Established in 2018, The Long Road Festival, has continued to go from strength to strength. Nestled amongst the grounds of Stanford Hall in Leicestershire, a stones throw from J19 of the M1 the niche Festival brings the best in Americana, roots and country together for three days over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The three days will see over 70 artists perform across 5 stages, but the music is just one of the things on offer over the weekend. American themed food stalls and bar offerings will keep you fed and watered, and there will also be classic American cars on show. As a family friendly festival there’s also plenty of activities on hand to keep the little ones entertained. You can even bring your dog!
The music starts on Friday. Canadian singer/songwriter Tenille Townes is set to headline the evening. Her latest 5 song offering, Train Track Worktapes, was written and recorded on a 3000 mile charity train journey. Having signed to Columbia Nashville in 2017 her first hit single ‘Somebody’s Daughter’ soon followed reaching 29 in the Hot Country Songs Chart. More recently her collaboration with fellow countryman Bryan Adams on ‘The Thing That Wrecks You’ has helped raised her profile and has given her music a wider appeal.
The Friday night will also see Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan performing a solo spot. It will be interesting to see how her set pans out as aside from her latest album Age Of Apathy, she has also been playing dates featuring her take on Springsteen’s Nebraska album in its entirety.
Fans of North Carolina’s Caleb Caudle‘s will no doubt get the chance to hear tracks from his latest reflective offering Forsythia. The Friday also gives the chance to catch First Time Flyers, Foreign Affairs, Robbie Cavanagh and Jim Lauderdale & The Game Changers.
The Americana Music Association UK will be bringing some acts to the Front Porch stage on Friday, where you’ll be able to catch amongst others Craig Gould, Jeff Cohen, Mikaela Finne and Birmingham’s Gasoline & Matches.
‘Too Country for Rock, Too Rock for Country’ is one of the most apt self styled descriptions for Blackberry Smoke‘s music. Their UK tour earlier this year saw many sell out dates of academy sized venues with little promotion, which reinforces just how much the UK has taken to the Georgia band.
Headlining the Rhinestone Stage on Saturday they’ll be playing a selection of their finest songs spanning the breadth of their 20 year plus career right up to current release Georgia.
Also appearing on the Saturday are a band with an even longer history. Nickel Creek have cut a unique path blending bluegrass with folk rock with vocal harmonies always being a strong feature.
Country purist Margo Price heads over from Nashville for a high profile slot on the Saturday. Her appearance at Long Road Festival will be the only chance for UK fans to catch her outside of a couple of coinciding London dates in support of her new album Strays for which the track ‘Change Of Heart’ has recently won the A2IM Libera award for Best Country Record.
Adding brass to their Americana roots and Jazz, The Dustbowl Revival are sure to offer up something quite unique, Country-pop TikTok sensation Georgia Webster is set for a one off performance and making her way from Austin, Texas as part of a more extensive European tour, Carson McHone and her band are sure to delight with their brand of alternative Americana. If the infectious grooves from The Sheepdogs don’t get you rocking then you can rest assured that there will be medical staff on hand to resuscitate you.
Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse have been putting in the time in the UK recently with festival dates and repeat visits to many venues and are rightfully getting recognised for their sensational live shows. Be sure to catch their set because you can be sure that they’ll make a lasting impression. It’s going to be a difficult choice catching all the bands you want to see with such a selection on offer but Josh Abbot Band, Eddy Smith & The 507 and London based The Hanging Stars will no doubt feature highly on most people’s lists.
Sunday night headliner, Jon Pardi, released his fourth album Mr Saturday Night in September last year. Like all good Country music stories, Pardi’s success came following relocation to Nashville from his native California. Championed for his traditional approach in both music and lyrics, he’s won over many fans. As he says himself, it’s music you can dance to and music you can drink to. We can certainly do with some of that. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be playing his cover of Metallica’s ‘Wherever I May Roam’.
Keeping to the traditional Country style, multi-platinum Texans Eli Young Band have added some UK headline slots to their schedule around their Long Road festival appearance. 20 years in and they have plenty of fan favourites that will keep the crowd’s appetite sated.
Heading down the road from Derby, Kezia Gill is no stranger to The Long Road having played the Introducing Stage in 2019. Since then she’s gone on to win multiple awards (including 3 CMA awards for best album, best song and best entertainer). She is sure to deliver an energy packed set mixing up country blues and rock.
Husband and wife Michael & Tanya Trotter make up The War And Treaty and both possess incredible voices. Their blues-soul-country-rock fusion makes for one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend. Having recently signed their first major record deal with Universal Music Group Nashville, there’s a real sense that the duo are on the verge of a massive breakthrough. Miss them at your peril.
Elsewhere on the Sunday we’re keen to catch Alana Springsteen, Scottish singer-songwriter Roseanne Reid and, heading down from Newcastle, the irrepressible Holy Moly & The Crackers. With all the will in the world you’ll never catch everyone you want to see, but there will always be those acts that you happen upon that you weren’t planning on seeing that end up blowing you away.