10 awesome things to do at Black Deer Festival
This year sees Black Deer Festival open it's gates for a second year, still finding its way in the uncertain, and packed, world of UK festivals. Though there are a few rivals, musically, to its focus on Americana and country music, there are no rivals for its attempts to capture the atmosphere of Americana. With that in mind, here are the ten things you really gotta experience at Black Deer this weekend.
Watch Kris Kristofferson
Now, to be honest, this is the level of artist that you don't expect to see at a festival in its infancy, certainly not one without the backing of a huge corporate monolith in the form of LiveNation or someone. So this is a sizeable coup for Black Deer, the legendary Kris Kristofferson. And he isn't even headlining. Unbelievable. At 82 there might not be many opportunities to see the 'Me and Bobby McGee' singer in the flesh in the UK in future.
Check out the BBQ competition on the Live Fire stage
Some of our favourite moments of 2018 were the chef cook-offs on the Live Fire stage. Hosted by Dr BBQ the competition is back for 2019 and features four round: vegan, chef's choice, ribs, and fish. There are limited tasters available, it's great fun and a proper taste of the southern USA. As well as the competition there are all kinds of demos happening over the weekend as well. We'll be hanging out there regularly with a beer, something BBQ-ed, and our cowboy hat.
Watch Neko Case
We're huge fans of Neko. She's lyrically smart, musically brilliant, and she always has something to say. Her last two albums have garnered a wider attention that her critically acclaimed earlier records, but Black Deer is hopefully a chance for a bigger audience for her brand of indie-Americana.
Hang out at The Roadhouse
This is the place where the serious noise hangs out. Curated by Desertscene in 2019 The Roadhouse houses the grunge-y, loud as it'll go side of Americana. There are custom bikes and other bits of real life Americana as well as the music. The only things that's missing are some in the flesh Hell's Angels, but we're certain there'll be some look-a-likes.
Have three times the fun with The Sheepdogs
Not content with playing more than once in 2018, Canadian country-rockers The Sheepdogs are back at Black Deer playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Their late night set in Haleys Bar was a highlight of 2018, so we'll be lining up to see all three shows this weekend. Rock on Sheepdogs.
Soak in the sounds, sights, and smells
Eridge Park is a beautiful place. You can wander around the festival, finding small spaces of quiet, you can take in the smell of the bbq zone and Live Fire stage, and you can chill in the sun listening to the Main Stage. So whatever you're looking for you can find it at Black Deer.
Definitely catch the British acts
Some of the best acts this weekend are a bit lower down the bill. The ones we're genuinely excited about are London duo Ferris & Sylvester, Nottingham lad Ryan Farmer and Scotland's Roseanne Reid. The Londoners brand of stomping blues-rock Americana is perfect for a sunny summer day, while Reid's honest country will be a refreshing change of pace in a generally amped up weekend and Farmer country crooning hark back to the trad-country of the 60s.
Don't miss a quality new American artist
Paul Cauthen might appear in tiny writing a long way down the bill but he's a hidden gem. The Texan singer is a thoughtful, traditional country singer and his debut album My Gospel got plenty of critical love a couple of years ago. Black Deer will play host to some new stuff as his follow-up Room 41 is out later this year.
Hear the voice of the year
It was a long time coming but Yola's debut album, released earlier this year, is a modern country wonder. Mixing laid back Americana grooves with catchy melodies gives it a luscious sound but uts Yola's voice that carries it to another level. Layered and emotive, the Bristolian is an absolute must see.
Black Deer Festival is on this weekend (21st to 23rd June 2019) so if you're going we'll see you there, if you're not then buy your tickets now.