• Katie Titus

New Friends, Old Friends

Black Deer's debut festival was an event a lot of students will never forget or still cannot fathom. Considering the Country and Americana frenzy is less than a week away, it's hard to think anyone is completely prepared for the history about to be made; as the cowboy boots come out of retirement ready to dance the night and day away.

Although, we are cannot be any more excited yet composed for the weekend ahead. This is only thanks to Black Deer as they have interrogated us even more into the process with a constant a ray of workshops and visits from old and new friends.

Since our last update we have been tremendously fortunate to have Bev Burton (Black Deer's booking agent) and Emma Reynolds (Main Stage's co-ordinator and coincidently, Glastonbury's infamous Pyramid stage manager.) Also, hotshots The Wandering Hearts and Treetop Flyers. We were even fortunate enough to have a revisit from the SupaJam 2018 stage's country gal Sonia Leigh who visited alongside singer-songwriter Daphne Willis.

Starting the workshop and visiting mania off though was none other than the lady who puts the quality line-ups together - Bev Burton; who came in to assist us in picking the line-up for next weeks festival. Next up was the humble experience of Emma Reynold's who spoke to us about her whole journey and what was new in regards to our stage.

During her visit, Emma explained how it ''was really good timing'' in regards to Black Deer's launching last year as being part of Glastonbury could have meant she may not have been able to be apart of the family-friendly festival.

''It was as if the stars aligned''.

With this in mind, her words of wisdom to all of us certainly hit home as she explained how music is ''a great escape'' and to try and always recognise ''opportunities and make the most of them.''

It's certainly true what they say 'friends are hard to come by' and in this industry opportunities can be too, so supporting each other even in your busiest moments is crucial. So you can imagine our surprise when we had Sonia Leigh revisit with first-time visitor Daphne Willis to jam and speak all things music and the industry.

The circle is definitely expanding as the continuous support grows stronger from a variety of new and established artist such as The Wandering Hearts and Treetop Flyers.

Beginning with The Wandering Hearts who have exclusively been asked to return this year as part of the Deerly Beloved - a small group of acts who were extremely successful with festival goers last year. We have all been left blown away from not only their music but charm as well as students gathered round to meet the terrific trio.

Let's not forget Treetops Flyers performance and Q and A where they performed impeccably, as the crowd became bewitched by their Country Americana vibe. Nevertheless, their modesty shone through as they expressed their career highlight was being able to still do what they loved and how it ''was an honour to be asked to come back.'' Also, word on the grapevine is they ''might do a couple of new songs''.

All inclusive, the whole experience has touched so many students as one thing which some of us have not always had is self-belief, so being able to have this golden opportunity has really helped with a variety of personal challenges. I do believe there is no other way to explain it other than how Reid Morrison has previously said 'music changes lives'.

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