Confession. My cowboy boots (all five pairs) have barely touched grass. In the words of Randy Houser, I was ‘raised on an asphalt farm, ain’t never heard a rooster crow’. But that is about to change with the sudden brilliant increase in UK country music festivals. Whether you’re looking for rowdy new country or intimate and acoustic, our home-ground selection has got you covered. So if (also in the words of Randy Houser) you’d like to know ‘How Country Feels’, this summer you won’t need to go very far.

1. THE SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED ONE:

Ramblin’ Roots Review, High Wycombe, 7-9 April 2017

Ramblin Poster
Local Rebellion Brewery are getting in on the action at Ramblin’ Roots Review

A Buckinghamshire Student’s Union seems an unlikely setting for an Americana festival worth mentioning. But the discerning line up includes ‘watch this space’ break out artist Yola Carter, haunting songwriter Hannah Rose Platt, traditionalist Case Hardin, and country duo Loud Mountains. Plus there’s a pie eating competition, so, y’know…

Where: Bucks Students’ Union, Queen Alexandra Road, High Wycombe, HP11 2JZ

Tickets: From £12.

More information: Click Here

 

2. THE EARTHY ONE:

Red Rooster, Suffolk, 1-3 June 2017

RED ROOSTER WIDE
A Splendidly English Americana affair, Red Rooster Festival

They’ve got both kinds of music here, country and Western… Actually, they’ve got the full spectrum of roots music, though I’d make the trip solely for The Wandering Hearts (the incredible North London alt country band who supported Brothers Osborne this year). It’s also worth catching old soul in a young body, Texan Cale Tyson and the ethereal Danni Nicholls. The festival, set in the grounds of a stately home, is now in its 4th year and looks like it attracts a mix of hillbillies, hippies and hipsters. And adorable babies, like the one pictured above.

Where: Euston Hall, Euston, Suffolk IP24 2QW

Tickets: From £35 including camping.

More information: Click Here

 

3. THE GROWING ONE:

Buckle & Boots, Greater Manchester, 23-25 June 2017

B&B Sonia Leigh
Sonia Leigh enjoying some downtime at Buckle and Boots Festival

Last year’s inaugural festival was clearly a success as they’re back for another three days in the Cheshire countryside, once again with a lot of homegrown talent and a smattering of international acts. While the line up aren’t names you’d necessarily see at the top of the Billboard chart (yet), the eclectic mix is chocked with bands and artists who’ve proved their credentials and won’t disappoint. I’d make a beeline to see the rocky Sonia Leigh (who’s penned hits for Zac Brown Band), the powerhouse that is Jess and the Bandits and the serene Sarah Darling. I’m also curious to see top-billed Australian country singer Morgan Evans live, since I’d heard about his personal life (he’s engaged to Kelsea Ballerini) long before I’d heard his music.

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

Tickets: From £20, camping available.

More information: Click Here

 

4. THE FIDDLY ONE:

Beer and Bluegrass Festival, Dorset, 21-22 July 2017

Bluegrass Kentucky-Cow-Tippers---UK
Kentucky Cow Tippers, Beer and Bluegrass Festival

Beer? Bluegrass? Something a bit different to all the contemporary country music on this list but if it does what it says on the tin, surely this can’t be a bad idea.

Where: Victoria School and Gardens, Branksome, Poole BH13 6AS

Tickets: From £14 and include a festival glass and programme.

More information: Click Here

 

5. THE FREE ONE:

Nashville Meets London, London, 22-23 July 2017

Country in The City, Nashville Meets London

I went along last year for the first one of its kind, accompanied by a posse of non-country fan friends who were unsure what to expect but willing to experiment because it was free. This festival introduced us to new music we’re still listening to, including the inimitable Yola Carter who stole the show. The line-up’s yet to be announced but with DJ Baylen Leonard (Radio 2 / Chris Country) consulting on the music, we’ve got high hopes.

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

Tickets: Free! (But first come, first served and it got pretty full)

More information: Keep and eye on our social media and the Canary Wharf website.

 

6. THE SHINY NEW ONE:

Harvest Festival, Northern Ireland and Ireland, 26-27 August 2017

New kid on the block with epic headliners

If you want to make a splash as the new festival on the scene, this is how to do it: book Miranda Lambert, Kip Moore, The Shires, Nathan Carter and Ward Thomas, plus promise a food village, glamping options and dedicated dancing time between sets. Well played Harvest Festival, well played.

Where: Enniskillen Airport, Country Fermanagh, N.I. / Westport House, Country Mayo, Ireland

Tickets: From £120 for weekend passes, additional for camping.

More information: Click Here

 

7. THE LONGSTANDING ONE:

Millport Country Music Festival, Isle of Cumbrae, 1-3 September 2017

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Cumbrae’s going country… [pic by CP Kelly]
This one’s been going since 1995, the year my country music addiction blossomed – which, not entirely coincidentally, is also the year New Kids on the Block fell apart. The Shires will be representing the home team while from the USA it’s 1990s country star Mark Chesnutt whose repertoire will suit Tim McGraw fans. Mark’s song I Just Wanted You to Know is one of my all time favourite country songs (it’s a long list) though I’d advise you not to listen to She Was if you’re feeling fragile.

Where: Millport, Isle of Great Cumbrae, Firth of Clyde in the West of Scotland, KA28 0LH

Tickets: From £5 though for main concerts, from £39

More information: Click Here

 

7.5. THE NOT ACTUALLY A MUSIC FESTIVAL ONE:

Woodfest Wales, North Wales, 29-30 July 2017

Woodfest carving
I’m going down, I’m yelling Timber… Woodfest Wales.

As a little Brucey Bonus, this festival of timber sports feels like an event you might see ‘Only in America’. In a North Wales fowls, there’ll be chainsaw carving, pile claiming contests and the strangly compelling lumberjack championships. There’s also a music portion to the event, Woodfest Rocks, but the bands are yet to be revealed.

Where: Caerwys, North Wales, CH7 5BP

Tickets: From £12 (additional for Woodfest Rocks)

More information: Click Here

 

For more choices, like the long running Maverick Festival, or Newcastle’s SummerTyne check out last year’s selection.

Please let us know below if there are any country music festivals you’d recommend.

CJ