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Tunbridge Wells: New Americana music festival Black Deer to launch at Eridge Park with music, food and drink

By What's On reporter

A taste of all things Americana is set to come to the Kent countryside as a new festival celebrating its music, food, drink and culture launches in June.

Black Deer will bring a jam-packed weekend of Americana and country music to Eridge Park – Britain’s oldest deer park – near Tunbridge Wells, with authentic meats, smokey whiskies, bespoke custom bike showcases, storytelling and a line-up of artists across the Americana, blues, roots, authentic country, folk and bluegrass genres.

The family-friendly event, to be held from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24, encourages people to immerse themselves in all aspects of the culture.

Black Deer festival at Eridge Park in Kent
Black Deer festival at Eridge Park in Kent

Americana-tinged indie-folk singer Sam Beam, who is better known as Iron & Wine, will be headlining the Saturday and Brighton-born, folk singer-songwriter Passenger, whose No.1 hit Let Her Go went around the world, is headlining the Sunday with a UK festival exclusive.

Grammy Award winner Jason Isbell brings his unique voice and band, The 400 Unit, to the event as a UK festival exclusive, while modern country twins duo Ward Thomas, whose album Cartwheels became the first album by a UK country act to reach the No.1 slot on the UK Album Chart last year, play along while long-standing blues sensation Eric Bibb will bring some of his anthemic songs from a five-decade career.

Making the leap from buskers to headliners, CC Smugglers will be bringing their Americana-inspired rhythms to the festival while Cornwall-based three-piece indie-rock group William The Conqueror will play, along with banjo-pickers Darren Eedens & the Slim Pickins and their honky tonk sounds.

Darren Eedens said: “The boys and I are incredibly excited to bring our music to this new Americana festival. Motorcycles and banjos, this looks like the real deal.”

The sunkissed music programme will be complemented by a wide range of classic food and drink to take revellers into the heartlands of all things Americana, with delicacies served up from bespoke-built hostelries and headed up by food writers and founders of Grillstock, Jon Finch and Ben Merrington, pioneers of the American barbecue scene in the UK since 2010.

Having created the biggest barbecue experience the UK has seen, the pair are experts on all things low ‘n’ slow having opened five American smokehouse restaurants across the UK as well as co-authored an Amazon best-selling barbecue cookbook.

There will be smoked meats from the best ribs to brisket, drenched with sweet sauces from homegrown suppliers and craft beers, artisan ales, and aged whiskies.

Bolt Motorcycles London will be curating an area with the ultimate symbol of counter culture – the motorcycle, while visitors can try their hand at a range of Americana-inspired experiences, from whisky tasting and wood-chopping, to leather-craft and denim-customising.

There will also be areas for younger visitors, including outdoor adventures, cinema, ukulele lessons and there will be a stage dedicated to budding juniors.

Black Deer have teamed up with Supajam Education in Music and Media (SEMM), for young people aged 16 and over with special education needs and educational health care plans to give them their own stage to manage, book and curate.

The team behind Black Deer have produced and directed other festivals including the Hop Farm Festival and Hyde Park’s Party In The Park.

Promoter Gill Tee said: “Having been in the music industry for many years, producing events for other people, I am proud to finally take a giant step to having a festival of my own. Set in a beautiful part of the world, that I know and love, with a genre of music that holds so many memories for me, is really exciting as well as extremely challenging.

“We are all working together to ensure that anyone who steps foot into the world of Black Deer will want to come back for many years in the future.”


The Black Deer festival will be held at Eridge Park near Tunbridge Wells from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24. For tickets from £115 visit blackdeerfestival.com/tickets
Black Deer will be using a cashless RFID system on site where you can upload money directly to your wristband.

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