Now in its fourth year, Deerstock has grown from a hamlet to a rather large village and is getting closer to a township with each reincarnation. The past three festivals have been very well received and have sported a superb array of local and not so local bands and artists, and this year was no exception. The layout was pretty much the same as last year with the addition of a few more food outlets, a larger children’s area and a few more stalls selling all sorts of
Friday kicked off with Black Rose Garden at around six o’clock and Deerstock 2015 was under way. There were a couple of bands present from last year with new starters Dick Venom and the Terrortones taking the honours with the crowd, although the headliners of the night New Groove Formation had the revellers dancing at the end. Other highlights for the first day saw Paige Seabridge on the Glade stage take us back with her own brand of 40’s style entertainment, Curly & The Moot on the small Dining Chairs stage and another surviver from last year Cadets also well on the main Antler stage.
Saturday brought some lovely sunshine with it, and also some welcome talent with it too in the guise of young Nottingham act No Disco! Only having a few tracks to their name, they smashed the Antler stage to bits with some brilliant indie-style 80’s guitar-ridden sounds that really should have graced the Antler a lot later. Immediately afterwards 94 Gunships re-appeared and also blitzed the Antler with another good showing of note. The highlight of the day on the Antler, however, had to be Lois, four lads from Nottingham who, having released their debut album this year proved their worth by stepping up in class from the rest of the pack and delivering a superb set, although it seemed a little puzzling why their stage time was cut short compared to other bands? They weren’t deterred though and crammed it full of tracks from ‘The Polperro Horse Bus Company’ album.
A bit later, and some say that the organisers got the list wrong again, Funke and the Two Tone Baby got the crowd up and dancing with a remarkable one man band set. When you mention a one man band to peeople, they automatically think of bells on ankles and such like, but not this chap. Complete with loops and other gadgetry, Funke funked and the people danced and the party was in full flow.
Blackballed, having done well last year, played a storming rock and roll set, and, with the late cancellation of Doggen who was supposed to be headlining on the Antler, Electric River detoured halfway from Norwich to somewhere north to fill the gap and finished Saturday at the Antler in good style. The night, however, ended there with the crowd still wondering how Funke didn’t get the last slot.
The Dining Chairs stage played host to Blue Vulture, which included a member of the Deerstock team, and then crowd favourites the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican who were in mourning after the loss of their namesake. That didn’t put them off though, and they entertained the crowd and the devil with some alternative Abba songs. Jake Smallbones and Adam Thompson meanwhile graced the Glade, with their set which again went on into the night.
Sunday began as it finished. It was wet! The rain didn’t stop all day but the crowd stayed and danced in the mire. Ilkeston rockers Parasight kicked off as they did last year on the Antler. There was a definite punk flavour here as the Fanzines and Dirty Vertebrae did the business. The highlight of the day though for me were Seas of Mirth. This group of debauched and maniacal buccaneers have been plundering the British Isles for years, and finally got washed up on Deerstock island to the delight of the soaking onlookers. They were great fun! The night closed as it did last year with charity favourites Ferocious Dog.
On the Dining Chairs stage there was a bit of middle order mayhem as the stage couldn’t cope with the onslaught of rain it seemed. Two of the bands had to swap to the Antler with the Dining Chairs stage organizers making the excuse that the stage was too small. The Madeline Rust were the top act I feel on that stage. Roy Stone, however, did his usual best entertaining the Glade fans early on, and Tara Milward and KT Ana were also sonically superb a little later on.
All in all it was another success. The festival was much busier than last year even through the downpour on the Sunday, and, with £15,000 being raised for charity, it is no wonder that it is once again being nominated for Best Small Festival, which it should have won last year. This year will be different, I think. A big thanks to Pennyblackmusic favourite Jed Southgate for organizing the event again with his hoards of helpers. Marvellous!
Photos by Dave Goodwin