Taking place at Eridge Park near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the oldest deer park in Britain provided the perfect natural landscape for this inaugural 3-day festival held 22-24 June 2018, produced and curated by Entertee Events.
As a completely independent festival, Black Deer celebrates the UK and international forms of original roots-based music; from country, folk, blues, bluegrass, gumbo rock and honky tonk and the wider elements of the festival as a whole experience.
Festival goers witnessed Iron & Wine and Passenger take to the main stage alongside a talented pool of local musicians busking on the ground. Over 70 artists playing across 6 stages bring the sound of Black Deer to life.
Working to a tight budget, our talented team of carpenters and volunteers helped to build the very first Black Deer Festival from their workshop on-site. By building facades and walk ways into venues the site became more than just your standard festival of stretch tents and big tops, and this attention to detail is what set the festival apart, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of Black Deer and everything it represents.
Mercantile contained a carefully curated marketplace of authentic vintage wares, original workwear denim, artisan makers, locally handcrafted guitars and sign-writers leaving plenty of custom desirables to take home.
Haley’s Bar, a tribute to Gill’s brother, provided an intimate indoor bar and stage setting with huge atmosphere.
The Roadhouse provides a counter-cultureworld where the heavier bluesy desert rock sounds compliment the incredible talents of the UK’s custom motorcycle scene.
A dedicated area for our Young Folk was carefully considered with multiple opportunities to learn new skills. Playing instruments, tree-climbing, using tools to build a wild west adventure playground complete with jail, from pieces of wood, arts, crafts and real cowboys teaching lassoing plus a dedicated stage for artists and performers kept the kids and parents equally engaged.
Reinforcing good times, with good people and building a community from the ground up, Black Deer also ran a full educational programme across a 9-month curriculum for disadvantaged young people who are part of the SupaJam school educating in Music and Media. This culminated in the kids assisting in the running of all aspects of stage 3, known as The SupaJam stage.
As with all Entertee Event projects, the on site teams were treated with respect for their individual skills and all worked incredibly hard to create an atmosphere that spread a true sense of community throughout. The attention to detail creating the Black Deer world was genuine and heart-felt, with responses beyond expectation conveyed from ticket holders and the many teams working around the site.
So much so that we are proud to say almost 1000 weekend tickets sold immediately after the festival and Black Deer picked up two national awards for ‘Best New Festival on the Block’ at the AIF Awards, ‘Event Organiser of the Year’ at the NOEA AWARDS and nominated for ‘Best Festival for Emerging Talent’ at the UK Festival Awards and ‘New Gig on the Block’ at the ILMC Awards.
“Having spent many years as a supplier of stages and structures in the Industry it was refreshing to be part of a team who were so well versed in the mechanics of festival making on every level imaginable, in my view one of the greatest successes was the sense of family within the team, people who had not previously worked with each other were immediately empowered and fitted perfectly into the scheme of things, ideas and opinions were welcomed and everyone was treated as an equal, with respect and kindness.
The pre-production left no stone unturned and everyone arrived on site knowing what they had to do, where they were going to be working and how they were going to achieve it. The site was secure and superbly planned with differing agencies working alongside each other like clockwork, all with the same goal in mind and a can do attitude, all of this could easily be seen and experienced by the people who bought tickets to this great event, securing not only their ticket for 2019, but also work for us all in the years to come, I have said this before, but if anyone would like to see the benchmark for building and running a festival they should visit Black Deer” Spike Brookes, MD
“Loved the vibe at the festival and it was so well organised and relaxed - great music, bars and food too! Tweeted the hell out of it and happy to recommend it!” Paul Curran, Radio 4
“Black Deer picked up the reigns and drove forward into the 21st century and, yet, still managed to keep a friendly, well organised and exciting festival bang at the forefront of how any festival should be run…” Critical Popcorn