Black Deer partners The Forum awarded top civic honour

Black Deer The forum

“Tunbridge Wells is honoured to present this award to a resident who has put the town on the international music map.”

– Councillor Jane March, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council


“When we started Black Deer, one of the first calls I made was to Jason. I have known him for many years and have total respect for what he has achieved.”

– Gill Tee, co-founder, Black Deer.


Congratulations to Jason Dormon, co-founder of The Forum in Tunbridge Wells, who has been awarded a Civic Medallion from members of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
A long-standing supporter of music in Kent and beyond, Jason is a friend of Black Deer Festival and we have been proud to partner with The Forum on many occasions. “The Black Deer team are a perfect partner for us – we share a similar joy and belief about sense of community and coming together to celebrate music and community life,” Jason said. “Community is people power. It’s about inclusion and working together.”
A Civic Medallion is given to people who have made an outstanding contribution to Tunbridge Wells and who have been highly active participants in the community. “Jason has shown his commitment to young and old alike by making The Forum an inviting venue where artists can try out their craft,” said Councillor March. “This is a truly well-deserved award of the borough’s most prestigious gift.”
The Forum opened in 1993 and turned a former public toilets block into an NME Award winner when the venue was declared ‘Britain’s Best Small Venue’. Other awards have followed and in last year the venue celebrated its 25th anniversary. “We had no idea we would ever still be here now,” Jason said. “Even if that was always the dream!”
Black Deer has close links with The Forum, Jason and his team, so we met up to congratulate him on the honour and have a chat…
The award is for your ‘outstanding contribution’ and activity in ‘community life’ – but you accepted the honour on behalf of the team at The Forum. What makes the team so special?

They are brave and passionate people who believe in uniting artist and audience and the benefits that brings to community well-being.

Take us back to 1992 – could you see NME Awards in the future or did you just to build a stage?

We were putting the carpet down (a mistake, it was dirty after an hour) five minutes before doors on opening night! At that point, the stage was indeed built… though someone went through it a couple of weeks later!

What role have the people of Tunbridge Wells played in the success of The Forum?

All the volunteers, staff, audiences and, of course, the artists have all played an essential part in its success.

What’s been the most satisfying part of that journey?

Seeing people smile after a show. But just staying open and jumping a fair few hurdles – running through a few – as well.

You’re a trustee of The Music Venue Trust (MVT), tell us about that…

Together with Mark Davyd, co-founder of The Forum, we set up MVT to take the issues we were facing to a national level. Together with all the grass roots venues, as one group, we now have a louder voice. The aims of the trust are to protect, secure and improve grass root music venues.

We were proud to partner with The Forum last year, a thriving community means a lot doesn’t it?

Its means so much to us to partner with Black Deer. It’s a festival with values we truly believe in and it’s so important for local culture and the local economy.

We’re happy to be working with you guys again in 2019…

I look forward to seeing something new and brilliant at Black Deer. There’s such beautiful care taken with the curation of the festival, I know I will see bands that will stay with me forever.

Huge congratulations to Jason again, looking forward to celebrating properly in the deer park this summer…