge a task do you assume C2C & CMW has performed in that?
TS: “C2C and CMW have had enormous impacts on the worldwide profile of nation artists. Being bodily current out there has a very vital influence on the success of those artists, and drives up streaming as followers uncover new artists on the festivals. Coupled with additional nation playlisting from DSPs and new nationwide radio platforms corresponding to Nation Hits Radio and Easy Nation, this has had a huge impact on nation music’s upward curve.”
AS: “The occasions have proven there’s a demand for nation music within the UK. Having the ability to see hundreds of individuals of all totally different age ranges attending these occasions has given confidence to radio stations and streaming platforms.”
Simply how huge of an operation was it reimagining what you had deliberate for CMW within the digital area?
TS: “It’s a very totally different set of challenges. Firstly, there are fewer logistical issues as artists can become involved and take part within the occasion from their US properties, quite than needing to make the journey to Europe in order that has benefitted getting extra artists concerned. Having labored with the Bluebird Cafe for quite a few years and having introduced their model of exhibits to C2C, this yr the occasion will stream a present that includes Ashley McBryde, Lindsay Ell and Carly Pearce, from the venue itself which might be actually particular.”
AS: “We began off pondering we would get 15 issues taking place over the week, we now have 60. It’s taken a number of time to place collectively however the labels, administration and brokers have been extraordinarily supportive. Once we got here up with the thought, so many artists have been doing livestreams on social media. We needed to create every week of assorted several types of occasions that weren’t simply livestreams. Nation Music Week is about leaping round venues in London. I needed to emulate that on-line with the totally different platforms representing these venues. I’m excited to see the way it goes.”
Is there scope for CMW to increase sooner or later?
TS: “There was such a optimistic response to this yr’s version that there’s an urge for food to proceed to work on additional digital content material that would develop into a part of the occasion in years to come back. A mixture of dwell and digital content material could be an effective way to increase the variety of artists that may develop their audiences. The model was launched in Germany final yr following the primary of C2C pageant within the nation, and there’s definitely hope to take it to additional UK and European cities as demand for the music grows across the continent, simply as C2C has performed. In recent times, there was an increasing number of nation touring this aspect of the pond, and as that demand continues to develop, perhaps we are going to find yourself with Nation Music Month… Each month!”
Lastly, what does the line-up of expertise you’ve assembled say about the place nation music is at in 2020 and going into 2021?
TS: “There are over 50 extremely proficient artists on the line-up this yr, and there might have been the identical once more, such is the expertise that’s rising in nation music proper now. The variety of acts that needed to be a part of our occasion illustrates that even in these difficult instances there’s the need from artists and trade to develop the style exterior of the US. The numerous streaming progress that has been seen in current months justifies that funding. All in all, this could hopefully amplify the need throughout the trade to develop the style exterior of the US, now that we’re seeing such thrilling engagement and progress.”