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FSA festival: Newark showground

FSA Fest Think Country

Words By Jordan Mitchell Photo from 2Country Radio

Our 5-hour drive from Devon included lots of switching of country albums gearing us up for a weekend ahead of country music from around the UK.

When we arrived at Newark showground we were greeted with happy campers some with tents some with campers, everyone was already in high sprits despite the dusting of rain, country fans sure know how to have a good time. The grounds were equipped with a hog roast catering van and two apparel stands.
It was inside to the venue which, was decorated with hay bails and paintings of iconic country superstars, all brought down from Fort San Antone in Preston. So with everyone in place and the bar in full flow it was a perfect setting for the music to start.

Sasha McVeigh got the evening started, Sasha is someone who I first discovered all the way over in Manhattan Kansas four years ago now, and, I since have been to various shows of hers and I can certainly tell how much she has grown in to her performance, fantastic talent.

The Acoustic Journey boys got the crowd going with some country favourites like ‘Chicken Fried’ by Zac Brown Band. Liv Austen was next to make her appearance and like Sasha I have seen a few of Liv’s performances when she begins to sing it always feels like a real intimate setting her voice draws your attention just to her singing and you almost block out every other sound around yourself.

During Liv’s set she included a cover probably one of the best covers I have personally heard someone do of this song and it was ‘My Church’ by Maren Morris, I just adore that song. Our very own Dexeter took the stage by storm! I just love the way Deeanne and Gareth interact with the crowd, always a good amount of crowd participation. They’re just wonderful performers and Deeanne’s vocals are always just pitch perfect.

The cheeky Ash Cooper Band chaps, minus Pete Bailey the drummer were FSA’s after party hosts, which continued on in to the early hours, a good ole sing-a-long and plenty a drink to be had with those.

Day two
Line up

11:45 – Paris Georgia
12:30 Emma Jade Garbutt
1.15 Lisa Wright
2:00 Emma Dockeray
2:45 Angels with dirty faces
3:30 Southern Junction
4:15 Darcy
5:00 The Rising
6:00 Luke & Mel

Saturday Evening

6:45 Dahlia
7:15 Ellie Dibben
8:15 Narn
9:00 Thorne Hill
10:00 Jess & The Bandits
11:15 Pauper Kings
12:30 Ash Cooper Band (After Party)

What a line-up, and that was just for Saturday, once again everyone was up and ready for the full day of music ahead and what a selection there was! Lisa Wright was really fantastic and I especially enjoyed her Dolly cover of ‘Jolene’ she had a great stage presence and a funny personality, my first watch of her performance and hope to see her live again sometime. Whilst wondering around the venue looking at the merchandise and chatting to the artists and fellow country fans it was so apparent how much country fans are dedicated to attending and supporting events such as this.
Luke and Mel were on early evening and I have been fortunate to see these two perform a lot over the past few years and I love their song writing it hold so much meaning and emotion so it was great to hear that they have been writing and recording recently, and that their new song is up for ‘Song Of The Year’ at this years BCMA awards.

Ellie Dibben and Narn were another two I was aware of but had never had a chance to listen too both young performers showcased their talents really well and it is great to hear a variety of ages lend their talents in this incredible genre.

One act I was really excited to see live was Jess & The Bandits, because I haven’t known to much about her just have heard nothing but good reviews so I wanted to see for myself…my goodness me, what a talented woman and her band accompanying her. Her vocals were just incredible she delivered such high energy in her performance and included some great choice in cover of people that don’t often get covered like the great Glen Campbell and Bonnie Raitt. Wow, wow, wow.

Sunday unfortunately came around far too quickly for me and I had to venture back down south meaning I missed out on Sunday’s performances, however what I got to see in just two days was incredible! The weekend including camping cost just £50 just incredible value for so much talent to see. I would highly recommend going to the next FSA event, so much fun and an amazing atmosphere.


Annette Gibbons
Hi, I’m Annette, I have been a huge country music fan since the early 90s those were the days we were lucky enough to have CMT in the UK. I enjoy nothing more than listening to country music whilst having a cold beer (or a moonshine) with friends. I try to as many gigs as I can here in the UK and in the USA; I think of Nashville as my second home and I am lucky to have made some amazing friends in Tennessee. Think Country is something I am very proud of, I just want to share my love and passion of all things country music related with you all.
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