Live Zone

Black Deer Festival, Eridge Park, Kent, Day # 1 Of 3 – Friday 14th June 2024



The UK festival for Americana, Black Deer, returned for its fifth year to Eridge Park, Kent for 2024 and the three day event – 14th, 15th & 16th June – was a big success with a mouth-watering menu of artists and bands across Americana, country, folk, bluegrass, roots or the blues-rock and more.

The weekend was headlined by blues-rock star Joe Bonamassa and a UK festival exclusive for the guitarist, singer and songwriter who has topped the US Billboard Blues Albums Chart an unprecedented 26 times, and achieved three Grammy nominations.

Joe Bonamassa




Day # two headliner, US legend Sheryl Crow, is a nine-time Grammy Award winner recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


Pic by GH



Rufus Wainwright was the festival’s final headliner, taking to the park’s main stage for a UK festival exclusive on Sunday. The New York born, Montreal raised artist has established himself as one the great male vocalists, songwriters and composers of his generation.

The Juno-winning, Grammy-nominated star has released 10 studio albums, written two operas and numerous songs for films and television, as well as collaborating with the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel and Joni Mitchell.


Ruby J

The Cafe Nero curated stage featured the hottest new and rising rising names, including the amazing Music Republic Magazine heavily tipped favourite Ruby J,  Tom Speight, Alex Francis, Daisy Chute, Dan Owen, Jade Helliwell, Stone Jets and more gracing the bill.




Pic by GH

There were dazzling performances over the weekend from BC Camplight, Hermanos Gutiérrez, The Shires,  Seasick Steve, Damian Lewis, The Delines, Villagers, The Staves, Ward Thomas, Alyssa Bonagura, Courtney Barnett, Michele Stodart, Prima Queen, Rosanne Cash and many more.

The Ridge stage was a weekend favourite, seeing countless talents grace the stage including Dylan Gossett, Twinnie, Jalen Ngonda, Bess Atwell and Jarrod Dickenson.

Jarrod Dickenson


Jade Bird


Nick Waterhouse


Nick Waterhouse

The Supajam stage and Haley’s bar were also hot spots with a superb lineup delivering end to end five star entertainment.

Supajam supported by Astus, in association with Folklore Sessions and Local & Live provide award-winning education for vulnerable and disadvantaged students, giving them the skills and qualifications to get into further education or the music business.

Folklore Sessions was founded by Jacko Hooper in 2014. The company has now gone on to launch its own music venue – The Folklore Rooms, alongside releasing records, and launching a Radio show.

Local & Live is a charity with a mission to promote and provide education for homegrown music and the arts in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area.

Artists for the Supajam stage included Supajam / BN1 Arts Students, Orange Circus Band, Toby Sebastian, Toby Lee, Jacko Hooper, Message From The Ravens, The Folly Brothers, Brooke Law and many more.

Pic by GH


Courtney Barnett





Crissie Rhodes / The Shires


Ben Earle /The Shires



Turin Brakes


Pic by GH


Bess Atwell

The Holler Country stage takeover occupied the evenings on the Live Fire arena stage, with acoustic performances, Nat Myers, Alyssa Bonagura, James Dunne, Jack Browning, Steady Habits and Savannah Gardner among the line-up.

When Rivers Meet



When Rivers Meet


Pic by GH

Black Deer has received numerous awards, including ‘Festival on the Year’ at the Major Events International Awards 2022; ‘Promoter of the Year’ at the UK Festival Awards 2022; and ‘2022 Festival of The Year’ from Americana UK, along with a whole host of other wins and nominations including a nomination for ‘Best Medium Size Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards 2023.


Check out our coverage of day # two and day # three in our “Live Zone”…


Photos: Manja Williams / George Harrison [captioned GH] / Caitlin Mogridge [captioned CM]

Words: Les Howard


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