It was announced recently that ‘The British Country Music Festival’ would be a new addition to the country calendar. Taking place between the 13th and 15th of September, the festival features many of the best acts on the UK country scene. I caught up with organiser Marina Blore (the festival is run by Marina and Martin Blore) for a chat all about the festival this week!
Hi Marina, I want to start by saying what a fabulous event the ‘The British Country Music Festival’ looks! What was the inspiration behind the festival?
Thank you for your kind words. We had been producing the highly successful Folk On The Dock festival in Liverpool for three consecutive years that was hosted by the legendary Janice Long. During that time our theme of folk, roots and acoustic music had brought a number of amazing Country and Americana performers to our attention and many appeared in our line up, including Robert Vincent (who played in year one in a fringe venue and then headlined for us in year three), also Blair Dunlop, Wildwood Kin and many more. As we all know, Country and Americana has seen a significant increase in popularity and is attracting a much broader audience with a more contemporary feel. The UK is now making Nashville sit up and take notice and we wanted to provide a platform for the brilliant home grown talent. Whilst we operate an office in London, we live in Lytham, Lancashire and we wanted to give something back to our local audience and promote the best of British. There is so much on offer “down south” we need to invest more in the North and hopefully we are doing our bit to support live music “up north!”
The event is taking place at the Blackpool Winter Gardens – it’s a fantastic choice. What is it about the venue that made you take the festival there?
There is so much that is great about Blackpool and there is a real sea change happening in the town and it’s the perfect place for an end of festival season party! For anyone who has ever been to the breath-taking Winter Gardens entertainment complex, they will know what an amazing and versatile venue it is. Not only does it enable us to provide an indoor festival in the most magnificent surroundings, our guests can access all five stages very easily…and keep dry! The Winter Gardens is steeped in history, our headliners will be performing on the same stage that has welcomed artists including The Rolling Stones, Queen and Ed Sheeran, The venue has so many different performance spaces and they are also building a conference centre that you can access direct from the WInter Gardens so the festival can grow annually hopefully! It is perfect for families and I genuinely believe that no other festival can offer an indoor venue as stunning and packed with entertainment history as the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.
You’ve got many tremendous artists appearing, including Ward Thomas, Sarah Darling and Catherine McGrath. How excited are you about the line up?
We are genuinely thrilled about the line-up. We signed up to PRS Keychange promising to ensure we provide 50:50 gender balance by 2022 to ensure women get an equal platform to men and we are very proud to announce that we will actually exceed that in our first year. As producers, we are keen to ensure that our emerging artists are given the chance to perform alongside the headliners. We are hoping that the headliners spend some time in the Green Room with them to offer advice and guidance and share their experiences of where the music industry is at the moment. The wonderful singer-songwriter Danny McMahon is supporting Sarah Darling and for him to add this to his biography will hopefully give other producers of major events the confidence to book him. Our Making Waves Arena stages include artists such as Beth Rowley alongside artists with a local connections such as Emma Moore and Simon James. Many of our artists such as Honey Ryder will be performing new songs from recently launched albums so I know it will be a fantastic weekend where you will see some of your favourite artists and leave having become a fan of someone you saw for the first time at The British Country Music Festival.
Every festival has it’s own feel. What will set this one apart in terms of the fan experience?
We have a sub theme of neon because it’s Blackpool, where the lights are shining….literally the illuminations will be in full splendour. Because it is all indoors, we want people to dress up for one long end of season festival party. No need for wellies, waterproofs and no queuing for toilets that are water logged and muddy. We are an independent festival, so we have the freedom to create a fun, warm, welcoming and inclusive event. Having the performers indoors makes a difference to the sound quality and just being in the audience in such iconic venues that ooze history makes The British Country Music festival unique. There is a beautiful private balcony overlooking the Empress Ballroom main stage with its own bar that will host our VIP ticket holders, there will be shopping in the Horseshoe Boulevard, various dining options and over 100 artists performing. We will also have a Songwriters Carousel (because it’s Blackpool), hosted by the fantastic Tim Prottey-Jones and we will also be announcing a songwriter’s competition soon on social media and the winner will have their song produced professionally by Tim in his studio.
To finish, can you tell our readers how they can find out more!
To purchase tickets visit www.britishcountrymusicfestival.com For groups of 15 people or more telephone 01253 629666
Follow us on social media FB and Twitter @TBCMF or on Instagram #tbcmf
For travel options to the festival our official partner is Tuned In Travel
We look forward to welcoming you all to The British Country Music Festival, Blackpool and thank you for your support Belles and Gals!