Interview: We get the lowdown on next month’s Tennessee Fields Festival

Tennessee Fields Festival

US and UK artists, songwriter sessions, moonshine tasting … and much, much more – Georgie Thorogood tells us what to expect from this family-friendly festival, plus a special ticket offer for Six Shooter Country readers.

There’s just a month to go before country music returns to Essex with Tennessee Fields Festival on July 15-16.

Hot off the heels of her C2C appearances, headliner Tenille Arts will be winging her way over from Nashville to headline on Saturday night; while crowd favourite from 2019, Jackson Michelson, also makes a welcome return to the main stage.

Jackson Michelson
Jackson Michelson makes a welcome return to Tennessee Fields. Photo: Alison Dewar

Among those acts flying the flag for the UK will be The Wandering Hearts, The Rising – one of the breakout acts from Buckle & Boots – and Jade Helliwell.

Festival director Georgie Thorogood describes the event as “a very relaxed, family-friendly celebration of country music and southern style” and promises a chilled-out vibe throughout the weekend.

Family friendly fun
Crowds chilling in the Essex countryside

“Whether they’ve been before or they’re first-time visitors, we can’t wait to welcome people to our fabulous festival,” she told Six Shooter Country. “We’ve added a few different tweaks this year, but we’ve not strayed far from what’s worked before because we know people really love what we do.”

Always keen to promote female country artists, Georgie says she first fell in love with Tenille Arts’ music after seeing her at a CMA Songwriters event in the UK in 2019 and, of course, more recently at C2C where she played the Spotlight stage.

“The first time I saw her, I loved her voice and I thought she was a really exciting artist to watch,” continued Georgie. “I just love her music and am obsessed with her album, plus she has the right vibe for Tennessee Fields.

“She is a young, up-and-coming artist, she’s had her first number one and she plays the sort of commercial country music that I think really appeals to today’s audiences.

“She made lots of new fans at C2C – it was a tough call to play an acoustic set in between Ashley McBryde and Luke Combs but she did it brilliantly and I know she’s going to be an absolute star for us and we are so looking forward to welcoming her to the stage.”

Tenille’s latest Girl to Girl album was released in October last year, with single Back Then, Right Now, proving a breakout hit. She was inducted into the CMT Next Women of Country Class of 2021 and nominated for her first ACM Award for New Female Artist of the Year.

Talking of stars in the making, another newcomer is Chelmsford’s very own Roisin O’Hagan. She debuted at Tennessee Fields in 2021 with an acoustic set at the CountryLine Acoustic Stage where her (now) manager spotted her talent. In the 12 months since then, she’s been whisked off to Nashville for recording sessions and in May just released her latest single – Road From Nevada.

Roisin O'Hagan plays the main stage
Roisin O’Hagan’s appearance at last year’s Tennessee Fields Festival saw her gain a manager and head to Nashville. Photo: Craig Dewar

Georgie adds: “I really like Roisin’s music, it brings a slightly different vibe and I just can’t wait to see her perform with a full band, it’ll be very exciting and, of course, we’re very proud to have helped play a small part in her success.”

The Festival kicks off on the Friday night with the Radio City Sessions – an intimate gig hosted by fellow Essex band The Jackson Line, who are currently having the time of their lives recording a new EP at Stereobus Recording Studios in Winnipeg, Canada.

For anyone who’s been to previous Radio City Sessions at Chelmsford’s Hotbox, they will know it’s an event not to be missed – intimate storytelling and great songs – and joining Keith Porter and the boys on stage will be prolific songwriter Sue McMillan and country music singer and Neighbours’ stalwart Alan Fletcher (who plays Dr Karl Kennedy in the soap).

He is releasing his first country EP on June 24, and Georgie says: “Alan Fletcher was a huge part of my childhood with his role as Dr Karl Kennedy in hit TV show Neighbours, and it is enormously exciting to be able to host him as a talented musical artist at Tennessee Fields. He has a great passion for country and Americana music and will be performing alongside top class talent in Sue McMillan and The Jackson Line.

Music aside, there’s plenty to keep festival-goers of all ages occupied. From the giant Ferris wheel and fairground stalls to a shopping village and a moonshine tasting shack – Georgie describes it as like having a mini distillery on site – and of course the mandatory bucking bronco and karaoke sessions.

And if anyone’s looking for an After Party, better make it a weekend booking because this year’s party is Friday night after the Honky Tonk Roadshow.

Check out this exclusive ticket offer via Six Shooter Country – simply visit www.tnfields.com and type in Six22 to get 10% off ticket prices. Visit www.tnfields.com for full details.

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