Everyone at Red Rooster provided us all with another tremendous weekend of good vibes with wonderful music across several stages and a good choice of food on site which was almost enough to make us forget the poor weather during Thursday and Friday, I’m not sure I have ever been so cold in June but at least it stayed dry and the weather belatedly got into the festival spirit on the Saturday providing us with one day of glorious warm sunshine.
Thursday was Norwich night with Jug Jaw’s Beat Club curating music on the main stage and Paul Mills (and damaged foot!) compering it, starting with a blistering set from Dove and Boweevil featuring guest appearances from Henry Greenwood and Yve Mary B. We had a beautiful set from The Arlenes, both Steve and Stephanie with the band consisting of Tom Eagle on drums plus Jose, Joe, Noel and Ali from The Vagaband. It was great to hear a full set so as to hear some songs not often performed live. Steve also dj’d a couple of times in the new woodland speakeasy club whilst Jose also played on Saturday morning in a pared back Vagaband and on the Sunday with Noel in a gremlin infested set with the Jess Morgan Trio on the Little Red Rooster stage. With noise-bleed from the nearby main stage and the power cutting out several times the trio carried on playing regardless and the crowd simply moved forward en-masse to the front of the stage making for an unexpectedly intimate set which was quite beautiful and unifying. Jose was on electric bass so during the power failures went and helped sort out the generator.
Back to the Thursday night we had the launch and first official performance from Ida Mae consisting of course of Chris and Steph. They looked and sounded fantastic with their obvious chemistry and the right balance between raw emotion and passion and musical expertise, they were dynamite. Their set segued into that of Lank Smith and the Pythons when they were joined by Hello Bear for another outstanding and powerful set which must have impressed all those experiencing the Jug Jaw’s vibe we know and love for the first time. The atmosphere suggested as much.
There were so many musical highlights over the weekend that I don’t think I can list them all. Recent visitors to Norwich with Nikki Lane and Robert Chaney Hope in High Water travelled up from Milton Keynes early in the morning for their 11am start on the Little Red Rooster stage and were an absolute delight. Great to hear them properly and I hope we’ll see them back in the fine city again soon, I know that Grapevine Steve was impressed, as I thought he would be.
Hope in High Water
I also really enjoyed Charlotte Carpenter – twice, both solo and the following day with her band – a sort of Pj Harvey meets Emiliana Torrini vibe, the returning Lucy Kitt, The Georgia Shackleton Trio, John Fairhurst, Rory Hill, and on the main stage The Handsome Family, James Leg, Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra, Tav Falco & Panther Burns, Daddy Longlegs, Sister Cookie to name just a few of my highlights along with dj sets from Dj78 and Hank Jd Sleek, recently returned from Nashville, Memphis et al.
The grounds are beautiful, the vibe is friendly, relaxed and safe, there were loads of familiar faces from Norwich there (only half an hour away) and this year there were plentiful loos with barely any queuing, just the right amount of food outlets and with reasonable prices. Despite the southern barbecue theme to the festival I got the vast majority of my meals from the lovely veggie stall who did beautiful jambalaya, chillis, and even egg rolls.
Red Rooster has definitely become my favourite festival and goes from strength to strength. Refreshingly relaxed and free from corporate greed it is kids and dogs friendly and best of all has a fantastic line up of music. The Little Red Rooster stage is a chilled area where the music is acoustic folk, blues, gospel, and country by and large whereas the more powerful main stage PA caters for the electric and loud with Saturday being the punk rock blues day and was just that. Gloriously energetic, powerful and primal. Daddy Long Legs’ arrival on the stage was unforgettable.
Thank you Red Rooster. ‘Til next year!
Huge thanks to all at Red Rooster, Rupert Orton, Jonty, James Brennan, and Karen.
all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2016