Just like the website proclaims:
” A whiskey sippin’, guitar strummin’, banjo pickin’, rib suckin’ weekend of Southern blues and country in the heart of Suffolk County. Only the finest Rhythm & Blues, Americana, Roots and country musicians make it onto our bill.”
And its about bloody time we say!
James Brennan, organiser of Red Rooster, tells us how his musical passions have manifested into an exciting and new music festival.
GL: Firstly, as a big fan of country and blues, this festival is very exciting! Are you surprised by how strong the reaction has been to Red Rooster Festival?
JB: The initial reaction yes; we’ve had some great support and a lot of interest. However, we did hope to have this kind of reaction. There is a lot of blues, country, R&B, Americana and Soul acts playing festivals, but it’s mixed in with everything else. Red Rooster is a dedicated festival to this kind of music – as a lot of fans have said, “Finally, there is a festival where every act is the style we’re looking for!”
GL: Is this something you’ve been contemplating for a long time, or was it more of a spontaneous production?
JB: I’ve had a huge interest in these genres of music for a long time – I started a stage at Secret Garden Party called The Crossroads about 4 years ago, to create a platform for these kind of acts – It’s a huge success at that festival. But not for a very long time did I ever think I would be putting together a festival for this style of music. Myself and The Duke of Grafton (Harry, as I know him!) have talked about putting something on like this one day, when we first met in Texas about 5 years ago, but I guess it was just a big dream back then. Then about 6 weeks ago, I met with Richard Clingen who invests in a lot of different music projects. He asked if I had any ideas and Red Rooster was one of them. Richard asked if I had a venue in mind – Harry Grafton was the man I called – Harry being about as obsessed by this style of music as I am made a very quick decision!
6 weeks later, we’re on sale and we launched Red Rooster.
GL: Were the acts on the bill hand picked by you?
JB: Yes, I book a lot of this style of act and it was natural thing for me to take on the bookings. Harry Grafton who toured as part of the team with The Rolling Stones for over 150 shows, plus lived in Nashville for some time (not many Dukes and site owners have done that!) is an encyclopedia of knowledge on our targeted music genres and is always on the pulse with who’s coming out of Nashville. We talk a lot on music, pretty much every day, so he passes over some excellent acts for me to look at – many of them I take on!
GL: Why is this festival important to you?
JB: I guess because it’s finally the opportunity to put on a festival that embraces the genres of music that I love so much. In the States, there are so many opportunities for Red Rooster style acts, but in the UK there isn’t a huge amount available. Now we can create that opportunity for UK acts and for US acts crossing the pond. I love bands that make a crowd dance too – and Red Rooster has plenty of em! It’s very important for us to put on a festival that will have the crowd dancing, rather than just bopping their head in a rather too cool fashion..
Plus, Red Rooster is a great excuse for me and Harry to talk about music even more too! His wife Ollie is gonna go mad…
GL: Who do you feel are the all time, most important artists in country and Southern Blues
JB: I can reel off a hundred artists that helped pioneer the scene and changed the genres for good, but now I try and concentrate on who the most important artists of the future are. Red Rooster is about bringing R&B, Americana, Soul, Blues and Country back into a contemporary market and setting. A lot of modern day music fans are of course aware of the genres, but are not presented with them very much, especially in the UK. But once those music fans hear these genres, especially contemporary acts playing this, they will never go back. They will then get their parents record collections out and be able to answer this interview question themselves – let them find out who were the most important artists of all time in these genres.
Some of the stars of the future for me are, The Jim Jones Revue, JD Mcpherson, Gary Clark Jnr , The Strypes, Kitty daisy and Lewis, CW Stoneking, John Fullbright, Pete Molinari and Shovels and Rope. This is of course just handful of those who I feel are the most important acts in R&B, Soul, Blues, Americana and Country. For these genres of music to gain the exposure they deserve, we have to embrace the stars of the future. I feel very lucky that we have some of these stars already confirmed on our lineup.
GL: What would your dream headliners be for next year’s Red Rooster?
JB: Harry and I have already have been thinking about this… – but if we told you it would ruin 2014’s Red Rooster!
GL: What’s the last thing that truly made you stop and stare?
JB: The last thing has got to be 15 minutes before we launched Red Rooster. I’d just finished up going over every detail of Red Rooster’s website. I took a step back and just thought, “wow, we’re really doing it..” It was a very humbling feeling. Some people might feel the same about looking over the Pyramids or Mount Everest, but as a promoter, mine was launching a new festival. Funny how life can be sometimes.
For more info see Red Rooster Official site
A few of the cool artists who’ll be performing at the festival…..