With just under six weeks until One For The Road Festival, we figured that now would be a good time to write a little preview feature on what will no doubt be the best gig that we’ve ever put on.
So let’s preview the local talent. The people, to quote our headliner, loitering in small print at the bottom of the bill. Sweet Goose, Chris Laycock and Tom Shillito are some of York’s finest songwriters who, criminally, remain under the radar even in their hometown. They’ve all been key members of the One For The Road family for several years, so we’re very excited to have them involved.
To anyone who has followed the bigger names on the line-up for a while, and has seen them play in and around York before, will probably be familiar with Jonny Gill. When the underground folk punk scene was in it’s peak, probably five or six years ago, we brought loads of it to York and Jonny was the support on pretty much every show.
Sing Ramona Sing are another band that we’ve put on a lot over the years. Their dark, twisted aggro-folk is simply incredible. Vocalist Martin Cook is one of the best singers we’ve ever heard, and their overall sound which includes intricate lead guitar parts really hits the spot. In terms of incredible vocal performances, they’re in good company on this line-up with Helen Chambers, another one of the finest singers we’ve ever heard.
Since OFTR Festival is a celebration of ten years of putting on shows in Yorkshire, we had to look back into our history and see if there was one gig that really made us commit to this. We have to go back nine years to the fourth show we booked. We had a local headliner, and three guys who we, at the time hadn’t heard of as support. They got in touch asking for a York date on their tour, we liked their stuff, and the rest is history. They were Oxygen Thief, Ben Marwood and Jim Lockey. They’ve all played many shows for us since, but to have them all together on the same line-up again is incredibly special. We’ve not heard much from Jim for a while, so we’re particularly excited to heart some of the classic songs from Death and Atlases played live again.
Despite being a celebration which feels like a friends and family affair, we’re also really happy to welcome someone who has never played at one of our events before to the line-up. Earlier this year we saw Sally Pepper play, and were instantly impressed. As soon as the opportunity arose, we got in touch and invited her to play. This is the middle ground between pop-punk and folk punk, and it’s pretty much perfect.
We’ve also got one of our favourite songwriters in the whole world playing. Jake Jellyfish (of the world famous band Jake and The Jellyfish) will be playing a solo set. When it comes to lyrics and big singalong choruses, there are few people that can write better, in our honest opinion.
Arms & Hearts is another favourite of ours. Taking influence from the likes of Dave Hause and Brian Fallon, he’s one of a very small number of performers who manage to really stand out in what was, at one point, a very saturated market. When there’s a hundred people trying to play a very similar thing, being able to pick out one person and say ‘This guy does it better than all the rest’ isn’t easy. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. In this case, it was. Steve Millar is better than most of the people playing this style of music, and we’re delighted to have him play for us again.
Last year we organised a charity fundraiser and asked the new defunct York folk-punk band Don’t Let Paris Fool You to play a reunion show. They agreed, but had to cancel. They owed us one, so we’ve managed to get them back together for a one off this time around, and they haven’t dropped out yet. Their second EP, ‘First Time Caller, Long Time Listener’ is probably our favourite EP to ever come out of York, so we’re feeling particularly excited about their reunion. Only 3 of the four members are doing it, so Jonny Gill is joining the band he used to play alongside so regularly.
Of course, we have to give a special mention to our headline act, the wonderful Mr Gaz Brookfield. It’s been six years since we first booked Gaz, who funnily enough was on tour with Oxygen Thief at the time. Jonny Gill played that show too. No one came. Well, maybe nine people. One For The Road Festival will be Gaz’s third successive sold out show at The Fulford Arms in the past eighteen months, so things have clearly come a long way since then. A Gaz Brookfield show is always one of the highlights of our promotion calendar every year, so there was only ever one choice when we started thinking about who should headline this event.
When we started booking this line-up, it was almost like one of those pretend ‘dream festival’ line-ups that you see. We made the shortlist, and didn’t think we could pull it off. We sort of knew that everyone would be keen on the idea, but the logistics of everyone being available on the same day, working within a budget that allowed us to use our favourite small venue and keep the ticket prices low – we naturally assumed that we’d have to make some sacrifices. Fortunately, it all came together. A couple of people have had to drop out, but they’ve been replaced by people who are just as good, and just as nice, so we’ve not had to compromise the quality of the line-up at all. We were so committed to this goal from day one that the break even figures and the sold out figures are exactly the same. In hindsight, we could probably have charged more than a tenner for the tickets. We definitely could have used a bigger venue and sold a lot more of them, but we’d rather have an the show in an intimate setting, for a price that everyone could afford, than make a penny for ourselves.
If anyone is keen, our beverage of choice at The Fulford Arms is a pint of Amstel. Feel free to line them up for us all day!