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5 acts to watch out for at Black Deer Festival

The first ever Black Deer Festival takes place this weekend (Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th June) at Eridge Park in Kent, and the line-up is packed with incredible talent from both sides of the pond.

With so many great country and Americana artists appearing, it can be difficult to narrow down who you’re going to see. So we’ve picked our top five acts performing across the weekend who we think you should check out.

It wasn’t an easy task to whittle this list down – we’d recommend you check out Passenger and Sonia Leigh too. However, in no particular order, here’s our selection of the sets you can’t miss.


1. Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

This six-piece band is widely regarded as one of the best live Americana acts around, and are making a UK festival exclusive appearance at Black Deer. Led by singer-songwriter Jason Isbell (who’s also part of Drive By Truckers), they recently won a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album and have been nominated for four Americana Music Association Awards. They’ve also sold out 14 consecutive nights at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium and will be releasing a live album in October, so don’t miss your chance to see them in the flesh.

Performance dates: Sunday 24th June, Main Stage

[brid autoplay=”true” video=”156965″ player=”531″ title=”Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit If We Were Vampires”]


2. Striking Matches

You might not have heard of Striking Matches – made up of Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis – but if you’re a fan of Nashville you’ll definitely know their songs. Nine of the duo’s tracks have featured in the hit TV series, including When The Right One Comes Along and Hanging On A Lie, and Nashville executive music producer T-Bone Burnett also produced their debut album. If you like your country songs with folk and rock touches, as well as great harmonies and excellent guitar playing, then this is the band for you.

Performance dates: Friday 22nd June, The Ridge

[brid video=”257019″ player=”531″ title=”Striking Matches Hanging On A Lie”]


3. Jarrod Dickenson

We’ve been big fans of Jarrod ever since we first saw him at C2C: Country to Country Festival back in 2017. His blend of country, Americana and blues, along with great storytelling, has made him a favourite act on the UK scene and he’s toured with artists including Don McLean and The Wandering Hearts. When we spoke to him recently he told us he’d be bringing a full band show and and ‘a nice rocking day’, as well as trying ‘to make it sound like [his] record’, Ready The Horses.

Performance dates: Saturday 23rd June, Haley’s Bar; Saturday 23rd June, The Ridge

[brid autoplay=”true” video=”224212″ player=”531″ title=”Jarrod Dickenson Your Heart Belongs To Me (Official Music Video)”]


4. Ashley Campbell

It’s not easy following in the footsteps of a famous musical parent, and even less so when that parent is country music legend, the late Glenn Campbell. But Ashley has shown she’s a talented musician in her own right through appearances at Nashville Meets London and C2C. Known for her pop-influenced tunes, sweet yet sassy vocals and incredible banjo playing, she always delivers a strong performance and is sure to win over plenty of new fans this weekend.

Performance dates: Saturday 23rd June, Main Stage

[brid autoplay=”true” video=”195036″ player=”531″ title=”Ashley Campbell A New Year”]


5. Sam Palladio

Sticking with the Nashville theme, Sam Palladio is probably best known to many people for playing singer-songwriter Gunnar Scott on the US drama series. However, he’s also carving a musical career for himself in his own right. Originally from Cornwall, Sam has performed at C2C and opened for Chris Shiflett as well as playing at legendary venues such as the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium. Fans can expect a mix of songs from the series as well as a few of Sam’s original songs, so make sure you look out for those during his set!

Performance dates: Sunday 24th June, Main Stage

[brid autoplay=”true” video=”256656″ player=”531″ title=”Sam Palladio & Clare Bowen “Fade Into You” Live at the Grand Ole Opry Opry”]


Black Deer Festival takes place at Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells, Kent from 22nd to 24th June. Limited tickets are available here: https://blackdeerfestival.com/tickets/

Laura Cooney
Laura Cooney
Laura has been writing for Entertainment Focus since 2016, mainly covering music (particularly country and pop) and television, and is based in South West London.

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