Live Report: Black Deer Festival Highlights

Back from the fields with stories to tell...

Having now returned from the fields at Black Deer Festival we have pulled together some of our favourite musical moments from an incredible weekend of live music, great food and lovely people.

Wilco: Wilco delivered a rootsy and mellow set, true to the essence of Americana. The set let revellers delve into luxuriant instrumental passages as eloquent as Tweedy’s thoughts. Their music is full of hard-lived wisdom of the lessons on life. Their exquisite discography offers up passages of love songs, country ballads and political poetry. They craftily combine upbeat instrumentation with longing lyrics that address themes that root out the best and worst of society. Wilco were to be the last act that night as downpour sent festival goers flocking back to their tents, all leaving in high spirits. 

Van Morrison: Van Morrison shook off any hangovers on the Sunday, delivering his very own masterclass with pinpoint arrangements and lyrics from the heart. It was a joy to see the shear splendour on an all-adoring crown bewildered to be in the presence of a true musical hero.  The highlight of the set, which also reflects his longstanding legacy, is his re-imagination of songs. Tracks like Gloria are injected with a new lease of life. 

Amy Montgomery: Belfast Star Amy Montgomery’s delivered a stellar performance with raucous vocals that echo way beyond the main arena. Her story is inspiring, having used the loss of her mother at 16 as a catalyst to take her music forward. She shares after her set: “It’s days like this that inspire you to continue along the somewhat sometimes difficult musical path,” she says, “strengthening the faith in myself and what I’m projecting.”

Israel Nash: Israel Nash was joined by Curtis Roush of The Bright Light Social Hour, who execute a standout set with a tangible chemistry that sets the stage alight. The gospel-flavoured backing vocals provide a soulful feel that floods on the festival faithful, smiles all round. 

The London African Gospel Choir: The London African Gospel Choir interpretation of Paul Simon’s seminal Graceland was perhaps the highlight of the festival. The performance celebrated the albums thirty-fifth anniversary. “You Can Call Me AI.” sent fans into a frantic dervish, being met with a standing ovation that marked the perfect weekend.

Tickets for next year’s Black Deer Festival are on sale now HERE. Don’t miss out!

Words: Josh Crowe

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