New Artists Revealed for Black Deer Festival

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Black Deer are proud to announce that The Shires will be adding to the ultimate celebration of Americana and country in Eridge Park this June

Having become one of the most talked about acts in the home of country music, and with a legion of fans on both sides of the Atlantic, the Nashville based duo have a lot to offer to the new UK festival. Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have two gold-certified record-breaking albums in their arsenal of brilliantly crafted songs, and have even worked with Ed Sheeran. The audience at Black Deer can look forward to the pair performing their hits after returning to their home country for a special performance this summer.

On playing Black Deer Festival, The Shires say;

“We’re really excited to play Black Deer Festival with some of the most influential artists in Americana and country music. We can’t wait to perform in the stunning surroundings of Eridge Park in just a few short weeks - it’s going to be a truly special summer show.”

In homage to the classic delta blues slide players like Mississippi Fred McDowell, Howling Wolf, John Lee Hooker and their own Rockfree Base, Alabama 3 will present a stripped down acoustic set at Black Deer 2019. Complete with Larry Love's gravelly ash-stained vocals and Nick Reynolds bank robber melodies on harmonica, they promise a raucous and unrestrained rendition of their esteemed back catalogue. After emerging in London in the late 90’s the nine-piece band have become synonymous with Americana, leftist politics and laughter - and through their brilliantly theatrical live shows command a huge following here.

Larry Love of Alabama 3 says;

"Alabama3 are extremely excited to be invited to The Black deer Festival so keep your stetsons sharp , your yodels high and your hoedowns low......The Sheriffs lost his badge and the deputy is in the jailhouse now!"

UK-based four-piece The Magic Numbers also join the line-up for Black Deer today, bringing unique harmonies, melodic hooks, songwriting craftsmanship and a timeless sound. Comprised of two pairs of brothers and sisters (Romeo and Michele Stodart, Sean and Angela Gannon), the Mercury Music Prize nominees are set to resonate with the family friendly Black Deer audience. The band have previously toured around the world with the likes of Brian Wilson, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, The Who, Morrissey, U2 and Bright Eyes to name a few.

Adding a dose of catchy, heartfelt soul, Canadian singer-songwriter Stephen Spender is announced to play Black Deer, whilst he currently resides in London to record his forthcoming fourth LP. Spenders’ affinity with the UK began after studying at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in London early on in his career, and sings with a raspy, honest and melodic voice which he honed over the years busking in Canada. His experience in Canada and the UK has lead to comparisons to the likes of English songwriter David Gray, as well as American legends Paul Simon and Ray LaMontagne.

Black Deer Festival is also happy to welcome Kent locals The Breretons into the fold this year. Described as noir folk draped in hard rock sentiments, The Brereton's debut album exhibits dark undertones drawing from long days and nights growing up in the Kent sticks. The band are set to bring their own special glimmer of Americana to Eridge Park in June 2019.

In addition to these incredible new names and outstanding previously announced artists, Black Deer Festival is proud to announce that professional trade association The AMA-UK take to the Live Fire stage to engage festival goers in the history of the prestigious group. The panel will see UK Country trailblazers Stevie Freeman (AMAUK CEO), Bob Harris OBE (Legendary BBC Radio 2 Country show DJ), Emily Barker (UK Artist Of The Year winner 2018), Robert Vincent (Bob Harris Emerging Artist winner 2016, UK Album of The Year 2018), Danni Nicholls (Nominee Album and Artist 2017 & 2018) take to the stage to share story of The AMA-UK in all its glory, from formation through to its vital award shows.


















Bringing you an experience like no other, the multi-award winning Black Deer Festival promises you a jam-packed weekend of celebrating all things Americana and Country! Taking place in the beautiful surroundings of Eridge Park, Britain’s oldest deer park, located on the Kent/East Sussex border near Tunbridge Wells, the festival is just a mere 50 minutes outside of London. Female co-founders Gill Tee and Debs Shilling are no strangers to the UK’s events industry - having produced and directed much-loved festivals with musical legends like Bob Dylan, The Eagles and Neil Young - and have a lifelong love affair with country music and the authentic Americana aesthetic. This compelling blend of originality, experience and passion has shaped Black Deer into an exciting and emerging force on the UK festival scene – and one in which families can take advantage of top-class production values, quality and comfortable accommodation and great food.

