First, sorry it's a bit late. I know, Americana was four weeks ago but I've been insanely busy with work these past few weeks. Second, sorry there's not as many photos this time. If you want to see more pics, visit their website or FB page.
So, what was it like? Well, some bits were great and some bits were ok but to me it felt a bit lack-lustre. Not a classic Americana experience compared to earlier years. Why? Several reasons which I'll go into.
It must be said that the Jackson team did learn from last years mistakes for this year things were set closer together. Not so much slogging around the very large site required but still lots of space to spread out events. Unfortunately the space wasn't needed that much as visitor numbers were very low. How low I don't know but at one point I looked around the main stage area and wondered aloud, 'Where is everybody?' Apart from a handful of die-hards on lawn chairs, it looked deserted. Actually they were all in the marquee for one of the more popular rockabilly groups and that sums it up. When most of the clientele can fit in the smaller stage one area you've got a problem. And it wasn't just the music lovers that were missing. A lot of American car displays and the Harley-Davidson bikers were also absent. And with them went a lot of the atmosphere for this is a car show first and foremost.
One thing I am pleased to report is that the stage one marquee was double the size of last years big top making it a more comfortable affair. Also, the bar was in a seperate tent outside the two marquee stages. A good bar it was too with an excellent range of real ales. At the other end of the beer tent was a smaller marquee that was intended to be stage two. For some reason stage two never got active although most of the artists destined for stage two did get a showing at the other stages throughout the weekend.
Hayley and Harley
One of the musical highlights of the festival was the Sunday morning tribute to George Hamilton IV. George IV was a frequent visitor to the Americana over the years. Moreover he was a true gentleman beloved by all who met him. Hosted by George 'hege' Hamilton V, the tribute included performances by some of those who had played for him, featuring Sandy Kelly who toured with him for years. David Allan and Tony Byworth were among the non performers who also delivered eulogies.
As can be seen, the Hayley Oliver band played. to the left and out of camera shot is the rest of her band which includes forummer Hitman on bass. The lineups this year relied on mostly on the return of firm festival favourites. The same can be said of the rockabilly bands. Perennial performer, Raymond Froggatt delivered a particularly sparkling and on occasion, genuinely moving performance. Root'n Toot'n closed the festival in true party style.
Now for the contentious part. The burlesque was back. So what? Well, it was put on in stage one in between the rockabilly bands at a time when the marquee was still full of children. No attempt was made to make it a 18+ show. I could be wrong but I think Loony Chris looked at the situation, realised there was absolutely no way of clearing the marquee of youngsters and just thought, 'What the heck ...' and went ahead with it. I'm no prude, I appreciate the female form as much as the next man but burlesque is just stripping with fancier costumes, isn't it? When you've got a situation where there's lots of kids, some little more than tots crowded on the dance floor in front of the stage where the girls and one guy are taking their clothes off, some one has to raise a hand and say, 'Hang on, this isn't right.' By all means, have a burlesque show. But let's have it after hours when the kids have all cleared off back to the campsite.
So there it is. Not as positive a review as I'd have liked to write. I hope 2016 sees a return to it's former glories. To finish on a bright note; if there was a prize for best suit of the festival, it would surely go to Curly.