robyn hitchcock live

Maverick Festival 2016 review

Maverick Festival was a glorious celebration of the diversity and quality of Americana and roots music in an idyllic Suffolk setting. Who needs Glastonbury when the going's this good, asks PRS for Music folk aficionado Michael Hingston.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 5 Jul 2016
  • min read
The ninth Maverick Festival took place in Easton Farm Park, Suffolk, on the weekend right after Glastonbury. Both festivals were on farms, but that’s where the similarities stop, says PRS for Music folk aficionado Michael Hingston.

Maverick Festival is wholeheartedly focused on gutsy country, Americana and roots, where the crowds are friendly and intimate, and there’s no traffic issues or mud.

The artists may not be household names to the general public, but those who are in the know would be mightily impressed by the line-up.

It’s clear festival director Paul Spencer has impeccable taste and a rare knack for combining exciting new acts with talented veterans.

Friday was Canada Day, so the first half of the programme in the Peacock Stage barn had three cracking Canadian singer-songwriters: John Wort Hannam, Christina Martin and Ryan Cook.

The second part of the evening was a tribute to legendary country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers and was hosted by Rodgers expert Britt Gully.

There were acts from New Orleans performing all over the weekend, and a real highlight was their coming together on Saturday night to take over the Moonshine Stage.

But it’s not all about the North American folk tradition: the festival also celebrates the best of British roots.

Homegrown acts this year included a fair few unmissable turns such as pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole, divine duo The Black Feathers, all-female band Dana Immanuel and The Stolen Band, banjo virtuoso Dan Walsh, folk veteran Wizz Jones and the country soul of Yola Carter.

And, among the headliners were two British artists who now live in the US.

Robyn Hitchcock (pictured above), who founded the Soft Boys 40 years ago, performed a clutch of his most idiosyncratic songs along with a Syd Barrett and Neil Young cover.

Elsewhere, Jon Langford, originally from Wales, stole another headline show.

All up, it was a glorious weekend which celebrated the amazing diversity and quality of Americana and roots music both in the UK and overseas.

Throw in great food, real ale and proper loos, and you’ve got yourself an indulgent hoe down.

Who needs Glastonbury Festival when the going’s this good?