Spanning from August 25th to 27th August, The Long Road Festival returned to Leicestershire's Stanford Hall estate to transform it into a Nashville-inspired haven for music lovers and families alike with a record breaking attendance that saw a sold out weekend.
Having been established in 2018, The Long Road Festival has gone from strength to strength, attracting tens of thousands of guests from all over, all looking to get a slice of stateside culture. Welcomed visitors can expect a true experience through eating challenges, honky-tonk themed bars stocked with hard liquor, and dozens of things to do and see. For music lovers, you can spend the entire time just taking in the decent line-up which showcases Nashville's brightest rising stars across six stages. If country music isn't your thing, though, there's still more than plenty to keep you occupied.
For avid foodies, the food areas offer a wide selection of amazing Americana inspired street food options (including vegan and vegetarian friendly dishes) to keep you fuelled throughout the weekend. We certainly made sure to sample as much of it as possible. Most notable was Game and Flame (so good we visited there twice in one day), as well as Cajun Street Food and the Texas Smoker to name a few. You can check out my foodie themed Instagram Reel from The Long Road here.
There's also plenty of shops selling everything you need to look the part (including Melbelle, Ariat, Cowboy Boot store, Harley Davidson, YETI). Moreover, there's also constant activities you can par take in. From meet-and-greets, to the hot dog or hot wing eating competitions, the cowboy olympics and vintage car shows. After dark, also, there are adults-only after-parties with country-oke, quizzes and good ole' fashioned line dancing. We found it was so easy to plan our day using The Long Road Fest app. It was genuinely really helpful as it had a map of the festival, and allowed us to make a schedule so not to miss any of our favourite bands and singers. Would highly recommend getting this if you do go - it's so easy to use, and free!
For families, there is a designated Lil' Possum County family area with fun games for children of all ages. Those kiddy wagons seemed particularly popular. Most importantly, though, The Long Road is incredibly dog-friendly and ideal for meeting the goodest boys and girls. You don't have to dress your dog up, though it is highly appreciated by all attendees if you do.
There are plenty of camping, glamping, caravan and VIP options available to those who are there for the entire weekend. We decided to get a hotel just a short drive away from Stanford Hall just as we weren't sure what to expect - but I could totally see the appeal of camping as you're so close to the action and can really embrace the festival atomsphere. They even had beautiful bell tents and air-stream caravans available. Due to where we were staying, we opted for Uber to and from the venue, but they also offer free shuttle buses from the nearby train stations and lots of information is available via the website. I strongly recommend, however, that you plan your journey and ride home well in advance as wi-fi and internet access was very limited, if not non-existent at times. You can see information regarding The Long Road Festival accommodation options and travel essentials via their website.
I'm not the most social of people, and a festival hasn't always appealed to me due to the sheer number of people. The Long Road Festival is certainly not small. That said, I've never been to a gig or festival so welcoming and friendly. You could enjoy the gigs without feeling squashed in or pushed in to, yet still get right up close to some of your favourite acts. It was such a genuinely nice crowd of people and we had a great time meeting everyone. I'm finding this more and more within the country crowd actually. They really are a neighbourly bunch, so it's not surprising that there was such a mix of people from all generations and age groups.One thing that really stood out for me at The Long Road, despite it being incredibly well organised, was the level of detail and theming. It made for excellent photo opportunities and you could tell they're really put a lot in to the style and aesthetics of the whole festival. Take The Front Porch stage for instance, which is quite literally a wooden cabin, complete with smoke emerging from its chimney.
A major highlight for us, besides all the amazing food, was seeing some of my all-time favourite country acts; and discovering some new ones too. I was just in awe watching the incredible Sierra Ferrell from just a few feet away, and Margo Price gave such an electric performance. I can't wait to see who the line up is for next year. You can check out my wrap up Instagram Reel from The Long Road Festival here.
A HUGE thanks to The Long Road Festival for allowing us to attend the 2023 festival. We had a truly epic and memorable time and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. I really hope we get to visit again next year, which is taking place on 23rd - 25th August 2024, hopefully bring some friends with us. I can't wait to see what they have in-store for us, and am already looking forward to yet another wonderful musical line-up.
If you'd like to find out more and see how you can get tickets for The Long Road in 2024, you can visit their website for all the details and start planning your weekend. If you can also, I'd highly recommend upgrading to the VIP section as this offers fancy toilets and really nice, under cover areas to set up shop all weekend.
Until next time country music fans, maybe see you at The Long Road,
*Disclaimer: I was invited to The Long Road Festival and received press passes for attending. As always, I was under no obligation to post and all opinions are my own.