American Epic Weekend 4th & 5th October

A Unique Weekend of Themed Events

Bewdley Festival Presents a unique prelude weekend to the 32nd Annual Festival centred around the multi-award winning series of documentary films: AMERICAN EPIC

The prelude weekend runs from October 4-5 and will see Bewdley transform into Main Street USA featuring film screenings, Q&A sessions, live music, lectures from top record producers, street artists and much more:


This one-off, not-to-be missed, weekend celebrates the landmark music documentary series ‘American Epic’ from British filmmakers Bernard MacMahon and Allison McGourty and narrated by Robert Redford, and also includes a series of themed events inspired by the evolution of recorded music.

The weekend will include a screening of the award-winning trilogy of documentary films about the first recordings of rural music in the U.S.A. and their cultural, social and technological impact on the world. Described by the Hollywood Reporter as ‘a feast of musical and educational riches,’ and the Observer declaring it ‘one of the most interesting music programmes ever broadcast and a gorgeous history lesson’. Filmmaker Allison McGourty will be in attendance, leading a linked educational programme with local schools and taking part in a discussion about the trilogy.

American Epic Weekend Programme and Tickets

The curated events, taking place in St Georges Hall, will present audiences with an exclusive once in a lifetime line-up of events including Q&A sessions with the film’s producer Allison McGourty, hosted by a celebrity guest interviewer, lectures on sound recording from two world renowned music producers - three times Grammy winner Andrew Scheps, including for Adele's album "21", Red Hot Chilli Peppers' "Stadium Arcadium" and Ziggy Marley's "Fly Rasta" among a litany of other artists; and mastering specialist Simon Heyworth, co-builder of The Manor Studios in Oxfordshire, who mastered Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' and has produced, engineered or mastered many of the tracks you will know.. There is an exhibition of rare photographs of the ground breaking musicians and a special walk through exhibiton of sound recording and mixing equipment across the decades.

Nashville-based singer songwriter Rod Picott, a true modern troubadour, will close the celebrations in style when he plays live at the popular ‘Music in the Hall’ session on Saturday, 5th October at 9:30pm.

The films take us back to the 1920s, when record companies went in search of new styles and markets sought out regional musicians, from the streets of Memphis to the Western prairies and the islands of Hawaii. Using recent interviews, early recordings, and a wide range of period film, photographs, and documents, many of them previously unknown or unpublished, ‘American Epic’ explores the varied sources and extensive impact of this explosion of American popular culture.

The first film is being screened on Friday 4th October, ‘The American Epic Sessions’, and documents 20 contemporary artists including performances and interviews from Jack White, Beck and Elton John paying tribute to their early music influences using the last surviving electrical recording equipment from 1925, meticulously rebuilt for the film.

Following the screening, film producer Allison McGourty will feature in a Q&A session hosted by a guest celebrity interviewer.

Festival are promoting a programme of events throughout Bewdley town centre celebrating American music on Saturday October 5th, beginning with childrens film “The Princess and The Frog” which is set in New Orleans. This will be in St Georges Hall at 10.30am. (Admission £1 children, £2 adults).

The curated programme begins at 2.30pm in St Georges Hall and takes place throughout the afternoon and evening, with photo exhibition, lectures, two films and concluding with the live performance from Rod Picott at approx 9.30pm.

Early Bird tickets for the entire curated programme are £25.00 including the Rod Picott concert - Numbers are limited and we suggest early booking is critical.

Tickets for the Rod Picott concert are £10 can also be bought through the link or by clicking here.


This event is supported by:

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