Black Deer Festival Review, Eridge Park, Kent

Black Deer Festival, Eridge Park, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent was our first foray into festivals with our kids

We were given weekend press and guest passes in return for this review but all opinions are our own.

What is Black Deer Festival

2019 saw the second Black Deer Festival. It won Best New Festival in 2018 and for good reason.

Black Deer is an Americana and Country Music festival here in sunny England! Its aim is to bring the customs and heritage of a bygone era to all. It succeeds through the passion of its founders who have put together a festival that pulls together every aspect you can think of – including a custom built motorcycle shed.

Black Deer Festival

Classic cars at Black Deer Festival

Where is Black Deer Festival?

The festival itself is easy to locate. It is in Eridge Park which is just outside Tunbridge Wells.  It took us 40 minutes by car from Sevenoaks and was well sign posted. Once there entry is well organised and we were shown where to park by an attendant. Since we arrived mid afternoon we were a loooong way at the back of the parking though.

How accessible is Black Deer Festival?

We were able to use our pushchair for Little L as he is only just 3 and he still needs a pushchair from time to time. We have an Out n About and it wasn’t too hard pushing it over the grass but bare in mind that there are no paths as such so you may struggle with an ordinary buggy.

Be aware that it is a fair old walk from the car park to the festival itself. We were going to take my mum but she would have struggled with the distance. There is disabled parking right at the entrance to the festival though so I am sure we could have dropped her off if need be.

We collected our passes at huts that were clearly marked before the entrance to the Black Deer Festival

Passing through security was easy, I am sure there was an element of us being fairly late but they checked our bag and had a peek at the pushchair and we were in.

Black Deer Festival Review - Eridge Kent

Me and the Ls at their first festival – Black Deer Festival

Black Deer Festival is a cashless festival

I’m going to be honest, at first I thought I was going to have to take homemade wares and barter but no! The wristbands have a clever card attached that you top up and then, each time you buy something, tap your wrist on the card reader.

This would be a fantastic idea if the top up centre’s card readers hadn’t stopped working.

Unfortunately we ran out of money and needed to top up using our debit card but, as their card reader wasn’t working, we had to get cash from an ATM that charged an eye-watering £2.95 transaction fee. We will learn our lesson next time and put extra on as you can claim it back after the festival.

Fun for families at Black Deer Festival

We were over the moon with what was on offer for the “Young Folk” at Black Deer Festival. From the pianos and guitars dotted about encouraging young ones to make their own music to the arts and crafts stations. There were sweets being handed out in the circus tent, a zip wire and woodcrafts. There was something to entertain all the youngsters, even the teens were happy with the table tennis and other activities on offer.

Food and drink at Black Deer Festival

We sampled a few stalls at Black deer. The first was pizza as Big L cannot resist pizza! 

Let’s be honest food and drink at festivals is never cheap. A slice of margarita pizza was £6.50. A portion of veggie paella was £8 (it was bloody lovely by the way), one scoop of ice cream in a cone was £3. It wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t terrible either.

Most importantly…BEER! We ordered 2 pints and a lemonade and it was £14. The cups are reusable and carry a £1 deposit so the round without cups would have been £11 (look at me doing my maths all by myself!!). There was a wide range of drinks on offer, the guy ahead of me bought Pimms (that isn’t my idea of a festival tipple but each to their own) and there was a large variety of beers. ales, lagers, cider and shorts and mixers available.

Black Deer Festival

Cheers from Black Deer!

Music at Black Deer Festival

Black Deer has attracted some big names in 2019. Kris Kristopherson (who I’ve had a big crush on for the longest time, he was 83 this year…still would), Billy Bragg, Band of Horses, The Mavericks, The Shires and many, many more.

We enjoyed the different music in each area and the sound was great. Nowhere, apart from maybe the main stage area, felt overly busy. This isn’t because it wasn’t popular, just there was plenty of room to mill around.  

All in all we had a fabulous time at Black Deer. After all it wasn’t voted best new festival in 2018 for nothing!

The vibe was very laid back, the queue for the toilets was short (very important for people like me) and the atmosphere was very chilled.

There were families, couples and groups of people all mingling with each other and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

We didn’t camp, so I cannot comment on the camping I would certainly consider it for the future as if the festival itself was anything to go by camping would be a treat too (maybe next year).

Tickets are on sale for next year you can grab yours here

For our other days out reviews click here

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