You can expect an array of authentic americana-style meats, smokey whiskeys, bespoke custom motorcycle showcases, chef masterclasses, storytellings from cultural pioneers, not to mention the incredible line-up of your favourite artists across the Americana, blues, roots, authentic country, folk and bluegrass genres. This family-friendly event encourages people of all ages to completely immerse themselves in all aspects of this culture celebrated by millions on either side of the Atlantic and delivering an authentic, Roots-style line up to the UK.


Black Deer offers festival-goers who have a passion for Americana the very best sounds in Country, Folk, Bluegrass, Roots and Blues from around the world. This summer’s artist line-up promises to show all attendees what Americana and Country truly is, where it came from and where it’s heading, providing the ultimate live soundtrack to accompany their visit.

Set to stand out is globally revered, Grammy nominated, Seattle group Band Of Horses. Playing tracks from their 5 critically acclaimed studio albums, they rock, but never forget to roll, and will play an unmissable headline performance as the sun goes down on the deer park.

Ahead of their headline performances, festivals goers can expect to see the likes of Australian roots rockers John Butler Trio, Watford harmonising sister trio The Staves, and legendary Hollywood hero and country music icon Kris Kristofferson performing with The Strangers. ‘Dance The Night Away’ stars The Mavericks, and the iconic punk-charged storyteller Billy Bragg will undoubtedly provide unforgettable performances.

Also sure to deliver a captivating musical experience like no other are American singer-songwriter Neko Case, modern hillbillies The Dead South, fast-rising UK country star Yola, the bluesy and psychedelic The Marcus King Band and the revered Nashville based Larkin Poe. Oscar winning troubadour Ryan Bingham, former Kyuss and Fu Manchu desert rocker Brant Bjork, critically-acclaimed alt-country new blood Ferris & Sylvester, London Folk-Americana group The Wandering Hearts and the Grammy Award winning Fantastic Negrito will also be performing across the weekend amongst a jam-packed schedule of other Roots inspired artists.

Additionally, there will be the first opportunity to see Jessie Buckley - the phenomenal lead in the latest British drama-country-musical film Wild Rose, adding an exciting new element to an already outstanding line up at Black Deer. Jessie will be performing the beloved songs from the films’ soundtrack such as Primal Scream’s ‘Country Girl’ and her new single, the closing song of the film ‘Glasgow’ at the stunning Eridge Park.

The SupaJam Stage
Black Deer is extremely proud to partner with SupaJam - an amazing organisation who help educate vulnerable and disadvantaged young adults on all things music - for yet another year. After establishing the Black Deer Scholarship, the festival continues to support SupaJam giving their deserving students the skills, qualifications and confidence they need, to successfully enter and progress in the music industry. Through the partnership Black Deer provide students with an educational experience like no other by giving them their very own stage to manage - The SupaJam Stage. The students of SupaJam will be responsible for all aspects of the stage from set design, curating and managing the talent, to the exciting activities on offer.

The SupaJam Stage will feature daily performances from some of the best emerging and established Americana music acts out there as well as welcoming Bob Harris OBE’s Under The Apple Tree Sessions.

Roadhouse Stage by Desertscene
The Roadhouse Stage proved to be an amazingly popular part of Black Deer in 2018, so much so it’s excitingly been re-imagined for 2019. The authority on all things low, slow and heavy, London-based promotion company Desertscene will be curating an extremely special stage, plus bar, that showcases the most exciting, diverse and downright fun acts from their world.

Think blues-riddled psychedelic guitars, fuzzy wailing vocals, all wrapped up in a perfectly loud parcel of hard-hitting party jams with riffs that will stick in your mind forever. Plus the art and counter-culture of custom built bikes that was on show at the debut event last year will return even stronger in 2019.


