Whether the weather is ready or not, festival season is here. On cue colleagues are jostling over annual leave for Glastonbury or Benicàssim and Fridays are becoming ghost towns. As a British country music fan, the few festival experiences I’ve had have usually involved abandoning pals and venturing way past the portaloos to sniff out the smaller stages in hopes of the odd steel guitar, but the times here are changing.

This year there’s a rise in festivals dedicated to the storyteller songwriters, emotive harmonies and instrumental wizardry that country music has to offer.

London's going country...
London’s going country…

1. THE BIG ONE:

Buckle & Boots, Greater Manchester, 24-26 June 2016

A line-up which proves we don’t have to sit rocking in a corner, counting down the days till the next spring’s C2C festival. This festival features loads of the best live performers from this side of the Atlantic (Ward Thomas, Dexeter, Gary Quinn, Megan O’Neill…) many of whom we’ve seen on C2C pop-up stages. Alongside these local favourites, Phil Vassar (if you don’t know the name, you’ll know the songs) and Jess and the Bandits will be no doubt putting on amazing shows.

 Where: Whitebottom Farm, Etherow Country Park, Compstall, Stockport SK6 5HZ

Tickets: From £20, camping available.

More information: Click Here

Buckle boots logo

2. THE ESTABLISHED ONE:

Maverick Festival, Suffolk, 1-3 July 2016

An intimate family/dog-friendly event that’s now a staple on the Roots music scene (So don’t expect pop country). This is a small but reportedly perfectly-formed celebration of contemporary troubadours, including Sam Outlaw.

Where: Easton Farm Park, Easton, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 0EQ

Tickets: From £20 (child tickets available and children under 10 go for free)

More information: Click Here

 

3. THE UNLIKELY ONE:

The Lakes Festival, Lincolnshire, 16 July 2016

It’s in a caravan park in Skegness and isn’t strictly a country music festival. Still, with The Shires headlining plus Jess & the Bandits supporting, let’s not judge…

Where: Sycamore lakes Park, Skegness Road, Burgh le Marsh, Lincolnshire, PE24 5LN

Tickets: From £23

More information: Click Here

 

4. THE MUSIC BOFFIN’S ONE:

SummerTyne Americana Festival, Tyne and Wear, 22-24 July 2016

There’s an inspirational blend of all types of music; Country and Western. Just kidding, we’re not that narrow-minded, there’s also bluegrass, folk, new country and rockabilly…  Classic talents like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gretchen Peters and Union Station’s Ron Block share the bill with new acts like Striking Matches and Ward Thomas. Combined with the promise of good ol’ homestyle food, I’m expecting this one to be both finger pickin’ and finger lickin’ good.

Where:  Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, NE8 2JR

Tickets: Separate for each event; some events free.

More information: Click Here

SummerTyne Americana Festival
SummerTyne Americana Festival

5. THE CITY ONE:

Nashville Meets London, London, 13-14 August 2016

Two days of cowboy boots replacing the usual suits in Canary Wharf’s Canada Square Park and it’s completely free (so arrive early). The full line-up is yet to be announced, but already there are a few Nashville acts plus our favourites The Pauper Kings (the brilliant Brit lads who toured with Brett Eldrege back in February) so I’m already packing my picnic.

Where:  Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AH

Tickets: Free! (But first come, first served)

More information: Click Here

Nashville Meets London
Nashville Meets London

I know that Glastonbury has long been throwing us bones, from Dolly Parton and Kacey Musgraves last year, to The Shires this year, but these are just a selection of events where the crowds spilling their cider on you will at least be musically like-minded. We’ve not been to them all ourselves but judging by the line-ups – from Jess and the Bandits to Mary Chapin Carpenter – it’s a good time to be a country fan in the UK.

By @CheryTwee for @UKCountryBlog