A review from a very excitable festival goer, Keely Beecroft

 

Black Deer Festival is a celebration of the magical and creative worlds of Americana & Country Music, combining live music from amazing artists with culture, storytelling and great food.

 

Eridge Park is a perfect setting, as we arrived to find a sea of stages and tents framed by beautiful green fields I thought to myself ‘this is going to be good’, I was however wrong, it was absolutely amazing!

 

If you didn’t know it was a new festival, there were no clues to give it away.  There were five stages, busking stations, an activity stage, stalls selling beautiful homemade goodies and countless activities for kids including tree climbing, zip wire, guitar workshops, sword making and so much more!

 

There were also some special touches that absolutely made it, such as Haleys Bar and Roadhouse, fantastic American style bars that made you feel like you were in Texas, the glorious fire pits that came into their own when sun went down and all the reasonably priced stalls selling beautiful homemade goods.

 

So on to my favourite part, the music.

 

I still can’t believe for a first festival there was over 70 acts to choose from, wow!

 

While there were a few bands I knew, many were new so I was excited to discover some different music.  I never thought it would be as good as it was.

 

In no particular order, here are some of my highlights:

 

  • Key West: Dublin-based rock/pop Group, the lead singer has the sweetest voice. Their music is very chilled. Check out ‘This is Heartbreak’ a lush song!
  • Broken Witt Rebel: Birmingham-based group, they have an amazing rocky vibe. The lead singer’s voice reminded me of Joe Cocker, he was awesome.  “Shake Me Down” is a fantastic song.
  • Wandering Hearts: WOW! UK-based band who had just come back from singing at the Opry in Nashville.  One of my favourites!  Their music is so well written and sounds amazing!  We were treated to a new song they have written with Striking Matches called ‘Drowning’.  I could easily go on tour with them, I adore them!
  • O&O: American-Israeli country duo with whom you just could not help but fall in love. They have a Carpenters vibe, they are fairly new so I really hope they do well.
  • Robert Vincent: Just won 2018 UK Album of the Year at the UK Americana Awards with ‘I’ll Make The Most of My Sins’.  You can so see why.  Check out ’Demons’ wow, what a fantastic song.
  • Ashley Campbell: Her Dad was a legend and if her music is anything to go she will be one in the future too. She told us beautiful stories of times with her Dad, her music is written from the heart.  She has such a sweet voice that I could listen to all day long.
  • Whiskey Shivers: Very funky bluegrass Texan five-piece who wear no shoes on stage and play their instruments with wanton abandon. Man they are good!  They couldn’t be happier to be there, they even came out to sing for us round the fire pit as the festival was coming to an end!  You simply have to see them.
  • (Last but not least) Passenger: Not sure I can find the words for just how good his set was. When Michael walked onto the stage with his guitar, I was thinking “where’s your band?”, only to realise that he doesn’t have one.  Michael David Rosenberg is Passenger.

He has great stage banter, plays the guitar with the energy of a power station and his unique voice is even better live.  I will never forget the sun setting and the whole of the crowd singing ‘Let her Go’.  I immediately Googled his tour dates and worked out which one I could get to.  He is amazing, such a talent.

 

Black Deer definitely gave us the best finale.

 

So there it is, a little insight into one of the best festivals I have attended.

 

Oh but I cannot leave you without mentioning the grub.  The smoky ribs took me back to the Deep South and the mac and cheese was superb.  To be honest, I would go back just for the food.  Yes I am serious it was that good!

 

Thank you Black Deer for all the effort you put into to giving us all an amazing time. I will be back next year and for years to come.

 

Keely Beecroft

June 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

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