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As I walked away from the bright lights of the Long Road festival in August 2022 and back towards my car I had two thoughts swirling around in my mind. I don’t want to leave, and I definitely don’t want to wait a whole year until I get to come back.
Being a relative newbie to country music, a passion spurred by a joint effort of my girlfriend and best friend who are both fanatics (I guess I’m drawn to them for some reason) I had a distinct feeling of being an outsider as I prepared to go to the festival in 2022. Being unfamiliar with a shamefully high amount of the line up I felt as though I almost didn’t deserve to be a part of the celebration of a genre that inspires so much passion and fandom in so many people. However, those thoughts were quickly washed away as we arrived.
Don’t get me wrong, the 2022 line up presented some amazing moments. Personal highlights include my discovery of The Ghost of Paul Revere (on what unfortunately turned out to be their farewell tour), Locash’s spellbinding set and The Cadillac Three’s headline worthy performance. I also got to see some beautiful acoustic sets at the wonderfully set Front Porch stage and have a boogie in the dancehall.
Despite all of this though my main takeaway from The Long Road was not the amazing artists and country music that I had been lucky enough to take in, it was the atmosphere.
For a genre like country, which in the UK can still be seen as somewhat niche, we don’t get many opportunities to unashamedly don our cowboy hats, trucker caps, boots and dungarees without feeling like somewhat of an outsider. What The Long Road presents is a community for the weekend, in which it feels like you’ve belonged your whole life. Free of judging, worries of work and the stresses of the real world in general there was just an air of contentment that seemed to consume the whole festival. Set within the beautiful grounds of Stanford Hall, a fitting venue, it was amazing to see so many complete strangers brought together by a common love of this genre of music.
So, like time always does, it has moved quickly and once again we look forward to an amazing weekend at the Long Road ahead. I can’t wait. The real beauty of the Long Road is that whilst I did have a gander at the line up it almost doesn’t matter to me. Sure, I’m looking forward to hearing some great artists again but actually I think what excites me the most is being back in that atmosphere, surrounded by like minded people in a place free from negativity.
If they could bottle up that Long Road feeling, it would sell millions!
See you all there!
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