Maverick Festival Launch, Gibson Guitar Studios, 27th March 2019

The launch for this year’s Maverick festival, whose 2019 roster was recently announced on this website here, was again held at Gibson’s Guitar Studios in London’s West End. The overview for the 12th gathering in early July in the bucolic pastures of Easton Park Farm in Suffolk was provided by the festival’s founder and long-term director, Paul Spencer. Outlining the goodies to dip into this year, he flagged up that bluegrass and Cajun themes will be given some emphasis. He reminded us that key sponsors such as Southern Comfort and One Drop (carbon neutral mineral water) enable the festival to ‘punch above its weight’. Both beverages were available for guests and one option was accepted particularly merrily.

Along with the announcements, we were treated to some music. The first to play was Jason Ringenberg, warming up for his gig at Leytonstone later that evening. He’s in the midst of a small UK tour majoring on his new album – his first for many years – ‘Stand Tall’ which has had some cracking reviews. Tracks such as ‘God Bless The Ramones’ and the highly contrasting ‘John The Baptist Was A Real Humdinger’ showed that this pioneer of the genre in its modern form, with his band The Scorchers big hitters in the mid to late 1980s in particular, has his muse restored.  He was followed by Dana Immanuel and the Stolen Band, a visually arresting all-female quintet who cook up a high octane yet highly polished melange of bluegrass, Cajun, country and even jazz. They put the Bohemia into Americana, with the strings of Immanuel’s banjo plus electric guitar, violin and double bass, interplaying to compelling foot-tapping leg-shaking effect. They will be playing a full set at Maverick.

As a previous partaker, the Festival comes highly recommended. This year includes such international luminaries as, Don Gallardo, Muscle Shoals’ Hannah Aldridge, the Black Feathers, and Lachlan Bryan and the Wyldes with Imogen Clark, from Australia, who played tremendously at Maverick last year. Also on the bill is the celebrated comedian-cum-musician Rich Hall. Hall is linked to a sub-theme this year of protest songs which Spencer revealed to us within minutes of Theresa May announcing her plans to resign. If you like this website, Maverick Festival has you in its sights.

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