We started the day early as we wanted to avoid any traffic on our two and a half hour journey to Harrogate, leaving at about 7am. Arriving in Harrogate at about 9:30 we found the Convention Centre, parked the car and went off to Wetherspoon for breakfast.
The Afternoon Showcase was due to start at 12 o'clock so we made our way back up to the Convention Centre which was only a 10 minute walk, and made our way inside. We could immediately see that this was an amazing venue and we weren't even in the auditorium yet. Plush carpet and black granite coloured marble walls, a circular staircase, and then we went through the doors into the auditorium itself, a semi-circle of raised seating leading to the floor where tables had been set out and dressed with table cloths and candles. Everything just looked lovely.
We took our V.I.P. seats at one of the tables for the afternoons event. Our seats had very kindly been upgraded as some of the sponsors were unable to attend in the afternoon.
Mr Beau Fuller direct from his home in Nashville came onto the stage. He was our compare for the afternoon but he opened the showcase by singing us a song. Each of the showcase artists sang 3 songs. The performers were Amie Knight, Emily Faye, Chloe Elliot, Danny McMahon, Sam Coe & The Long Shadows and The Peter Donegan Band. The showcase afternoon finished with a songwriters round. Starting with Gary Quinn, then Sarah Jory who did her first ever round and the story she told was a tear jerker and Jenn Bostic. This is the first time I had ever seen Jenn perform and she was as good as I had been led to believe. Each of our artists performed 2 songs in the round. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.
The showcase finished at about 4 o'clock so we then had time to check into our hotel and for me to begin the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. It's not very often I get a chance to go anywhere where we have to dress up so I was doubly excited. Black lace fit and flare dress that finished just below the knee and tassled cream suede cowboy boots (sticking with the country theme, besides I can't wear heels) with a black & white fringed wrap and a bit of slap and I felt like a different person. It's amazing what a bit of lippy does to your confidence.
For the awards show itself we sat in the tiered seats. We had a fabulous view and were not too far away so we could get decent photos without moving. The stage, the backdrop and the lighting all looked stunning and every inch how an awards show should look.
Our hosts for the evenings Awards show were Gary Quinn and Jenn Bostic, They did an excellent job. They actually make a perfect couple for this specific job. You can tell they are good friends and the banter between them was very entertaining.
Having never been to an awards night like this before I was thinking that it was going to be a long drawn out night but I cannot fault anything about it. To open the show Gary and Jenn sang a song together from 'A Star is Born' which was wonderful then a couple of industry awards were given out. Then we had live performances by the creme de la creme of British country artists. Gasoline and Matches, Backwoods Creek, Izzie Walsh, Sarah Jory, Jade Helliwell, Darcy, Morganway and Kezia Gill. They all looked and sounded amazing and were all deserving of their nominations. There is so much talent in our country scene. Each band has a different style so there was something to suit everyone. It was an amazing night of British country music.
During each artists set the backdrop was changed to something in keeping with that particular artist. My favourite of course was Backwoods Creeks award winning video of 'When I Grow Up' which played while they sang the song and the guy responsible for all the video clips and indeed the creator of the winning video was Lewis Rogers from LR Animation. He did a fantastic job.
I just want to say congratulations to all the nominees and all the winners. You are all fantastic and deserve your nominations and awards. Your music is appreciated by me and a fast growing fan base in this country and word of your music is now even spreading abroad which is fantastic news.
What would a British country event be without an after show party. At last, time to get a drink and chat to all our artist friends and country family. Photo opportunities with the artists and a good old country disco with our most loved country cowboy Wayne Hadlow showing us his DJ skills. There was even some dancing going on. It was a great atmosphere. Everyone laughing and celebrating their wins. A perfect end for a perfect day well for most that is. A few of us popped into the hotel across the road and they opened the bar for us. We had pizza delivered at 3am and finally went back to our hotel at quarter to five in the morning. The birds were singing when we went to bed.
I think congratulations are in order for the BCMA who organised this fantastic event.