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Black Deer Festival Americana and country music event will be at Eridge Park near Tunbridge Wells

By Angela Cole

Acting legend Kris Kristofferson is among the big names coming to the Black Deer Americana and country music festival this weekend.

Kris, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and starred in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born alongside Barbra Streisand, is one of the acts announced for the festival, which returns to Eridge Park near Tunbridge Wells on Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23.

The star, who hails from Texas and Nashville, has won three Grammy Awards and released 29 albums since the early 1970s, including three with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as part of the Highwaymen. He will perform with The Strangers.

Kris Kristofferson will be at the festival
Kris Kristofferson will be at the festival

Singer Billy Bragg, an icon of stripped-back storytelling and political activist, honoured with an Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award at the Ivor Novello awards last year, joins him, while Britain’s leading country act - The Shires - will also play. The Nashville duo, with fans on both sides of the Atlantic, Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes, have two gold-certified recordbreaking albums and have even worked with Ed Sheeran.

On playing the festival, which means a return to their home country, they said: “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.”

Wild Rose film star Jessie Buckley is also set to perform songs from her film live for the first time at a music festival in Kent.

Jessie Buckley will be at the Black Deer Festival
Jessie Buckley will be at the Black Deer Festival

The Irish actress will perform well known songs from the movie, Primal Scream’s Country Girl and country artist Emmylou Harris’ Born To Run at the Eridge Park festival.

Also announced for the line-up today are South Carolina-based band Band of Horses, Hayseed Dixie and Alabama 3, who will present a stripped-down acoustic set. UK country rising star Yola, who recorded her debut release with Dan Auberbach of The Black Keys, also joins the line-up with 2012 Brit Award winner Ethan Johns, who will play solo sets and also with Black Eyed Dogs at the festival.

Famed for his world class engineering, production and mixing work with the likes of Paul McCartney, Kings Of Leon, Ray LaMontagne and Tom Jones, Ethan released his fourth EP Anamnesis in September 2018, of which he said the experience was “legitimately one of the best times I’ve ever had making a record.”

London folk rock outfit Treetop Flyers bring their 60s West Coast and psychedelia style, while vocalist Sam Beer will also make a solo appearance at Black Deer.

The Shires will play at Eridge for Black Deer
The Shires will play at Eridge for Black Deer

Also joining the line-up are husband and wife duo Ida Mae, a.k.a Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean, UK starlet Emily Mae Winters who won last year’s Guardian Songwriting Competition and Los Angeles-based Sam Morrow.

The Wandering Hearts, who include Cranbrook singer Francesca ‘Chess’ Whiffin among their line-up and The Sheepdogs will also be returning as part of the festival’s Deerly Beloveds programme.

The event last year featured the likes of Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland and his band, Nashville star Sam Palladio, and Glen Campbell’s daughter Ashley Campbell.

The event has an increased capacity of 10,000 this year after its first-year success.

Black Deer Festival last year Picture: Louise Roberts
Black Deer Festival last year Picture: Louise Roberts

Sister trio The Staves, who are heavily inspired by US bands like Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills & Nash, have been touring with First Aid Kit, will be including Black Deer in their plans.

Florida-based The Mavericks, join the line-up alongside American singer songwriter Neko Case; Marcus King; punk singer songwriter Justin Townes Earle, Brant Bjork and British blues rock band Groundhogs.

The three-day festival is a celebration of Americana and country, combining music, food and Americana culture and will be held at Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells, from Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23. To book tickets, go to blackdeerfestival.com

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