Black Deer Festival preview
Year one of a new festival is always important. It gets the punters in, and it sets the tone for what people expect in year two. It also, to a large degree, dictates how much the festival grows in subsequent years. So not much pressure for the organisers of Black Deer Festival then. We take a look at the five acts to see over this, their inaugural, weekend.
Saturday, Main Stage
Hollywood superstar turned TV superstar turned hard rockin’ country music star. It’s been a journey for the son of Donald. It might be surprising to hear that Sutherland’s debut record, Down In A Hole is a pretty biographical thing. So when he’s knocking out songs like ‘Truth In Your Eyes’ and ‘Not Enough Whiskey’ he knows what he’s talking about. So a chance to not only see a Hollywood legend in the flesh, but a chance to hear some country music from the heart.
Saturday, The Ridge Stage (or Haley’s Bar)
Playing two stages on the Saturday might seem like hard work, but not to these Canadian blues rockers; they’ve made their career by going full tilt. As their recent album, Changing Colours, showed this is a band that likes to rock short sharp songs that get where they’re going fast. They’re made for the live stage and are electric in their natural environment.
Saturday, Main Stage
There’s a reason John Moreland is a frequent visitor to the UK, his heartfelt writing and life-fully-lived voice. Us Brits like honesty in our music and the Texans most recent record, Big Bad Luv also happens to be his best. ‘Sallisaw Blue’, ‘No Glory In Regret’, and ‘Heart’s To Heavy’ are sure to leave Eridge Park is silent awe. Seriously, do not miss this set.
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
Sunday, Main Stage
One of TDF’s favourite artists right now, Jason Isbell is more vital than he’s ever been. And that’s saying something. Paired once again with his genuinely awe inspiring band, the 400 Unit, Isbell’s only UK show in 2018 is here. Whether they’re shredding chords on ‘ANxiety’ or ‘Cumberland Gap’, inducing tears on ‘If We Were Vampires’ and ‘Cover Me Up’, starting a singalong on ‘Codeine’, or searing through society's ills on ‘White Man’s World’ this is going to be the ride of the weekend.
Saturday, Haley’s Bar (and The Roadhouse)
Gentle. That might be the word that’s best used to describe Jarrod Dickenson. Originally from Waco, Texas, the singer-songwriter delivers thoughtful Americana, with a big city slant. Not only are you going to enjoy his set, but you’ll be forever jealous of his perfectly placed moustache and dapper hat. Lucky guy.
Outside of those big five acts, there’s a stirling Friday line-up on The Ridge Stage: Striking Matches, Sarah Darling, Catherine McGrath, The Wandering Hearts, are the ones to catch there. Also, over on the Supajam Stage are the fine Brit-Country acts, singer-songwriter Laura Oakes and the big voice and big melodies of Jess and the Bandits.
Also keep an eye out across the rest of the site. The festival organisers are promising that:
“Black Deer is more than just a music festival. It’s more than an appreciation of a musical genre. Black Deer is a celebration of a way of life.”
If you don't yet have tickets and fancy the weekend they're still available from the festival website.