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Day two of Black Deer Festival brings Waterboys and Wilco to main stage


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After the scorching start on Friday, things cooled down a degree or two for the second day of Black Deer Festival, but only in the meteorological sense.

On the various festival stages around Eridge Park, bands and artists picked up where things left off on Friday night, and were soon hitting a sweltering pace.

Darlingside performing on the main stage
Darlingside performing on the main stage

First on in the Ridge Tent in the songwriters' session, Cam gave a rousing rendition of Diane - her answer from the ‘other woman’ in Dolly Parton’s Jolene; a powerful rendition that would have befitted the encore of a headline set on the main stage.

It almost made some in the audience feel nervous for the other songwriters next to her in the sing-around-style gig, but by fortune or design, each was up to the task.

Down in Hayley’s Bar, Hannah White and her band were on their own, which was just as well for any would-be competitors.

Together they delivered a set of emotional depth and artful musicianship that would have graced any Nashville stage - capped off by a guitar solo in the penultimate song that would send Jimmy Page back to his bedroom for a practice session, if he’d been there.

Anyone who doubted that performance could be matched need only to have headed to the main stage for Darlingside - a four piece reincarnation of the Beach Boys, if the Beach Boys had been born again in Tennessee, or as Simon and Garfunkel’s hillbilly cousins.

The London African Gospel Choir performing Paul Simon’s Graceland
The London African Gospel Choir performing Paul Simon’s Graceland
Huge crowds enjoying the Black Deer music festival. Pic: Caitlin Mogridge
Huge crowds enjoying the Black Deer music festival. Pic: Caitlin Mogridge

The London African Gospel Choir performed sublime interpretations of Paul Simon’s Graceland, pumping up the crowd in anticipation of Wilco.

After an afternoon of blazing sun, anticipation built as the evening cooled before the arrival of The Waterboys - and they didn’t disappoint, as Mike Scott and his band got off to a rollicking start, kicking out a first-half set of soulful Celtic-flavoured rock n’ roll.

The night felt destined to build in intensity until the inevitable Whole of the Moon encore - but unfortunately fate had other plans, as the clouds moved in.

The first lighting strike added a touch of atmosphere as the crowds whooped, and The Waterboys wondered what was so special about the last chord they’d struck.

Then came another bolt and a rumbling of thunder, followed by an announcement over the tannoy, and with a shrug of the shoulders Mike was forced to lead his band off stage.

Van Morrison will headline the festival tonight
Van Morrison will headline the festival tonight

Sadly, no amount of singing Fisherman’s Blues from the crowd would bring Mike and his band back.

It was all over. Next up against the almighty on high: Van the Man

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