Roots music festival rocks farm park

THE best and brightest in roots music from both sides of the Atlantic have descended on Easton Farm Park for the third Maverick Festival.

The alt-country event offers everything from country, blues and gospel to rockabilly, rock and roll and early bluegrass.

“The biggest baggage for an event like this is the concept people have of what country music might represent, it has a sort of connotation that appeals to some and not others; sadly I think it can scare people away,” says organser Paul Spencer. “Roots music has a lot to offer and can’t be easily categorised, we aim to prove people’s preconceptions are false.”

New this year is the Saturday only day pass which is designed to reach another part of the population that won’t commit to a whole weekend because they’re still nervous about what they might find.

Taking its lead from events such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, there’s plenty happening over the three days.

As well as performances across three stages, there will be music documentaries, workshops and question and answer sessions with musicians including Squeeze’s Chris Difford who will also perform.

There’s also the chance for aspiring acts to take the stage for the chance to play a full set at next year’s festival as well the park’s usual attractions plus regional ales, cider, lager and ice cream. Paul and his team have transformed one of the barns into the Peacock Cafe, in homage to Nashville’s Bluebird Caf�. It will host intimate, acoustic guitar performances from four performers who have or are due to appear at the famous venue.

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For camping with a difference, there’s even a traditional native American tepee village and Lakota Sioux Deanna Shunkaha Wannagiwin will be performing the opening invocation on the Maverick stage as well as telling stories and playing the flute.

First and foremost, Paul’s a fan and only approaches acts he likes and knows are right for the festival. Highlights this year include Danny and the Champions of the World – whom he thinks could be the next big crossover act – Rayburn Anthony, a contemporary of Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash, Chris Scruggs, the grandson of probably the most famous banjo player ever Earl Scruggs; and Hank Wangford.

“He’s making an overdue appearance, he’s been playing sort of slightly alternative country music for over 30 years and took his name from a Suffolk village so he very much belongs at the festival,” adds Paul.

“I tried to get him last year had some scheduling conflicts. It’s a real treat for those here tonight to see Hank with his full five-piece band and tickets for tonight only are also available at the box office.”

Another exciting addition is Suffolk resident Thomas Dolby, who’s assembling a band especially for Maverick which will be very different to his 80s electronica.

The Maverick Festival 2010 runs until July 4. For more info visit