I can’t think of a Festival that feels more like a second home than The Long Road Festival does. From the moment you arrive it feels like a family reunion even if you don’t know anyone going. The Long Road just attracts happiness, good times and adoration and everyone is welcome. In fact, I feel that the chorus to Twinnie’s Welcome to the Club should be played upon arrival to heighten those already good feelings.
Welcome to the club, everybody’s here
Grab yourself a drink, let your worries disappear
Jump up on the floor, don’t you wanna dancе?
Roll with the beat, yeah, raisе up your hands
We’re all human
Just doin’, doin’, doin’ what we’re doin’
Having a Country/Americana festival outside makes the atmosphere more alive. Not being confined to assigned seats and just being able to roam freely makes it wonderfully relaxing. The weather of course plays such a big part. You can enjoy yourself more and float from stage to stage, to the bar, to the vendors and more. If you’re camping, it of course makes it much more easy going having the option to go back and have a rest at your tent/campervan too.
What else makes the atmosphere at The Long Road so extraordinary is of course the music. Country and Americana music always bring a united feel and this is because the artists are just as much part of the family as the fans are. Attentive fans would have seen the likes of Ben Earle from The Shires, Sam Palladio and more just wondering around the festival with everyone else and feeling completely comfortable with being approached by fans because they know the fans will treat them with respect.
The artists that The Long Road book are the perfect blend of modern Country/Americana and traditional as well as artists that you would perhaps not necessarily expect there but end up being a highlight for many people. One of those artists were Gangstagrass a hip hop/bluegrass group who are in our opinion more than belonged but took a lot of people by surprise but in the best way.
A highlight of The Long Road is the exceptional Front Porch Stage. Quite possibly one of the most picturesque stages we have ever seen, this stage brings so much ambience and plays host to some of the best artists you will ever see live in an environment that you won’t capture anywhere else. We still remember Andrew Alli blowing our minds away at the first ever Long Road. It’s instrumentalists like him and acoustic sets from fan favourites that really make the whole experience truly captivating.
Rissi Palmer and Colour Me Country had their debut on The Front Porch Stage this year which was so successful that we hope this is going to be an annual thing. It was a beautiful way to bring (as their mission statement says) to the forefront the Black, Indigenous, and Latinx histories of country music that for too long have lived outside the spotlight and off mainstream airwaves.
Artists such as Miko Marks, Camille Parker, Madeline Edwards, Valerie Ponzio, Charly Lowry, and of course Rissi herself brought so much energy to the festival and a highlight for us was Valerie Ponzio.
We were only there for the Saturday this year so we didn’t manage to catch anyone on the Interstate Stage but did on The Front Porch (as mentioned above, Buddy’s Good Time Bar and The Rhinestone.
Morganway delivered a powerful performance at Buddy’s Good Time Bar. Their stunning vocals harmonies soared throughout the festival air attracting a very busy but respectful crowd.
A highlight for us was the incredible Shy Carter. An artist who knows how to work a stage and an audience, Shy had the audience in the palm of his hands with his original material and songs he wrote for artists such as Sugarland, Keith Urban and Charlie Puth. See our full review here.
Priscilla Block brought the party to The Long Road with her charm, wit and inspiring attitude. Songs such as Peaked in High School brought emotions, laughter and a whole lot of crowd singing and Like a Boy brought relatability and even more emotions.
Fan favourite and honorary UK resident Cassadee Pope as always brought an exceptional performance with her unique vocals and beautifully catchy songs. Of course bringing out Sam Palladio to join her on Think of You which she originally sings with Chris Young was a major hit with the crowd. With Chris Young unfortunately having to cancel, Cassadee didn’t want to disappoint fans and made sure we had the best time. See our full review here.
As a family who attend various festivals, The Long Road has one of the safest environments for children and my kids felt right at home. There was disappointment with the absence of the fun fare but having spoken to Baylen across the weekend, he informed me that unfortunately due to covid, the company he uses went bust but he hopes to have a fun fare next year.
Lil’ Possum County was a massive hit with the kids as well as the tree top climbing. My eldest loved playing tug of war with friends he had made and my youngest had a great time with musical instruments and the mud kitchen. There were a lot of things to play with that adults and kids could enjoy together such as racket ball and Corn hole.
As we were only there for the Saturday we only had room to eat once. What we had filled us up so much that we didn’t check out more than one vendor. We had food from Texas Smoker and we definitely think we made the right choice. Brisket smoked for over 48 hours, we had some delicious food such as the brisket, Pulled Pork Stack and a Chilli Burger. The loaded fries with brisket also looked amazing. The food was succulent, tender and full of flavour. We highly recommend them and hope to see them at The Long Road next year. Check out our full review here.
Whilst it was sad that Chris Young cancelled, Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives more than delivered as headliners (from what we were told) and brought out guests such as UK sensation Kezia Gill, Andrew Combs and Sunny Sweeney. The movement of Brandy Clark from The Interstate stage to the main Rhinestone stage was also a welcomed change as her popularity would have made it difficult for everyone to see her on the Interstate.
I personally didn’t miss the Honky Tong Stage that much as I always found it difficult to find space in there and as media, we are running around so much we don’t really get a chance to queue so I am all for more open aired stages. However, I did miss the beauty of it.
Overall, the weekend was amazing and is quite frankly one of the best music festivals in the world. Everything from the music, the staging, the attendees, the drink, the food, the activities make it so and we already miss it.
Bring on 2023.