'It's a fantastic feeling to be back' - Red Rooster Festival returns at last
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
The Red Rooster Festival is back at last for August bank holiday weekend - bringing the sounds and flavours of America's Deep South to the East Anglian countryside.
Last year's festival sadly had to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions, despite attempts to hold a scaled-down event in September.
But now, after being postponed from a planned June date, the region's leading roots music event is finally set to go ahead, with Covid safety measures in place.
It will be staged from August 27 to 29, amid the rolling parkland and private gardens of historic Euston Hall, on the Suffolk/Norfolk border near Thetford.
Co-founder Harry, Duke of Grafton, can't wait for the return of the event, with its live music, soul food and feelgood atmosphere.
"It's going as well as we could want really at the moment. It's going to be a fantastic feeling that we are finally back," he said.
"I think we did the right thing in moving the date, as many more people are now vaccinated."
Richard Hawley, who was originally due to play Red Rooster in 2020, remains headliner for the Saturday night. Overall, it is a more UK-based line-up than usual, because of the difficulty in getting US and other international acts here.
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There will be performances by 23-year-old singer Jade Bird, an English singer-songwriter strongly influenced by Americana, as well as Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Ida Mae, Ian Siegal, Little Barrie and many more.
""We have a fantastic line-up, after we have had so many difficulties. Richard Hawley is very excited to play here," said Harry Grafton, as he prefers to be known.
"We have got great blues and rock and roll and soul acts, and we have also got great DJs. I am very excited about it.
Harry has a long-time passion for American music. "I grew up listening to jazz with my grandfather on my mother's side, who was a jazz pianist. I have always been a big fan.
"Then I lived in Tennessee for two years in my early 20s and went down to Mississippi while I was there," he said.
His love for country, blues, Cajun music and more has all fed into the creation of the festival, which has grown in popularity and is now returning for the seventh time, after starting in 2014.
""We have been delighted to get such a positive response to our return," Harry said. "I think people are glad to get out, and hopefully they will come along and have a great weekend.
"Besides one of the most exciting music line-ups to-date, there’s lots of activities and fantastic food and drink on offer. I can’t wait to see people having a good time again at Red Rooster."
Harry stressed organisers' determination to ensure the event is safe. "We are being very Covid responsible," he said.
"We will have about 5,000 to 6,000 people over a 300-acre site, so there is plenty of space.
"We are asking everyone to take a lateral flow test, even if they are double-jabbed. There will also be hand sanitiser stations and the loos will be cleaned more regularly." Full details of the lateral flow test requirements are on the festival website.
As well as the wide range of music, there will also be many other activities at Red Rooster. Survival expert Will Lord and his team will present "Prehistoric Experiences", teaching skills from the Stone Age period.
There will be opportunities to try the ancient craft of flint knapping, fire-lighting and natural cordage.
Den building in the woods is another activity on offer, as well as traditional carnival games, tug-of-war, hook a duck, and a Wild West tin-can alley - plus the chance to enjoy a relaxing massage.
There are also events aimed at dogs and their owners, including a doggy agility obstacle course. However, dog numbers are limited and places for pets have already sold out for this year.
The food will include many barbecue recipes. Smoke & Fire Festivals, who are based in East Anglia and run the UK's largest barbecue and outdoor cooking festival in Colchester, are a new partner, and a new "Red Roaster" BBQ Pit arena will be launched this year, with interactive demonstrations.
There will also be soul food of the Deep South and street food, including jambalaya, chowders, smokin’ ribs, burritos, tacos, mac ‘n’ cheese and vegan options, plus bars serving cocktails, beers and bourbons.
Tickets are available for the whole weekend or just for Sunday, which still includes a night of camping.
Festival gates will open at 4pm on Friday, August 27, to give guests who have bought a weekend ticket an extra night, and the event runs through to Sunday night, August 29.
For more information and to book, visit the Red Rooster website.