Chris Evans has announced the return of Radio 2 Country, to broadcast nationally from March 10th to 13th 2016.
The pop-up station will cover the C2C: Country To Country festival at The O2 in London and promote country music in general.
Bob Harris launches the four-day station with his show Welcome To Radio 2 Country, on Thursday 10th March from 12pm till 1pm. Highlights on the schedule include a celebration of country pop with Sara Cox, and a look at storytelling in country music with Steve Wright. Paul Sexton predicts Nashville’s next big stars and breakout artists of 2016, Paul Gambaccini presents America’s Greatest Country Hits, and CMA-winning singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters presents ‘Sad Songs Make Me Happy, with tracks from Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood and Vince Gill.
On Friday 11 March, presenters Bob Harris and Jo Whiley introduce music from the C2C: Country To Country festival at The O2 in London from 6pm till 11pm. Performances plus back stage action will be broadcast live, and simulcast with BBC Radio 2 from 8pm.
Alex Lester and Paul Sexton join Bob at the festival on Saturday 12 March (4-11pm), with Baylen Leonard joining him on the final day (13 March, 4-11pm).
For the first time this year, there will be a BBC Radio 2 Country stage, taking place during the day at indigo at The O2 on Saturday 12 March and Sunday 13 March (midday to 4pm).
Other highlights on the four-day pop-up digital radio service include Jeremy Vine’s Stompin’ Country, plus the Eagles front man, Don Henley, selects his favourite country music including tracks from George Jones, Dolly Parton and Lee Ann Womack. Cerys Matthews presents a special programme exploring the roots of country in old time Appalachian and American folk music, and the reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year, Little Big Town, introduce their favourite road songs.
Further special country programming comes from Alex Lester, Michael Ball, Ken Bruce, Liza Tarbuck, Patrick Kielty, Ricky Ross, Sally ‘Traffic’ Boazman and Simon Mayo.
Lewis Carnie, Head of Programmes for BBC Radio 2, says: “Radio 2 is passionate about music, so we’re bringing back the pop-up digital radio service, BBC Radio 2 Country, alongside some exciting new music documentaries featuring some of the world’s most popular musicians – from Pet Shop Boys, to Alfie Boe.”