Huge festival moves venue... and brings in Chas & Dave
AMERICANA GOES MAINSTREAM

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.





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