A noteworthy festival

Next month the Black Deer Music Festival rocks up at Eridge Park over the weekend of June 16-18 with a bill that features some fantastic Americana acts, including Steve Earle and Bonnie Raitt as well as legendary groups like the Pretenders too. Paul Dunton previews what’s in store and also reveals some surprise guests…

The award-winning Black Deer Festival of Americana is back for its much-anticipated fourth edition in 2023. Taking place at Eridge Park over the weekend of June 16-18, the festival showcases the authentic Americana way of life and brings a true sense of underground community to England’s oldest deer park.

Black Deer is not just about hearing the music you love, it’s about discovering music you’re going to love and experiencing the unique cultural richness that surrounds the ever-popular way of life that is Americana. The natural ingredients that complete this simple melting pot of a lifestyle can all be found at Black Deer: authentic smokehouse BBQ cooking, the thrill of custom motorcycle culture and a connection with nature to inspire the young folk.

Eridge Park is the perfect playground to entertain and revitalise the soul with the sounds, smells, tastes and spirit of community this festival experience brings together. Black Deer is a gathering for those who love to get together in the countryside and is heading into its fourth year. Named ‘Best New Festival’ following the inaugural event in 2018, and picking up many more awards since, Black Deer is an independent force of nature that continues to go from strength to strength.

The festival has built up lots of good will since its inception thanks to its commitment to finding, developing and nurturing the best of the Americana world.  This year will see the festival further its footprint with a main stage operating across three days and big-name artists already announced.


Who’s on the bill

Friday June 16 will see the exhilarating and unique offering of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats performing, as well as Americana pioneers Midlake, GRAMMY Award winning Lucinda Williams, Far From Saints (the new band from Kelly Jones of Stereophonics) plus Kurt Vile & The Violators, Bonny Light Horseman, This Is The Kit and more.

On Saturday June 17, Black Deer will welcome the Pretenders, one of the most enduring acts of the rock era, Bonnie Raitt, who is fresh from claiming the prestigious ‘Song of the Year’ at the 65th Grammy Awards, as well as The Teskey Brothers, Calexico, Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah, Robert Vincent, Katherine Priddy and more.

Closing out the festival on Sunday June 18 is the tender folk rock duo Bear’s Den, country music icon Steve Earle, the unmissable Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Drake White, Elles Bailey, Amanda Shires, Bella White and many more names in Americana, country and beyond.


More than music

Away from the main stages, a wide variety of artisan street food and drink is also available, while the much-loved Live Fire arena features expert demonstrations on foraging, butchery and knife-making from master craftsmen, through to the very best authentic low ‘n’ slow American BBQ and live-fire cooking from industry leading chefs, as well as many other delicious food vendors.

The Young Folk area offers a range of exciting range of activities for the kids, from bespoke custom bike and hot rod showcases, storytelling from cultural pioneers, songwriting sessions and much more.

The widespread emergence of Americana is evident and Black Deer is at the heart of raising its profile. Celebrating Americana is what Black Deer is committed to: a vision and unrelenting quest for staying true to the communities, cultures, storytellers and memories that make up this most authentic of worlds. An independent festival born from passion, from the moment guests arrive at Eridge Park, near Tunbridge Wells, Black Deer’s unique musical offering and unrivalled cultural experience is revealed.

Day tickets are available, alongside general weekend camping tickets, while Fancy Camping, pre-pitched camping upgrades and other camping options are also available. There’s also limited edition Jackson Social Membership available for those seeking an exclusive sanctuary to enjoy Black Deer’s Americana playground in style and comfort.


Just added to the line up

And just at the time of SO going to press, talented guitarist, singer song writer and former member of Pulp, Richard Hawley was confirmed to appear at the festival on Sunday night as the headline act. Also appearing on the Friday night is actor Damian Lewis, who recently announced himself to the world as a musician, releasing his debut single ‘Down on the Bowery’. The esteemed actor’s debut album Mission Creep, is described as a “thoughtful collection of rootsy, rock and jazz-tinged songs”, and will be released on the exact same day that he takes to the stage in Eridge Park, in what’s bound to be an unmissable and memorable performance.

Black Deer is also thrilled to welcome Demi Marriner, Motel Sundown, Anna Howie, and Samuel Ashton, winners of the Black Deer Emerging 2023 programme – beating over 700 artists who applied, after being voted the deserved winners from the Black Deer community. Co-Founder Deb Shilling says, “Each of these winning artists will bring something all of their own to our Americana playground and we can’t wait to welcome them to the deer park.”


For more information visit www.blackdeerfestival.com

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter