Black Deer Festival 2019

Once you've had children, it can be really easy to spend all your leisure and free time doing things which focus around the places they like to go and the things they love to do.  I often yearn for the heady pre-children days when it was easy to explore, on a whim, places that tickled your fancy, or do things that simply sounded like fun.  

When life revolves around work, the school run and after school clubs, I think it's especially important to keep some 'stuff' aside for yourself!

So with that in mind, in June this year, Hubby and I headed off to the 2019 Black Deer Festival at Eridge Park, just outside Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

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The Black Deer is a music festival dedicated to all things Country and Americana and featuring quite a few other genres besides.  If you're thinking Dolly Parton (who I love by the way), think again!  This is modern Country with the line up including (and very much not limited to) The Shires, Kris Kristofferson, The Magic Numbers and The Mavericks.

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You'll have noted (with interest I'm sure) that I mention only Hubby and I skipping off to the country festival!  Whilst I would dearly have loved to bring our 2 munchkins along, this year was set aside as a "fact finding mission"; to boldly go where we have not been before, to ascertain whether we might return in the future - as a family!

And what we discovered is that this IS a truly family festival.  There was a whole area dedicated to children where they can climb trees, have their faces painted (adults can too!), try all sorts of crafty activities from painting to screen printing, sail down a slack line, have music lessons, listen to story telling, have-a-go lassoing lessons...there's even a chance to ride a rodeo bull!

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But of course, it's the music we went for.  There were 6 stages in 2019, so the only problem we had was narrowing down who to go and see.  Jessie Buckley was a huge highlight for us on the main stage - I've yet to see the film Wild Rose, but vastly more determined to do so now!  John Smith was a new find over in The Ridge tent and a delightful one at that (nightmare to google though!).

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We were blown away by Amy Montgomery's set in the Supajam Tent!  She sure does know how to put on a show!

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But the highlight for me was harmony laden The Wandering Hearts.  We discovered them back in February supporting Ward Thomas in Bexhill (of all places), so when we heard they were coming to The Black Deer Festival for the second year, we snapped up our tickets!

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We ended our fabulous, sunny day with The Magic Numbers in The Ridge tent.  They are pretty well known and put on a great set; I even sang along to a couple of (magic) numbers!

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The festival is in it's second year and from my point of view, it ran really smoothly.  This  year, they introduced a cashless scheme; you are presented with a wrist band on arrival and this you have pre-loaded with however much money you want (with a little extra from the organisers too!) and you just touch the wrist band to a scanner each time you want to buy something, et voila!  Job done.  On an environmental note, they asked us to bring empty water bottles which we could easily refill all over the site; and drinks from the many and plentiful bars across the site, were served in reusable plastic pints.  We sampled food from a couple of vendors (tasty wraps and delicious paella), but I'm sure pretty much every type of food you could have wished for was somewhere on site!

All in all, it was an absolutely fabulous day, aided and abetted by the utterly glorious (for once) weather.  I'm sure we'd have enjoyed it just as much if we'd brought the kids with us.......ahem!

I'm off to buy my early bird tickets for next year.....just can't decide whether to get 2 or 4!!!!

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