In addition to the awe-inspiring musical artists set to appear across the June weekender, Black Deer Festival is proud to announce the return of the Under The Apple Tree sessions as founded and continually curated by BBC Radio 2 and The Old Grey Whistle Test’s “Whispering” Bob Harris OBE. Springing from Bob’s very own Apple Tree studio in a rural Oxfordshire orchard, the sessions will come to life on Black Deer’s SupaJam Stage where musical minds are set to perform and discuss their heartfelt musical influences.

Kicking off proceedings on Friday 21st June, Bob Harris will host the weekend’s first highly-anticipated session featuring Ethan Johns, John Smith, Irish Mythen, and Ferris & Sylvester.  For the remainder of the weekend, Bob’s right-hand-man Marc West will step up to the SupaJam stage to host an interactive meeting between Ryan Bingham, Chance McCoy and Roseanne Reid on Saturday. Marc will then round-off the festival with a closing assembly with Billy Bragg, Larkin Poe, Worry Dolls and Paul Cauthen.


Alongside a wholehearted musical program, Black Deer Festival will yet again be cooking up a storm in their Live Fire Arena. Promising even more mouth-watering delights than were served up last year, Jon Finch and Ben Merrington - founders of Grillstock, the largest authentic BBQ festival outside of the US - are back, pioneering the Americana barbecue scene in the UK’s festival fields once again.

Set to transport Black Deer attendees to America’s deep south, Live Fire will see the very best chefs, pitmasters, butchers and woodsmen appear in their own fiery performance of cooking demonstrations that’ll both educate and inspire. As well as demos, Live Fire is set to host blazing BBQ cookout competitions where the best pit teams will go head-to-head in a series of fast paced challenges exercising their meat expertise as well as testing their know-how in new vegan and fish rounds.

This year, Black Deer Festival’s Live Fire Chefs include US BBQ pitmaster and TV personality Ray ‘Dr BBQ’ Lampe, Temper owner Neil Rankin, NZ BBQ export Matt Burgess, foraging and game butchery guru Nick Weston, Co-Chair of The Guild of Food Writers Genevieve Taylor, food writer and stylist Gill Meller, award-winning beer & food journalist Melissa Cole, Matt Williams, Countrywoodsmoke’s Marcus Bawdon and SMOKESTAK founder David Carter.


More than just a music festival, Black Deer Festival is a complete appreciation of the rich cultural heritage attached to Americana - all the raw passion and grit of the movement is here.

This year, Black Deer have joined forces with director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson, The Neon Demon) to bring a unique cinematic experience to Eridge Park. The byNWR Expressway is set to show a specially-curated trilogy of unearthed gems for the first time in a new form. Showing Forty Acre Feud as a world exclusive, all three films including Wild Guitar and Cottonpickin’ Chickenpickers all hark back to a time of the American drive-in cinema at its peak, and have been beautifully and meticulously restored to serve as a visual reimagining of early Americana, adding to the immersion at Black Deer.

Set to open for business over the June extravaganza, the Mercantile will return for another year. The home to thoughtfully-crafted and ethically made artisan wares which strike the perfect balance between functionality and design. With traders soon to be revealed, get saving for ornate rustic items such as authentic leather, denim, homewares, handmade knives, original printed art, vintage clothing, handcrafted surfboards and much more.


It's not only the Americana superstars that take centre stage, the little ones can explore Black Deer's endless opportunities in the Young Folk area where expression through music, craft or simply interacting with the great outdoors is encouraged and rewarded.

Welcoming the non-profit Woodland Tribe, the non-profit adventure play organisation will get creative kids involved in constructive building during the day as well as providing kids with the coolest hang-out onsite. Simply, what they stand for, is what the Young Folk area at Black Deer is all about – letting children be creative with natural materials, and importantly to play freely however they choose.

Weekend workshops in Young Folk include arts and crafts, and singalong guitar lessons, and dreamer children can embrace the Americana experience with face painting and dressing up tents.  As well as this dedicated area, Black Deer Festival will see the addition of the Outpost. Children can meet the likes of JC and his crew of cowboys, try their hand at lasso practice, horseshoe pitching, campfire singalongs.

Published on 10 May 2019 by Ben Robinson

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