Cambridge Edition May 2023 - Web



Home to Roost Harry Grafton, founder of Red Rooster Festival, gives us the lowdown on its origins – and what’s in store this year

and bringing them to play in front of a big crowd in Suffolk! And they come on and blow people away. I spend lots of time in Nashville and New Orleans, seeing what’s out there.” On the line-up for this year, which Harry promises is the festival’s best ever, you’ll find celebrated blues guitarist Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram, manic rock ’n’ rollers His Lordship, Grammy award winner Fantastic Negrito, country star Ashley Campbell and Nashville’s finest The Nude Party – among many other live acts and DJs across the weekend. “It’s music that old and young people can enjoy together,” summarises Harry. “Those bluesy, soul, country sounds that everyone loves – and if you don’t like the bands on the main stage, you can find something more gentle on the Little Red Rooster stage, which has more Americana vibes.” A big coup for the festival this year is the Take Me to the River All Stars, featured in the documentary of the same name, which showcases some of the most influential figures in Mississippi Delta and New Orleans funk, R&B, soul and jazz, anchored by the Hi Rhythm Section (who have played with Al Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, and many more). “It’s part of an amazing deal we’ve done with the New Orleans tourist board and it’s going to be a two-hour marathon set of about 12 bands from the region on the Friday afternoon, with a gospel choir. We’re really excited about it,” enthuses Harry. Red Rooster is also a chance to enjoy the flavours of the Deep South, with bourbon tastings, the Red Roaster barbecue zone and an authentic crawfish boil. You can join in with foodie workshops, too, including butchery and barbecue sessions, plus a host of family-friendly activities. For all the info and to book, visit

Taking place at the sprawling Euston Estate in Thetford, Red Rooster Festival has been bringing a taste of the Deep South to Suffolk since 2017. Offering a melting pot of music ranging from soul and rock ’n’ roll to blues, roots and country, this is the creation of Harry Grafton – aka the 12th Duke of Grafton – who inherited the estate in 2011. “The story really started in my 20s, when I was living in Nashville working in the live music business,” he recalls. “I went to these events where you’d get rural communities gathering together – always with delicious barbecue and a simple stage set-up, but with amazing musicians. Red Rooster stems from going to those shows and seeing fantastic music from all different corners of that part of the US.” The event started small – just one stage and a burger van (which ran out) – but Harry could feel the magic already. “The headline act was a band called The Jim Jones Revue, who were this visceral rock ’n’ roll band – imagine Little Richard on steroids!” he laughs. “They blew the roof off the place; the crowd went completely ballistic and I thought: ‘Here we go, we’ve really got something here.’” The festival now attracts around 7,000, but Harry is keen it doesn’t grow so much that the intimate atmosphere is lost – and he’s committed to keeping ticket prices reasonable and free for kids, and thus as accessible as possible. While there’s plenty to do onsite, from wild swimming to axe throwing, music is the beating heart of Red Rooster, and it’s something that the team is dedicated to getting right. “We put a lot of passion into trying to produce a show that’s laid back, but which has really good-quality music – most of which the crowd won’t have heard of,” he explains. “One thing I enjoy most is finding a band in a crappy honky-tonk in Memphis or Nashville

1 - 3 June

SOUTHERN CHARMS Red Rooster Festival sees some of the Deep South’s best acts line up in Suffolk’s Euston Estate


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