Despite an enforced pandemic break, the Long Road festival has quickly established itself as being one of the premier Country music and Americana festivals in not only the UK but Europe too. Set in the beautiful grounds of Stanford Hall in Leicestershire, the festival is a wonderful mix of Country and Roots music across a number of stages. Add in a series of eclectic and interesting events (like car shows and the opportunity to go wild swimming) and you’ve got an amazing couple of days on your hands.
This year the festival is happening on Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August, moving from its customary September setting to the August bank holiday weekend. This means it should be tad warmer (particularly this year!) for all those people camping. There are all sorts of accommodation options for the festival.
The beating heart of this festival is, obviously, the music. Curated skilfully by the likes of Baylen Leonard and his team, the organisers have put together a bill that reflects the best of what is on offer for fans of Country and Americana. There are singers, performers, songwriters and storytellers bursting out of venues all over the grounds of Stanford Hall. This year the Friday night, headlined by Drake White, has been expanded a little. That evening’s bill also includes rising ‘star in the making’ Priscilla Block alongside some cracking UK based artists like Jade Helliwell, Jess Thristan and newcomer Simeon Dallas Hammond, who is releasing her new EP this Friday (August 12th) and who we will be carrying an interview with on the same day.
One of the great things about the Long Road festival is the varied and eclectic nature of the artists on the bill. One thing that has struck us this year is that the organisers have quietly assembled an amazing array of female storytellers and songwriting legends. Across the two days of the main festival, you can see Brandy Clark, Gretchen Peters, Sara Evans and Sunny Sweeney all ply their trade and tell the stories of their careers. That’s some rich talent and a wonderful opportunity to look ‘behind the curtain’ as these fabulous artists treat you to the best of what they have written.
One of the strengths of the Long Road is the sheer diversity of music on offer across the three nights of the festival. So if it’s mainstream Country music you like you’ll get to see artists like Lindsay Ell, Shy Carter, Locash, Cassadee Pope, Everette, Seaforth and, of course, the Saturday night headliner, Chris Young. If you like your music a little left of centre then the stylings of artists like Sam Williams, Sarah Darling, Lily Hiatt, and Andrew Combs will be right up your street too.
This year the festival has partnered with artist and radio presenter Rissi Palmer to enable her to bring her ‘Color Me Country’ show over to the UK. Rissi has been releasing her own music and championing the music of artists of colour and musicians she feels have been marginalised by the mainstream for a number of years now and it’s going to be a fascinating and uplifting session on the Front Porch stage as she introduces artists like Miko Marks, Madeline Edwards, Camille Parker, Valerie Ponzio and Charlie Lowry to the UK for the first time.
Fans of southern rock will also find a lot to listen to at this year’s festival. The Sunday night is being headlined by The Cadillac Three, who will no doubt ‘raise the roof’ and send home the happy campers with a big smile on their faces. Other artists like Kyle Daniel and the UK’s very own Morganway will also bring an uptempo vibe to the stages they’re on. Jonathan Terrell will be bringing Texas to the middle of England on both the Friday and Saturday whilst Folk and Bluegrass can also be found alive and well at the Long Road festival. Original and unique artists like Gangstagrass, Noble Jacks and Villagers will take all the dreamers and visionaries off to places they never knew existed with their musical diversity and rich, vivid landscapes.
The festival also provides an opportunity for the UK to get another chance to see Country legend Marty Stuart ply his trade. This Grammy award winning musician who has played alongside the best of the best in Nashville will be bringing his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, to the Long Road for a set full of rhinestones and pure Country music that is not to be missed.
Alongside the diverse and rich offerings on the music stages the Long Road festival also provides a number of lifestyle, music and food events. There’s always a car show for petrolheads to salivate over as they wonder past the rows of vintage vehicles! Food trucks, liquor wagons and craft beer bars litter the grounds of the festival and cause foodies headaches as they plot which van to visit next. Woodland walks, wild swimming, fairground rides and karaoke sessions are all available too, meaning that there is something to do all the time if you need a short break from the music on offer or a breath of fresh air.
For those of you who like the high life the ‘High Falootin’ VIP’ area is located in the Rhinestone arena and gives guests a unique vantage point to watch the action in the main arena. Collapse into some comfy seating, enjoy a boozy beverage from the dedicated, premium bar and be sure to bag yourself a spot around one of the many campfires as you live out your best life in some style, away from the hordes in the main arena!
There are different levels of tickets and options available from the Long Road’s website. With only a few weeks to go we recommend you jump in and come and see what all the fuss is about. This festival has a special atmosphere that you can’t find anywhere else in the UK. There is something here for everyone – every type of Roots based sound you can think of can be found here over the three nights of the festival and you’ll be spoilt for choice as you plot which tent or stage to visit when. We’ll be there, come say hello of you see us!