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Doug Williams, one half of the Nashville-based duo completed by his wife Telisha, tells Big Issue North about their appearance at Beverley Folk Festival (17-19 June) this summer. But he’s preoccupied with the First Annual Wild Ponies Fest in Saint Lucia.

How would you describe your sound?
We both grew up around the old time traditions of Southern Appalachia (pronounced “Apple-at-cha”), so we’re heavily influenced by that, and by singer-songwriter culture, socially conscious writers like Hazel Dickens, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Woody Guthrie. But there’s quite a bit of rock and roll mixed in as well, with drums and electric guitars.

Tell us what you’ve been up to since last summer?
Writing. Recording. Writing. Recording. Touring the US, UK, Europe and Canada. We just got back from this amazing tour of the Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada – so far north we had to look south see the Northern Lights. More bears than people up there, but it was quite an experience. From there we went straight to SXSW in Austin. Talk about a shock to every system.

What festivals are you playing this year?
Beverley Folk, Maverick, there’s a small one in Crawley that looks fun as well. Also, lots more in the US. I wish we could spend more time in the UK and play more festivals – maybe next year.

Who else are you excited to see at the festivals?
Hoping to make it to Kate Rusby at Beverley. She’s amazing. Actually the whole line-up looks great. More than anything, we really love just to wander around and be surprised at festivals – discover new things and be blown away by people and bands we’ve never heard of.

If you could curate your own festival what would the line-up look like, with artists dead or alive?
That’s a tough one. Actually it’s not. I’d choose all of our friends, so we could all watch each other’s sets and hang out. Danny and the Champions of the World, Emily Barker, Amelia White, Don Gallardo, Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin, Amy Speace, Jonathan Byrd AND Jon Byrd and Rod Picott… Oh my GOD, what a great festival that would be! Who do we need to talk with to make this happen? Can we do it in the Caribbean somewhere?

What’s your best festival memory?

Hopefully the 2017 beech/poolside/hot tub hang at the First Annual Wild Ponies Fest in Saint Lucia!

What’s in your festival survival kit?
Extra guitar strings. Heat, sweat, humidity and excitement lead to worn out or broken strings. Earplugs. Cheap sunglasses that you won’t be too upset about when you sit on them or leave them somewhere. Water – lots of water.

Apart from music, what should the ideal festival have?
Shade and good festival food. And earplugs. And a beach. Seriously – who’s with me on this?

Antonia Charlesworth

Interact: Responses to Festival Q&A:
Wild Ponies

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