Introducing The Yard

Black Deer Festival The Yard

The Yard is where you will discover all the amazing unsigned artists, many from the wider Tunbridge Wells area, playing Black Deer in 2019. It’s the area of the festival where you’re most likely to find next year’s stars and (hopefully!) our future headliners – indeed, just ask The Breretons who have made the leap from stars of The Yard last year to main arena artists in just twelve months.

Co-curated by respected local music champions Paul Dunton, Pete Taylor, Jason Dormon and Nigel Bent, along with Black Deer co-founder Gill Tee, The Yard is bigger and better for 2019 and showcasing more than twenty emerging artists. (Please note, only weekend camping ticket holders have access to The Yard).

We had a chat with the curators to get a feel for what The Yard is all about this summer – and what it can offer in the future…

Paul Dunton, Local and Live journalist & musician:

“I’m a local event organiser and musician and have been promoting and arranging local music shows since 2003. To be involved with the organising and curating of The Yard Stage for Black Deer 2019 is a real honour and I can’t wait to bring a taste of local Americana to the stage! There truly is so much original music talent on our doorstep – I loved my first experience of Black Deer in 2018, the festival carries such an uplifting atmosphere and the quality of the music is simply amazing. I visited all the stages last year and The Yard Stage was fantastic: great vibes, lots of variety and a fantastic offering for the campsite element of the festival.”

Pete Taylor, TW Music Production Ltd & Local and Live Music:

“The Yard stage is the perfect arena to allow up emerging, primarily local, acts to make their entrance into the Black Deer fold. I looked after the Black Deer buskers last year and we have many of those artists on The Yard Stage in 2019. The opportunity for acts to move onto the main arena stages in future years is a fantastic one, especially as the local music scene is thriving due to the efforts of The Yard Stage curators (amongst others). We have great music venues and numerous annual events and festivals… and Black Deer has already become a wonderful addition to our cultural calendar and can only help increase the profile of Tunbridge Wells as a major cultural destination.”

Jason Dormon, The Tunbridge Wells Forum:

“Black Deer has become an essential partner in the local grass roots music scene and we are working together to create a talent pipeline for the regions finest musicians. Having Black Deer on the doorstep of Tunbridge Wells is truly great for the town and surrounding areas. I work with hundreds of local, deeply talented, emerging singer-songwriters and original bands that fall into the Americana, folk and country genres, so to be given the opportunity to showcase a selection of these at Black Deer is a dream come true. The fact that one of the acts from this year’s Yard Stage will be awarded a highly coveted slot at The Haley’s Bar Stage in 2020, just like The Breretons this year, really is an incredible opportunity for acts to progress through the festival ranks and enables The Yard Stage and Haley’s Bar to have a very poignant connection.”

Nigel Bent, Local and Live Music:

“We are all passionate about grassroots music and venues – and we love Black Deer because it’s one of very few – if not the only – top level festival that shares that passion and gets truly involved with the local music scene to the benefit of all. I think the unique ladder system happening is brilliant and gives deserving bands the opportunity to develop and move up to bigger stages with bigger audiences. Equally it’s great for the audience who can participate in a band’s development from one year to the next and be part of that story.”

Introducing The Artists…

Anna Howie: just back from recording in Nashville, East Londoner Anna writes intimate songs of love and loss.

Cracks In The Land: For lovers of alt-folk and modern grooves.

Davey James: London-based troubadour specialising in honest laments.

David Midgen & The Twisted Roots: Award-winning local blues heroes.

Isabella Coulstock: Kent singer/songwriter already featured by Americana broadcast legend Bob Harris.

Fragile House: Roots, rhythm and distinctive vocals.

Jon Grayson: Classic Americana singer/songwriter.

Laky: Former ‘London’s Best Busker’ and purveyor of sassy country pop.

Lights On The Mountain: Beguiling Americana revolving around twins Ellie and Imogen Mason.

Niamh McSmith: Emerging songwriter with a big future.

Orflia: Country band from Kent and Maverick magazine ‘Ones To Watch’.

Paul Dunton Orchestra: An atmospheric mix of pop, folk and classical.

Phil Hooley: Lyrically-driven ballads influenced by Americana giants John Prine and Guy Clark.

Rob Picazo: Madrid-born R’n’B groover draws on blues and soul.

Sean de Burca: Fingerstyle guitarist from Kent named in Acoustic Guitar magazine’s ‘Top 30 Guitarists Under 30’.

Shep!: Twelve string guitars and foot-stompin’ beats and ballads about cowboys.

Son Of Kirk: An eclectic force of nature specialising in the unpredictable.

Sophie Nevill: Ethereal folk tales sung on a bed of other-worldly Americana.

Sorrel Nation: Country pop with a soulful edge.

Steffan James: Laurel canyon vibes and classic song writing.

Steve Hewitt: Roots stylist with debut album proper out this summer.

The Ackerleys: Close harmony singing siblings from Tunbridge Wells.

The Breaks: Electric folk four-piece with a love of menacing melodies.

The Naming Of Things: Gothic Americana played on unusual instruments.

(Please note, only weekend camping ticket holders have access to The Yard).

To discover all the amazing unsigned artists playing Black Deer in 2019, get your weekend tickets here.