When you use the term ‘maverick’ in your festival title, the challenge is to continually update what you have to offer and seek which barriers are there for stretching. Of course this hasn’t been too difficult for the first eight years of the Maverick Festival and the ninth annual gathering of roots music fans in the Suffolk countryside over the first weekend in July is set to be no different. In the wake of several strategic leaks during the course of March culminating in an official press launch on the day before Easter, the picture is now becoming clearer on what to expect if you venture down to Easton Farm Park for the mixture of great ambience, marvellous music, fine food and drink, and historically – good weather!.
|Paul & Jamie from Los Pacamonos|
The beautiful rustic location is a draw for committed and casual fans alike, along with the laid back feel, ease of access within the site and a guarantee that all attendees will be catered for from kids to the music aficionado. The latter will no doubt be thrilled that one of the pioneering artists of country music is getting honoured on the Friday evening with a programme of classic Jimmie Rodgers songs being presented by several esteemed guests. Not exactly your usual local tribute show, but then again, this is ‘Maverick’. Over the last couple of years, the state of Alabama has been celebrated along with the fiftieth anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival when Dylan went electric. Plans are also underway to commemorate Canada Day on July 1st, while in the past the festival has handed over part scheduling to operations like Clubhouse Records and the Americana Music Association (UK).
However let’s not delay any further introducing some of the names lined up to appear over the weekend at Maverick 2016. Definitely coming in at left field, providing a home grown focus and one to whom we had a sneak preview last year is the prolific UK cult singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock. While on the theme of British acts, one undoubtedly steeped in an Americana sound, is the highly contagious Los Pacaminos – co-led by Paul Young who proves that a life outside the Top 40 and retro circles can be totally enriched. Having seen their raucous brand of late night Tequila-fuelled accomplished yet moderately chaotic Tex Mex on several occasions, Maverick folks are in for a treat. The other artist who raised eyebrows with his announcement on launch night was Sam Outlaw. If it’s considered a meteoric rise from relative UK obscurity to Maverick headliner in barely six months for this Californian, the answer lies in the fabulous album Angeleno and eye witness accounts of those who saw him support Aaron Watson in January. By the time of his Maverick appointment, Sam will have had another UK tour under his belt and those eye witness accounts will have significantly grown.
With approaching twenty artists named so far, of which the majority are now confirmed on the festival line up web page, there is the usual mix of the familiar and the ones that you know will be in the future. Four of the solo female performers listed, distinctly fall into two camps. Hannah Aldridge and Debbie Bond are festival returnees; in fact it will be Hannah’s third time, hopefully with her new record in tow. Amelia White and Barbara Nesbitt are both Maverick debutants. Amelia has had her last two albums promoted over here and it is good to see her follow up the 2016 release with a UK trip. Meanwhile trawling back through some of Barbara’s work has added to the anticipation of hopefully catching her live in July.
Skipping across the genders for a moment, three names caught the eye and represent a fairly lengthy generational divide. Robert Vincent is a singer-songwriter tipped for big things, while it has probably been a long time since legendary British guitarist Wiz Jones has had that tag. Jon Langford, famous for his work with The Mekons and Waco Brothers, bridges the pair generation-wise and as well as playing a set will also have his artwork exhibited. Of course all have their roots in the British Isles, in contrast to Canadian Ryan Cook and Luke Winslow who will be bringing a New Orleans spice to Maverick this year. Two fully fledged bands crossing the Atlantic to play the festival this year represent the bluegrass/old time/ roots side to the wares on display with The Hackensaw Boys and The Sultans of String following in the fine footsteps of many like minded acts to have played one of the festival’s indoor and outdoor stages over the previous eight years.
All artists mentioned in this preview are listed on the festival’s website at the time of publish and with still three months to go before many hardened music fans descend on Suffolk, there is the possibility of these names being subject to change. Likewise there should be a host of other names added to the list to keep the stages ticking over from Friday teatime until a cessation of the good time fun on Sunday afternoon. Maverick continues to be one of the most cost effective weekends of the year and will still hold its own even as more expensive alternative events muscle their way onto the scene.
Look out for more information in the run up to the festival in the usual published sources and the ever connective and instant world of social media.
Weekend ticket with admission to all stages and includes up to TWO nights camping FRIDAY and SATURDAY
Weekend ticket with admission to all stages No Camping
Day ticket, Saturday only
Friday night only
Holy Roller £20.00