Black Deer Festival is one of the best adverts for the breadth and brilliance of Americana. Set in the breath-taking grounds of Eridge Park in Kent, it brings together the wonderful sweeping countryside of Britain and the landscape of diversity that is Americana music. Whether you’re a Country fan, Folk fan, Pop fan, Blues fan or any other type of music fan, there will be something you’ll love, there will be something you discover and almost certainly something you suddenly find you didn’t even know that you liked. After years of no live music, this wonderful event will offer you the chance to not just dip your toe but to jump right in.
From June 17th to 19th, Eridge Park will be filled with not just great music but an absolutely fabulous weekend for the whole family. Running alongside the brilliant music will be Live Fire which is a festival food experience like no other. In partnership with US barbecue giant Weber, Live Fire will bring together barbecue experts like Marcus Bawdon, TV Stars like Sam Evans and Shauna Guinn of hang Fire Southern Kitchen, author and fire cooking specialist Genevieve Taylor, hunter gatherer Nick Weston, artisan charcoal producers Matt William and T Bone Chops, and master craftsmen blacksmith, knife and axe maker Alex Pole. If that doesn’t tickle your culinary and lifestyle taste buds, I’m not sure what would. This is literally a who’s who of the outdoor cooking world. On top of this there will be the ultimate Chilli Eating Contest if you’re brave enough to enter or if you’d rather watch an action packed, fast paced, fire and smoke filled BBQ cooking competition then the Cookout is for you as eight teams battle it out in four different live fire cooking challenges to be crowned Cookout Grand Champion. Even if there was no music, this would be a great weekend experience. But, there is music, and what a line-up there is.
Over three days, Black Deer will bring together some incredible artists to entertain and thrill. Headlining Friday is James backed up by the superb Jake Bugg, Imelda May and Foy Vance; this could be the list of headliners for many festivals but for Black Deer, it’s just the opening day. Saturday sees Wilco and The Waterboys joined by Nashville sensation and Country 2 Country favourite CAM, an artist who will steal your heart; she does it everywhere she plays. Sunday sees the legendary Van Morrison, worth the ticket money by himself, joined by UK’s very own Country favourites Ward Thomas. Supporting these artists there is a list that is too vast to run through but one which is filled with quality, diversity and brilliance. The line-up for this year’s festival has literally been three years in the making and Black Deer have pulled out all the stops to make this the Americana event of the year so far. My only fear is that there might not be enough of me to get to see all the bands I’m desperate to see; but for a music fan, that’s the best problem to ever have.
If you are going to enjoy a festival, you’re gonna need fuel and Black Deer have made sure that to go along with high class entertainment, they have lined up top quality food and drink. There will be a handpicked collection of the finest southern style street food traders the UK has to offer and the best of local Brewery Shepherd Neame across the Black Deer Bars; Black Deer seshionable, Whitstable Bay Pale Ale, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager. If you fancy something else, the Copper Still Bar or Lloyds Bar will offer a selection of real cask ales. Whiskey Ambassador Chris Dennis will also be on hand as he takes you on a tasting across the Wild Turkey range and tells the story of the original American Bourbon in a series of masterclasses at Jackson social. If you need fuel, Black Deer has you covered.
A selection of camping is available or just pick a day, the choice is yours. It’s so good to see live music back and in such a wonderful setting, that this Festival of Americana will almost certainly become an ever present in your annual diary going forward. With music, food and drink for everyone, this festival is fast becoming a jewel in the outdoor calendar and one it’s important to support. We’ve all been away for far too long. It’s time to get together and enjoy life together and this festival seems to have all the bases covered. The party is organised, so it’s just up to us to bring the atmosphere. See you there!