The UK’s adopted American soul songstress PP Arnold plays Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival (1-3 July).
How would you describe your sound?
I would definitely describe my sound as soulful.
Tell us what you’ve been up to since last summer.
I’ve been pretty busy. I performed at the Isle of Wight Festival at the end of August and that’s was pretty cool. I’ve never seen so many scooters in one place in my life. It was a real northern soul/mod event. The Small Fakers who are the only Small Faces tribute band were my backing band. The show was brilliant. In October I performed at the Jazz Café, Camden Town to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The Ray Russell Band backed me on that occasion and the venue sold out. A good time was definitely had by all. I spent the majority of November, December and January finishing my soon to be released autobiography and at the end of January I performed at the Borderline, London. February kicked off with me back in the studio with Steve Cradock of Ocean Color Scene/Paul Weller/The Specials fame producing my new album that I’m really excited about. We’ve recorded about nine tracks already and I’ve arrived back in London in March to continuing recording. We’ll be releasing a single this fall. We’ll be touring the UK in February/March promoting the album and the release of my book. So I’ve got a lot to look forward to. I’ll also be touring with the Manfreds this fall from 19 October 19-3 December as their special guest. The fabulous Zoot Money will also be the other guest on the tour.
What festivals are you playing this year?
To be honest not many. Other than the Burton I’ll be performing at the 50th anniversary of the National Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival, which I performed at back in 1966-7 with my then backing band The Nice.
Who else are you excited to see at the festivals?
I see that Elaine Delmar is performing at Burton Agnes as well and I look forward to seeing her perform. Apparently the Windsor will be a reunion of a lot of the original artists from the sixties, so it will be great to see a lot of my mates, some of which I haven’t seen since the then. The roster is being confirmed, so I’ll have to wait see who’ll be there.
If you could curate your won festival what would the line-up look like?
Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, the Small Faces, Aretha Franklin, the Staple Singers, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Nina Simone, Gregory Porter, Curtis Mayfield, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rufus & Chaka Khan and Parliament Funkadelic would be just a few of those I’d have on board. It would have to be a three-day festival to accommodate my list.
What’s your best festival memory?
My favourite festival memory is playing Glastonbury with Roger Waters in 2002 on the In The Flesh tour. The band included Roger Waters, Andy Fairweather Lowe, Snowy White, Chester Kamen, Graham Broad, Harry Waters, Andy Wallace, Norbert Stachel, Katie Kissoon, Carl Kenyon and myself. Being a part of this amazing band was absolutely incredible!
What’s in your festival survival kit?
My festival survival kit would depend on where the festival took place. In England, it would definitely be wellington boots, big umbrellas and warm outdoor clothing. I’ve only camped at a festival once in the early 1980s and we had all the camping gear and plenty of food and drink, so it wasn’t too bad. As a performing artist I’m usually well looked after.
Apart from music what should an ideal festival have?
Good toilet facilities, first aid, great stalls for food, beverages, art and culture, clothing, alternative healing like massage, and other mind/body/spirit facilities.