Read this bit quietly, it’s summer soon. Any week now we’ll be able to lounge around Hyde Park without a care in the world, and what better thing to look towards than a weekend of soul-warming music at Black Deer Festival. As the UK’s biggest celebration of Americana and Country, it’s weekend you’re not going to forget anytime soon. Featuring a myriad of musicians hailing from near and far you’re sure to be whisked around the grassy lands of Eridge Park in pursuit of the emotive joys which only the simplicity of Country can provide.
Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start with the classics. Whilst Billy Bragg took off musically in the States, he finally made some traction in his home country through his instrumental role in the Red Wedge collective of socialist musicians of the likes of Paul Weller. Borrowing heavily from Woody Guthrie’s fascist killing blues, Bragg knows how the play songs deeps imbedded with antagonism and political momentum. Quite literally bridging the 1980s and today, Bragg’s latest release /Bridges Not Walls/includes the piano ballad ‘Full English Brexit’, detailing the schism curated by rising nationalism.
Big names are far from lacking on the line up. Fantastic Negrito, also known as Dphrepaulezz, is an innovative storm whose hybridity of blues and funk has rewarded him with double Grammy Awards’ for the Best Contemporary Blues Album. He knows what he’s doing. Since 1996 he’s been commanding every stage he’s ever stepped out on. ‘Plastic Hamburgers’ alongside its cousins in /Please Don’t Be Dead/ has the energy of a world on its feet, standing up to break chains.
Also gracing the open air stage is the hidden gems of UK indie folk that is Ferris & Sylvester. Residing somewhere in the nebula between Angus and Julia Stone, Monsters and Men and Michael Kiwanuka, the duo are sure to coax the sun out even on the rainiest day with a set as diverse as their petite discography; where the soulful fire blazes against pastel yellow.
At its heart, Black Deer has enough Americana and Country to get your feet up and stomping in the dirt. The Dead South encompasses everything which the festival promotes; driving banjo tales of villains running from the law, which are too often denoted to the past glories of Johnny Cash and forgotten thereafter. Country and Americana aren’t dead. Don’t be fooled because some have brought hybridity to the genre, traditionalist thankfully remain and help maintain the electrifying diversity showcased at Black Deer.
So I leave you with this video, and if your foot’s not tapping by the end of it then I guess the festival’s not for you… but somehow I don’t think that’s going to be happening.
Grab your tickets here!