Black Deer Festival in Kent: A rich mix of blues and Americana

Festival Review

Sheryl Crow. Photo by Paul Clampin.

By Paul Clampin, Rock At Night London

Review: Black Deer Festival-Eridgepark, Kent, UK-June 14-16, 2024

Nestled in a small part of the three thousand acres of the Eridge Estate owned by the Marquess of Abergavenny forms the base of Deer Park where the Black Deer Festival recently held its fifth event.

Joe Bonamassa. Photo by Paul Clampin.

Aimed at an Americana audience its eclectic mix of music and performance has been curated by a new team for 2024. This year the  rich mix of all the weather England can offer in the summer (fours seasons in one day) was matched with some established A list performers,  UK acts and some still in development. The headliners were the ‘Blues Titan’ Joe Bonamassa who on Friday brought in a rocking band for a set of both originals and covers in his unique style and ability. So much so that both the intensity of ‘Hope you realize it’ and ’24 hours blues’ were a maelstrom of licks not in any guitar tutorial, that it was quite clear many had not seen .

Sheryl Crow. Photo by Paul Clampin.

On Saturday Sheryl Crow rolled onto the site, shot through a list of hits covering her long career. On the Sunday, the festival closed with Rufus Wainwright . Each artist could demand a different audience although it is clear that many booked the weekend ticket as the vibe is unique on the calendar as it is a small very family friendly event.

Rufus Wainwright. Photo by George Harrison.

The outstanding support to be mentioned here  ran over the weekend came from Australian (Courtney Barnett) driving a new genre for a younger crowd. Seasick Steve balanced this rolling through his new album, Damien Lewis bought some UK and Hollywood value and Dale Watson brought some authentic Texan rock which threw the audiuence right back into the Johnny Cash era .

Alyssa Bonaguru-Photo by Paul Clampin.

Stand out Nashville support came from Alyssa Bonagura and The Shires that are the UK’s most successful country group. It is worth mentioning Jade Bird who was brave enough to manage both the weather and starting the main stage of the opening day through her lilting lyrics and delivery .

There are also some staples each year from the life fire food, the chili eating contest in which the sometime brave are joined by the sometime foolish (pic credit ….) to the traditional hog roasts and gospel breakfasts.

Whilst it builds 2025 should be the best year yet!

PHOTO GALLERY

 

 

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