Maverick Festival, East Farm Park, Suffolk. 1-2-3 July 2016
Maverick Festival East Farm Park, Suffolk 1-2-3 July 2016
The thing about Maverick is that it’s the best weekend of the year, best music, best venue, best people, best vibe, best everything. For 9 year years solidly banging away, just being ace, putting the best bands nobody has heard of on, in a place miles from anywhere. It’s the festival yardstick, you will hear it; “how was festival X”? “Oh great yeah, I mean its not Maverick but great”. It is charming, always good weather, lovely food, child friendly, chilled relaxed atmosphere, great beer, and just some of the best bands, playing the best you will see.
This years line up was probably not as strong as previously and I know behind the scenes there had been some difficulties over fees and some last minute changes, but I love the multi appearance, multi stage approach that means you never have to miss anybody. I guess the festival has such high standards it always is going to be compared to its previous monster achievements, it was my favourite year yet – just based on the performances.
Friday I pick up Dana Immanuel and the Stolen Band, whose raucous party tunes are a great way to ease yourself into the festivities, the truly wonderful Christina Martin and Dale Murray, roundly acknowledged as one of the best performers of the entire weekend, sassy, sexy and some truly inventive and wow factor guitar playing, you got 3 chances to see Martin, I took them all after this performance. The day was rounded off for me with The Hackensaw Boys, it’s a great record, and live its ratchets up another 3-4 levels, wild stomping stuff, been around in one form or another and it shows, hot and sweaty and happy is what they left us. Headline/show closer whatever you want to call it we trudged of to our tents with the Blues, courtesy of Luke Winslow King, rocking blues, a sonic guitar attack. Not normally my thing but the curator for the festival pitched this just right, an amazing show and a brilliant end to the day, plus he came off the stage and gave my lad his pick and signed set list at the end – one happy camper!
Saturday, what a Pandora’s box, so many treats, I was really looking forward to Massy Ferguson on the outdoor stage, their power pop country ripped the day up and after the show signed CD in hand I fawned like a teenage star struck pop fan, top band. Pete Bruntnell was what you expect, mercurial, majestic and most of all shows why he is both popular and the leader of the UK Americana pack. Later when I bumped in to him he was very animated about the Welsh football score too. Lynne Hanson, as a trio was on sparkling form, slightly sinister, brooding and full of tales of dark places and deeds done bad, her murder ballads and red dirt tunes going down as an epiphany for the audience. Special mentions too for Hannah Aldridge, she can rock any joint with some loud guitar and the voice that comes from the other side, always a class act. But the day belonged to the Moonshine Bar stage opener Dan Webster, with double bass and cello, his roots / folk set was the calamine lotion to a day spent crisping up in the sun, the room was packed, spilling out to the picnic tables outside. A blend of gentle folkier tunes, amazing cello that brings some depth and warmth to his voice, a real find and the 80-100 crammed in to catch him on the smallest stage got a Maverick highlight, surely he’ll be back bigger next time, and not just as Amelia White’s side man.
Sunday, is the best and the saddest day at Maverick, worn out, unshowered, over beered, sunburnt you never want to go home, you want to live in a world of Maverick, but the wound down atmosphere, the post party come down always makes for some of the best performance you will see. This year was my best Sunday ever! From the Rabble Chorus gospel start to the day, a Maverick tradition to a truly awesome, and not be shy about this, awesome set of beautifully crafted, subtle, charming tunes from John Wort Hannam (his CD’s were played for 4 hours all the way home), and the jumpy rockin’ set from Wild Ponies to close up the show it was all good, all the time. The set from Amelia White, the Sunday morning sun fried come down tunes matching the mood made it. White’s latest album Home Sweet Hotel has been getting some heavy rotation in my house hold, and live the joy just come leaking through. She’s a terrific performer, and her ease with the crowd in this low key laid back situation – it was made for her.
So what did we learn, well Maverick, if only for one weekend of the year is the best place on the planet, that it can heal your soul, make the world a better place. We learnt that I really do love Sam Outlaw, that his album is brilliant, his band are brilliant, and he’s a nice guy – plus live he can really cut it. We also know that’s it roughly only 360 days till next year.
- Event Website Venue Website