Black Deer Festival 2018

This was the first year for Black Deer Festival, a country/rock and Americana event in Tunbridge Wells Kent. Bolt London had a stage there – so I saw it advertised through their Instagram and while I’m not that fussed about festivals anymore, this one caught my eye. One because Bolt were involved and two because I fancied something different.

I’m so glad I decided to go because Black Deer turned out to be a super chilled, fun weekend. The Bolt stage was ace, they had custom motorcycles and trucks displayed amongst their products, the set-up looked epic and there was a bar right in the middle of it – Andrew did a fantastic job on the whole thing. Anthony from Goblin Works had his reworked Harley on display (which he raced on the show), Liam from Cancer Bats had a Treadwell stand there, Foundry Motorcycle had their classic Triumph and old Plymouth pick-up on display – this all made up the Black Deer Custom area which had such a great vibe.


This festival was as much about food as it was about music, which is a huge bonus and makes sense seeing as food is a big part of socializing. I’m trying my hardest to be healthy which can be tricky at these events but I was spoiled for choice with fresh BBQ, paella, loads of veggie and vegan options – so much amazing grub! The stands and stalls were really well thought out too, proper Americana, handmade pieces, vintage clothes and accessories – I actually bought a vintage Harley tee to add to my collection which is now my favourite! (Can you tell I loved this place?)


Music was a general mix of country, rock, blues and the only band I planned to see at Black Deer was The Picture Books. This two piece musical marvel were introduced to me by Ant when we were filming and I’ve been a fan of their sound ever since. Fynn and Philipp’s intrinsic talent for prodigious rock is outstanding, they are simply epic performers. The crowd was going off, The Picture Books absolutely rocked the Bolt stage out-performing most of the live acts I’ve seen in my time. Pure rock ‘n’ roll.


Because I only planned to see The Picture Books I then stumbled upon music I would never have heard otherwise, The Outlaw Orchestra being one of them. Considering they only formed in 2016 they are one tight band – their sound comprises drums, banjo, guitar and double bass, described as “A melting pot of styles from American Southern rock, British 70’s rock, Louisiana roots to bluegrass”. They were so much fun to watch and now reside on my Spotify playlist labelled “rad sh*t”. I love discovering new music and Black Deer is definitely the perfect festival for it. 


This was one of those events that I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t have any preconceptions because it was the first festival and I was super happy to be part of it. I plan to go back next year if I can and I whole heartedly recommend Black Deer to everyone. Good times.


All the good photographs are by Anthony Partridge & the rest are by me.

Music courtesy of The Picture Books. The Rabbit & The Wolf is from their album Imaginary Horse which is available from iTunes, Spotify etc…. Damn good stuff – listen to all of it!


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