Date: July 8-10
Place: Newark County Showground, Nottingham
There’s only one Americana, and we’re lucky enough to have it right here in the UK. That’s not to say other Europeans aren’t aware of what must be one of the largest American lifestyle events in Europe – listen carefully and you could hear Dutch, French even the odd bit of Scandinavian accent floating through the air over the weekend.
So what is Americana? A musical event with a car show thrown in for good measure? Or a musical car show? Well, a bit of both really, organisers Chris and Bev Jackson know that a lot of American music fans love the cars and vice versa.
But more than that, there are also bikes and motor homes thrown into the mix, along with just about every other aspect of Americana you could imagine: big rigs, drag race cars, military vehicles even Wild West recreationists and native American re-enactors. Phew! Did we miss anything out there? I’m sure we have, as the kaleidoscope of Americana at this event is endless…
Of course for many folks Americana is all about the music and with a fantastic line-up of world class artists over the three days, it attracts people from all over the UK and abroad. Artists this year included Narvel Felts, Jack Rabbit Slim, Alvin Stardust, The Chris Gorman band and The John Lewis Rock ’n’ Roll Trio to name but a few… It was striking how many cars were for sale at this year’s event and we’ve captured just a selection on these pages, including a California black plate ’67 Mustang coupe with a straight-six motor brought along by California Connection and a rather tasty 1956 Chrysler Windsor we’d not seen before. Since this is a station wagon special, it only seems right to mention a very fresh-looking green Plymouth wagon spotted for an unbelievable £5k – now that’s a bargain if that wagon is as clean as it looked (and we think it is).
Over in the car judging barn there were plenty of familiar faces in the shape of Classic American Car of the Year heat winners old and new. Perry Atwood had made it up to Americana for the first time in his 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, as had Steve Taylor with his 1941 Cadillac which won him so many trophies that he literally had an armful at prize giving. Likewise, Pete Elliott’s 1957 Ford Thunderbird was trophy material, as was Len Ashton’s gorgeous 1957 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer.
We asked Americana’s chief judge, Mo Cassidy about his role in the whole judging procedure at Americana, which is somewhat unique in that vehicles have to be presented for judging by the owners on Saturday and Sunday, rather than the usual ‘every-car-on-the-field-is-potentially-a-winner’ scenario common at most shows.
“I am the head vehicle judge for the event and have been for some years now. It began when some years ago I got in touch with some of my friends who have a lot of knowledge regarding American Vehicles (e.g. mechanics, body men, multi-award winners, and experienced vehicle builders). I spoke to Chris Jackson and so it came to be that I took over the organising and running of the vehicle judges at Americana. We are always trying to improve on previous years with vehicles being double judged, which gives us a greater workload, but improves the outcome, ensuring that the eventual winners in each class are well deserved.
“The Americana judging is very much a team effort, the fact that I organise things doesn’t by any means elevate me above any of my fellow judges; without their combined knowledge we simply couldn’t get the job done.
“They work solid from 11am untill 3pm on Saturday and 9am untill 1pm Sunday. Lots of discussion and dedication to detail is given freely by this great team.” Well, you can’t say fairer than that and judging by the smiles at prize giving, it looks like it’s a successful formula that works really well.
Make a note in your diary for next year when Americana will be held over July 5-8 and will be once again at the Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire.
Words & Photography: Ben Klemenzson
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