The Long Road Festival reveals Don McLean as Saturday headliner

the long road festival

It’s almost time for festival season! The UK’s home for country, Americana and roots music and culture, The Long Road, announces its second wave of lineup additions for this summer.

Leading the charge for this year’s lineup is the legendary American singer-songwriter Don McLean, making his only UK live appearance at the festival this year. Renowned for his enduring classics like ‘American Pie’ and ‘Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)’, as well as his cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’ which reached number one in the UK, McLean’s writing and truth resonates with listeners all around the world, particularly on our island shores. Whilst rooted in American folk music, Don’s most recent original album release ‘Botanical Gardens’ was recorded in Nashville and spans an array of old fashioned country, honky-tonk and rock ‘n’ roll styles, which led to McLean making his debut on country music’s most famous stage last month, Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.

Don McLean said: “I am delighted to return to England to perform at The Long Road Festival. Since I have decided to stop doing bus tours of distant destinations, I will still return for special performances. I love England and look forward to seeing my audience again.”


Paula Cole will be making her UK debut at The Long Road this year. The acclaimed singer-songwriter from Massachusetts is known for hits like ‘Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?’ and the Dawson’s Creek theme ‘I Don’t Want to Wait’ and also made history at the 1998 Grammy Awards when she became the first woman in Grammy history to be nominated as Producer of the Year for her work on her album ‘Amen’. The Long Road has also revealed a set from Nashville’s Ron Pope, who gained significant recognition when his song ‘A Drop in the Ocean’ went viral, propelling him to international fame and leading to millions of streams worldwide.

Elsewhere indie folk leaning bands bringing lush harmonies and infectious melodies like The National Parks, Alan Power & The Take Twos and the unique duo Campbell Jensen, plus a wealth of captivating Americana artists including Liverpool’s Robert Vincent and Louisiana’s Dylan LeBlanc.


Proudly representing queer country at The Long Road is Katie Pruitt with her folk-rooted sounds and Brooke Eden, a rising country pop artist from Florida. Toby Sebastian will also take to the stage, presenting his view of modern UK country music.  The Long Road 2022 favourites Gangstagrass are back from Brooklyn this year with their unique and addictive blend of hip hop and bluegrass and representing more of the UK’s hometown sounds this year as part of The Round Up with Two Ways Home will be Dolly Mavies, Gasoline & Matches and Joe Martin.

Adding these to the already stellar, previously announced lineup including Sunday Rhinestone main stage headliner Russell Dickerson, Wyatt Flores, Flatland Cavalry, Randall King, Red Clay Strays, American Aquarium, Chapel Hart, Pokey Lafarge, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, Colbie Caillat, Brittney Spencer, Remember Monday, Jamie Lawson and more across the festival’s five stages and creative performance spaces, plus stage takeovers hosted by Loose Music and Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer.

Commenting on today’s announcement, The Long Road’s Tennessee-born Creative Director Baylen Leonard said: “You can’t think about the last 60 odd years of American music and popular culture without the work of Don McLean springing to mind, so I couldn’t be more excited to present this legendary artist as our Saturday headliner. It will be the only chance to see him live in the UK this year, and with his timeless hits and having just made his Grand Ole Opry debut, this will be a moment to remember for Long Roaders for sure. Alongside Don, we can’t wait to host even more of the acts we love so dearly at Stanford Hall in August, with some, like Paula Cole, making their first appearance in the UK with us. There really is something for everyone as we continue to celebrate all the different sounds under this big umbrella called country. It’s set to be a weekend filled with the chance to find new favourites and friends, as well as witnessing iconic moments for the ages… The countdown begins!”


In addition to the incredible line-up, The Long Road will also offer a range of activities for families of all ages and vendors selling stateside street food featuring the very best in the art of true BBQ style and campfire cooking. From the newly-added for 2024 Sounds Familiar Music Quiz, to late night entertainment at the Buck n’ Bull and Yee Haw after parties, and live Countryoke at Buddy’s Bar, this year’s festival is shaping up to be the biggest yet! Firm favourites remain during the day with The Lucky Dice Classic Car and Bike Show, Wild Swimming and Mechanical Bull Rides as well as the craft beer and liquor bar to quench the thirst. Plus there’s plenty of dog friendly activities to entertain the furry companions at The Long Road, who can join in with Tootles & Nibs Dog Show, The Country Costume Parade, talent show The Rex Factor and The Gauntlet of Temptation.


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Hannah Larvin, Editor, Maverick Magazine
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