Black Deer Day 3: Emphatic and energetic performances entertain Eridge Park!
Sunday began like the previous two days, the sun belting down on the festival site as the bands finished up their sound checks and the food stalls began cooking. After my previous two mac n cheese filled days I decided to have a change and my dad and I split the most delicious pizza! Thomas Wynn and The Believers were the first act on the main stage, they were nothing if not loud and energetic. The band was tight and well rehearsed and they looked pretty cool too! They were followed by William the Conqueror, his set time clashed with the big England game and though some had discussed watching it in their tents many still came out to watch and listen to his music. He too was interested in the Football and kept asking for the score from the stage which gave an added connection to the crowd.
I was excited to see one of my favourite British artists after that on the Supajam stage, Katy Hurt who we had seen with Sonia Leigh on the Friday. Katy who also plays with The Healers band has just finished recording an album in Winnipeg. She played some fan favourites including This Town’s Too Small to be a Small Town which she performed as her encore. Every time I see Katy she steps up another level, even when you don’t think it’s possible she ups her game again and this time in particular I was blown away by her powerful vocals, I’m not sure anyone on the UK scene can sing quite as good as that! Sunday was a day of interviews, after having about one planned we ended up doing seven just in the one day! One of those interviews was with a band that was new to me called My Fine Companions, now if I said any of the other acts were energetic, scrap that, these guys were ENERGETIC!! Their music was toe tappingly good and a number of people in the audience were giving it their all when it came to dancing!
I dashed back to catch a bit of the Songwriter Sessions where Bob Harris had taken to the stage to host Sunday’s session. I couldn’t see much as the tent once again was packed out! On the line up was William the Conqueror, Treetop Flyers, The Webb Sisters, CC Smugglers and Sam Palladio. Sam then had to dash across from that stage to the main stage whilst CC Smugglers also had to get a jog on since they were playing on the ridge stage shortly after. Sam Palladio who had spent the weekend browsing the festival with his family and girlfriend Cassadee Pope, had drawn rather a large crowd. Most notable for his work in the TV programme Nashville where he played Gunnar Scott, Sam had an audience who having seen him sing other people’s songs for the past six years on TV were eager to hear his own songwriting abilities. There are a few videos online of him singing his own songs, one particular favourite is Wake me up in Nashville which was written about his Grandad. I was pleased to hear that in the set and that it had made the album which is to be released later in the year. He had Sarah of Striking Matches playing lead guitar for him and he invited Cassadee out on stage to do a duet with him.
Meanwhile back at the Supajam stage the incredible Jess and the Bandits were entertaining the crowds. Her vocals and clever lyrics went down a treat with the audience. The crowds throughout the weekend were very respectful, when they were by a stage they listened to every word. After Jess had finished her set there was a mad dash across the festival site to the main stage where Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit were about to take to the stage. When he came out on stage in his fetching waist coat there was a large roar from the crowd. He began with Anxiety a song from his most recent album The Nashville Sound, this song is dominated by guitar riffs and we saw the level of musicianship from the 400 Unit. Isbell went on to play one of my favourites 24 Frames. Meanwhile over at The Ridge stage the lively New Roots group CC Smugglers were really entertaining their fans as they jumped down into the crowd to play unplugged for them. Grins widened on the faces of the crowd as they felt more involved in the music.
Then, after a worrying period for the organisers as their headliner was stuck on a ferry, Passenger made it just in time! It was interesting that a headliner stepped out on stage without a band backing him but that wasn’t a problem for him or his fans as he provided plenty of entertainment himself. He talked about his busking days and made a slightly fuller sound with his stomp box. He also kept talking about “That Song” which of course he meant the 2012 hit song Let Her Go which he played later on in his set. What I loved about Passenger was his humour both when he talked but also in some of his songs and he frequently paused mid song to tell a bit of a story or crack a joke. The crowd towards the back of the field were panned out sun bathing whilst listening to his music. He was a popular performer as for the first time all weekend the other stages had a slightly thinner audience. Ginger Wildheart played his heart out at The Ridge though and Jeannine Barry brought something different to the line up at Haley’s Bar. It was a fantastic weekend and tickets are now on sale for next year! With a line up already being put together behind the scenes it is bound to be just as good next year if not better so go get your tickets now!