Huge festival moves venue... and brings in Chas & Dave

Americana 2014 Americana International is set for major changes as the festival moves to a new venue with a racetrack, and brings in mainstream acts including a T-Rex tribute band and Chas & Dave.

After 33 years spent mainly at the County Showground in Newark, the huge weekender will move to Prestwold Hall near Loughborough in July.   The site is seven miles from the M1.

Organisers say security is a prime concern, following complaints about crime at the 2011 and 2012 events.   "The venue is easy to get to and to keep secure including the campsites," said festival boss Chris Jackson.   "Security presence will remain key for the future of the Americana."   Camping zones will be designated as standard, family, quiet and disabled.

Jackson is exploring ways of using Prestwold's 1.8-mile purpose built racetrack, which is on the site of a forner airfield.   "There is a huge race track on-site, which we hope to utilise in the future to please all our petrolheads.   We are currently in talks on how we can work together on this area," he said.   The track already hosts a range of driving experience days and courses.

Tribute acts

Chris Jackson In another shift, the music policy is being broadened from country and rock'n'roll to include mainstream pop, with Chas & Dave and tribute band T-Rexstasy booked for next year.   Chris (pictured) explained: "The Americana umbrella encompasses so much.   2014 will include all the usual genres of cool Anglo-American music and stars from across the globe.   From the 1940s to modern day, country, r'n'r, rockabilly, hillbilly, r'n'b, 60s and 70s, and now we will be introducing some Motown and stars from the mod era to the mix.   The line-up will be dependent on our early bookings and support."

Other bands in the line-up are Carmen Ghia & The Hot Rods, Si Cranstoun, the Alley Cats, Al Kilvo and Johnny Pat, Almaboobies, the Black Cat Trio, Kelly & The Railroaders, Cool Cat Cry, Country Cattin', the Drugstore Cowboys, Greggi G & His Crazy Gang, the Doggone Honkabillies, The Hayriders and The Wanderers.

Other attractions include a 'kidzone', a dedicated area for fashion stalls, annual fashion show, beauty parlour, a larger craft fair area and other related trade stands and food vendors, custom bike shows, displays of American and pre-1975 European and British classic vehicles, 50s style fairground, face painting, street entertainers, native American Indians, tattooists, evening burlesque shows, free line dance and jive lessons, the return of the settlers encampment and a Wyatt Earp Western-style shootout.   The show will take place from July 10th-13th.

American dream

Described as the "largest must see festival for fans of the American dream", Americana International grew from humble origins in a pub car park in Bramcote, Nottingham in 1980.   It was founded by classic car and bike fans Chris and Bev Jackson and is still a family affair, with daughter Letitia taking on much of the behind-the-scenes work.

Despite occasional excursions to Donington Park and Wollaton Park in the 1980 and 90s, the Newark County Showground has been the festival's main home for most of its history.

Beefed-up security Things turned sour in 2011 when the festival was hit by a spate of thefts and outbreaks of disorder.   Regulars bombarded Americana's online guest book with complaints about tents being slashed open, thefts from stalls, damage to show vehicles and thefts of generators and bands' equipment.

"I too am disgusted with what was allowed to happen and a serious re-think on our long serving security group is now on the cards," said Chris Jackson at the time.   "We pay out a hell of a lot of money to the security group and I and my daughter feel very let down by them."

A new contractor, Definitive Security Services, was brought in for 2013, promising a "zero tolerance policy", with the removal of "any persons who commit or attempt to commit a crime, are abusive towards staff or others, display any sign of intimidation or anti-social behaviour".

The tougher approach won general praise from those posting messages on the event's Facebook page following the 2013 festival... apart from one visitor who complained he had been ticked off for spending too long in the toilet.

Yesterday Once More has a Billy Fury Weekend with Colin Paul & The Persuaders, Joey & The Jivers, The Graduates and Paul Da Vinci from July 4th-6th at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool.

From August 29th-31st at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool it's Jive Weekend 4 with Colin Paul & The Persuaders, The Unconditionals, The Kingcats, The Firebirds, The Bobcats and Jive Street.

Strollin' Steve Strollin' Steve's Seacroft Rock 'n Roll Party no.7 runs from August 29th - September 1st at the Seacroft Holiday Village, Beach Road, Hemsby, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR29 4HR with The Jets, The Firebirds, The Bobcats, The Downtown Daddyos, Joey & The Jivers and The Rock-A-Toons.

The Bournemouth 1950s/60s weekend runs from October 10th-13th at Heathlands Hotel, Grove Road, East Cliff, Bournemouth BH1 3AY.   In the line-up are Danny & The Seniors, the Downtown Daddyos, Rockin' The Joint, and Dave Whitmore.

From October 17th-20th it's the Devon Rock'n'Roll Party no.5 at the Royal Hotel, Beach Road, Woolacombe EX34 7AB with The Kingcats, The Bobcats and Blast Off.

From November 14th-17th it's the Bournemouth Rock'n'Roll Party no.15 at the Heathlands Hotel, Grove Road, East Cliff, Bournemouth BH1 3AY with Charlie Gracie, Mike Berry, The Heartbeats, Blast Off and Class Of 58.

Holiday Rock presents its Folkestone Jive Weekend 5 at the Grand Burstin Hotel from September 5th-8th with Si Cranston, Earl Jackson, The Bobcats, Kingcats, Good Rockin' Tonight, Bernie Woods, Johnnie Fox and The Heartbeats.   More info on 01733 324283.

Hemsby 52 runs from October 3rd-6th with Billy Adams, Mike Waggoner, Nick Willett, Jimmy Lee Mason, Barrance Whitfield and many more.   Venue is the Seacroft Holiday Village, Hemsby, Norfolk NR29 4HR   Info on 01772 761522.

The Rhythm Riot rocks Pontin's Camber Sands from November 14th-17th with Roddy Jackson, Charlie Gracie, Eddie Daniels, Lil Mo & The Dynaflos, the Ballroom Kings and many more.

Travis LeDoyt Now in its 13th year, Ritchie Gee's Wildest Cats In Town Christmas weekender rocks Pontins Pakefield from November 28th to December 1st.

Heading a line-up of 21 bands is Travis Le Doyt (pictured), described as the world's best young Elvis.   Also appearing are Si Cranstoun, The Lennerockers, The Jets, Linda Gail Lewis, Lucas & The Dynamos, Johnny & The Jailbirds, The Rock-a-Toons, The Bobcats, The Kingcats, Lights Out plus more bands, classic cars, a talent show, 1950s jumble sale, clothes, shoes, free jive lessons and record stalls.

For booking information phone Ritchie or Kathy on 01530 455657 or 07976 964086 or click on

The Rock'n Red Hot Club weekender runs from May 8th-11th 2015 at the Redcliffe Hotel in Paignton, Devon. There's music from Mary Jean Lewis, 59 Ford and The Kingcats. Booking info from Mike on 07879 228451 / 0117 967 5114

If it jumps, jives, bops or strolls we want to know about it.   Email or call 07833 703189.