The moment I walked through the Easton Farm Park gates on 4 July with the familiar Maverick sign above them I knew it was going to be another great festival. Having been to Maverick for the first time in 2013 I had come to expect excellent live sets, friendly folks and yummy food all with a backdrop of grazing horses and bleating goats. This year was another winner! After catching a few songs by Irish-Cornish duo Winter Mountain at the Barn, I started the Friday night at the Moonshine Bar, the festival’s most intimate venue, as had become tradition since last year. It was decked out with all sorts of country saloon paraphernalia making it look more like a Maverick version of the Grand Old Opry than the Suffolk countryside. All three acts were new to me and they didn’t disappoint. First up was Jacob Navarro (Seattle), followed by Thom Chacon (Colorado) and Don Gallardo (Nashville). I then headed back to the Barn (sadly missing House of Hats, who got thumbs up from others) to catch the very danceable Police Dog Hogan. Last up on stage that night were Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, whose sound certainly left an impression (even though the giant pigs next door to the stage didn’t seem too fazed).
After having basked in glorious sunshine all day on Friday we woke up in our tents on Saturday morning to the sound of raindrops hitting the canvas. Taking one look at the upcoming programme for the day was more than enough to put a smile on my face though. Luckily, the spacious cafe shed with indoor playground opposite the main Barn stage was open for breakfast from 8am and the rest of the morning was spent exploring the many animal pens around the farm. Getting around all the adorable furries took quite some time. There were two three-week old baby donkeys, goats everywhere you looked, huge Suffolk Punch horses, giant and not so giant pigs and piglets, several dozens of fluffy rabbits, some just two days old, lamas, cows and chickens.
The day’s musical proceedings started for me with M.C. Hansen and band on the outdoor Sweet Home Alabama stage hailing from Denmark, who I happened to have seen live at Literaturhaus in Copenhagen just a few weeks earlier. As a rain shower hit the front of the stage, the three of them sang a song for us acapella while the tech crew worked on moving their gear out of the rain. There was so much on at the same time that it was impossible not to miss a few good bands. I spent most of the afternoon sampling various acts including Peter Bradley Adams (Alabama), The Mae Trio (Australia), Massy Ferguson (Seattle) and the always fab Danny & the Champions of the World. Saturday night at the Barn was pretty much a dream line-up: Hannah Aldridge (originally from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, now Nashville), Holly Williams (granddaughter of Hank Williams), Mary Gauthier (Nashville) and Larkin Poe (Georgia). At different stages in their respective careers, each of them had a repertoire that surprised, delighted and kept our toes tapping until the very last song.
As it was raining partly pretty heavily on Sunday morning things started out fairly slow. Everyone huddled around the coffee stalls discussing their favourites and petting some of the many friendly dogs (one of the few festivals which allow them, yet another plus as far as I’m concerned). Today’s line-up wasn’t too long. I returned to the Moonshine Bar to see Dan Beaulaurier (California, currently London) with The Hallelujah Trails, which turned out to be a fun set in a lovely dry venue (not to be underestimated). Afterwards it was time for The Henry Brothers (aka murder ballads central), April Maze and, finally, The New Essex Blue Grass Band before the happy tent got taken down again and it was time to say goodbye to the bunnies, goats and baby donkeys for another year. Having been to Maverick twice now, there is absolutely no doubt that it stands for quality Americana music with a friendly vibe in a beautiful countryside location. What’s not to love? If you’re reading this I hope you enjoyed Maverick this year as much as I did and/or are considering joining us for 2015, see you then!
P.S. I really liked the nifty little festival programme that is one of the best I’ve come across (and that is quite a few) and the addition of Leon’s veggie food stall this year (hurrah for healthy dinners). Personally, I would love the festival to be three full days in order to be able to catch more of the acts, who all seemed excellent.
For videos of the bands who performed at Maverick this year check out the lifeisafestival youtube channel.