Now I’ve recovered from sleeping on the floor for 3 nights and I’ve washed off 4 days worth of earth, booze and sweat, it’s time to tell you all about one of the best weekends of the year - 2023’s Long Road Festival!
TLR is one of my favourite weekends of the entire year, apart from the portaloos, everything is pretty darn right perfect. The line up is always bang on, there are always lesser known artists to discover and some more well known favourites. The whole vibe and the rustic, western decor makes the festival feel very unique. The food is literally to die for and with so many options, its impossible to try everything. Last but certainly not least, the people, not only the attendees and my friends but the organisers and everyone behind the scenes. The people surrounding this festival are so special and that is truly, in my opinion, what makes this weekend and festival so incredibly special.
Right, so now it’s time to tell you some of my highlights of the weekend.
Let’s start with the music, as that is why we all gather. After the initial disappointment of the cancellation of Jon Pardi, I was super excited to see so many artists and did think 2023’s line up was the best yet. My ultimate standouts were Jackson Dean and Cam.
I saw Jackson Dean a few months ago at the Royal Albert Hall, not knowing anything about him or his music and he blew me away then, but after this weekend I am well and truly addicted. The first song that attracted me was ‘Heaven to Betsy’, the beautifully harmonic chorus literally stops me in my tracks, then introducing that 4 to the floor drum beat, it’s epic in my opinion.
How could I write a highlights piece without mentioning Cam? Not only did she save the day after Pardi’s cancellation but her authenticity shone so brightly and it was so clear how overjoyed she was to be there. In my truthful opinion, even though Pardi would have put on one hell of a show and a proper party… or ‘Pardi’, it couldn’t have even touched how good Cam’s set was. With a healthy balance of slow and up beat songs and her genuine talent for storytelling in her songwriting and just in the way she speaks her stories, I think Cam is a spectacular artist. Her set this year, I think may have been my favourite Long Road moment ever. All of my friends gathered together to watch and we literally had the time of our lives, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall watching us, as it would have been enough to make anyone smile - it was outstanding for me.
Ok, shall we talk food?!? YES, of course we shall! Now, I am disappointed in my ability to get around the food stalls this year, but what I did try was delicious. My festival go to is always Mac and Cheese, so that’s always the first thing I hunt down. BBQ Smokehouse was where I found the Mac and Cheese this year and it definitely didn’t disappoint, with a dollop of coleslaw to finish it off, this certainly was a popular choice with many of my friends. I think my favourite of the weekend though was the katsu curry from The Japanese Street Food Place. I actually went there twice and had the katsu twice, the chicken and the pumpkin, both were delicious and I couldn’t chose a favourite. It baffled me how the food was so fresh when they basically just had a van as a set up in the middle of a field, but I mean what do I know. The staff at this stall were also very lovely and gave you deals on gyozas, so inevitably I ate a lot of gyozas over the weekend.
To end my highlights, I want to talk about some of personal favourite memories. As I mentioned earlier, Cam was a definitely a highlight, specifically when she sang Diane for the second time, I think my friends and I completely lost it, you can see a video right here, if you so wish!
Also, something I absolutely loved this year, was setting up our camp. My friend Lu and I used team work to the max and had both of our tents up within the hour, it felt very satisfying. I loved how everyone was setting up their little home for the weekend, cracking open a cider… and another cider whilst reuniting with friends, cranking the tunes and getting ready for our first night. You could feel the excitement, not only amongst out little camp, but amongst the surrounding camps. My heart felt extremely full.
TLR is always a fantastic weekend with friends, great music, and most of the time great weather, but even this year, with a slight spattering of rain, it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. The way country fans come together for this festival and purely love the music, is one of my biggest honours to be a part of. I love being welcomed home by The Long Road Festival year after year, I already can’t wait til 2024.
All my love and magic,