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Country travels across pond

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 – Country will continue its foray across the pond in March with stops in the United Kingdom and Ireland by the Country Music Association.

Scheduled events for the weekend include the Second Annual CMA International Marketing Summit; an evening with the storytellers behind the hits with CMA Songwriters Series, which is making its third run in the region; a special BBC songwriters show taping at the BBC Radio Theatre; and two C2C (Country To Country) concerts, two nights each, at The O2 in both Dublin and London in association with The 02 and SJM Concerts.

"The fans in this market are very enthusiastic and supportive of country music," said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "Our artists are experiencing successful tours there and the business opportunities for the industry are obvious. Presenting the reach of the format, the caliber of our artistic community, and providing information about our consumer benefits everyone involved in country music."

The CMA Songwriters Series kicks off the weekend's events on Friday, March 14 at The O2's IndigO2 in London. Hosted by award-winning songwriter Bob DiPiero, the evening of songs and the stories behind them features Martina McBride, Brett James and Striking Matches.

"C2C is proud to present the CMA Songwriters Series in London this year. The Series provides music lovers with a unique opportunity to learn the backstory of how a song is written and brought to life," said Milly Olykan, Senior Event Producer at The O2 and a member of the CMA Board of Directors. "Having Martina McBride appear at both the Songwriters Series and the following day perform at C2C will give UK fans a real appreciation of an artist's relationship with a song from its origins through to performing it live to thousands."

Striking Matches is a duo made up of Sarah Zimmermanand Justin Davis. Paired up at random by a professor at Belmont University to perform for a classroom full of guitar majors, they have been writing and performing together ever since. Their self-titled EP was released in October 2012 and have had five songs featured on ABC's hit television series "Nashville."

"It has been amazing to see the CMA Songwriters Series accepted in the U.K.," said DiPiero. "The fans voted with their feet and are now spreading the word on these one-of-a-kind shows. To have the third year of this series be part of the Country O2 Festival is awesome. I'd like to think these shows have been the advance team for what is becoming something great between Country Music and England."

A two-day music festival at The O2 London on Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16 will be paired with concerts in Ireland on Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15 at The O2, Dublin.

Headlining C2C 2014 will be Brad Paisley and Zac Brown Band. Dixie Chicks will perform in the U.K. for the first time in eight years. Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, and McBride (London show only) also will play.

CMA will present two panel discussions at C2C featuring songwriters and music executives in the British Music Experience at The O2, London on March 15. Attendees will hear about what it takes to be a successful songwriter and panelists will explore the steps to hit-making. These panels are a must for any aspiring songwriter or artist and are free to the public but seating is limited.

The CMA will host its Second Annual CMA International Marketing Summit at the British Music Experience at The O2 in London on March 17.

Music industry experts from the U.S. and U.K. will discuss ways to capitalize on the worldwide power of country followed by a reception at The Media Café in the BBC's New Broadcasting House and performance of the CMA Songwriters Series.

Highlights of the Summit include a keynote by Big Machine Label Group founder and CEO Scott Borchetta; an overview of the most recent CMA research reports with updated demographic and psychographic information presented by CMA Senior Director of Market Research Karen Stump; and a Paisley and Friends BBC/CMA Songwriters Show taping at the BBC's New Broadcasting House. The CMA Songwriters Series-styled event includes Paisley with his songwriting friends Chris Dubois, Kelly Lovelace, and Lee Thomas Miller.

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