Deer Shed is far from your average festival. Of course, given its fondness for arts and crafts, it’s still completely acceptable to strut around the site in Glastonbury-style clobber and sequin-embellished face paint. But either way, the three-day, environmentally-minded North Yorkshire event promises a wide array of activities for all ages to enjoy.
Of course, certain comedy sketches and shows will be more tailored towards adults, but if you’re keen to go with the family, prepare for the youngsters to be dazzled by the variety of sports to get stuck into and science demos on offer. Theatrical and even spoken-word performances are on the agenda, too.
But this is Record Weekly after all, so you’re here for a preview of the music, right? The Hanglands team* has been busy orchestrating and promoting Deer Shed’s plethora of acts that will play across four stages: Main, In The Dock, Lodge and Acorn. To help you plan your schedule, I’ve pulled out a flavour of the bands and artists to get royally giddy about seeing, and I’ve laid them out in day order.
The mystifyingly unique, deeply dark pop tones of one of the first headliners, Nadine Shah, will kick off the festival. But a hugely successful 2022 export, Yard Act, are hotly tipped to bring their pacy blend of indie to the schedule.
For mood-lifting Motown bliss, the Scottish soul singer, Brooke Combe, is one of the most enticing names on the list for me. Her vintage R&B style has got let’s-get-this-party-started energy written all over it, so that girl bopping along in the crowd will absolutely be me.
Low-key London indie-rockers Bleach Lab are a must-see, and I can’t wait to hear the ultra-groovy ‘Sick & Tired’ from Lime Garden, too. Hailing from a laid-back Welsh locale, six-piece CVC have a licence to make you dance to their uptempo riffs and rhythms, before the likes of Lemyn & Sally Bryant and Rory Hoy seize the decks and DJ the rest of the night away.
Proper pop fiend? Not ashamed to admit it? When Self Esteem’s involved, it’s not up for negotiation — you need to shake off your inhibitions and just dance. The sugary sheen of Rebecca Taylor’s uber-popular voice, drum beats and catchy hooks is undeniable. She’s all for prioritising pleasure, after all… And while you’re in that kind of zone, CMAT is another artist you’ll be very into.
The gentle jangles of John Grant’s guitars ought to reel you in for another headline set, then mix up the ante entirely with the jazzy hip-hop leanings of Alfa Mist. Finally catching his soothing, oft-sampled material will be a blessing.
Saturday’s indie-rock soft-serves come in the form of Honeyglaze and deathcrash, though the latter are progressively heavier. Meanwhile, energetic, electronic dance is assured when you get happy with disco-ready Porij and contemporary-instrumental-led Plantfood. And if that wasn’t eclectic enough, folky singer-songwriter Elanor Moss will command your attention in the most delicate of ways.
Don’t want to turn in just yet? Stay on your feet for Deptford Northern Soul Club’s DJ set.
Classic Record Weekly: totally unable to shut up about The Mysterines. I feel I’ve given fair warning on that score before though? Regardless, the seductively alluring Liverpudlian heavy-rockers will be taking Deer Shed by storm and banishing all those Sunday scaries within seconds. If you’ve somehow blinked and missed their enormous debut album, ‘Reeling’, I guarantee you’ll be very well aquatinted by the end of the weekend.
‘Default’ takes me right back to 2012 courtesy of Django Django, so you can bank on me having a throwback moment or two when they come to the front on the Sunday. There’s a funky-fresh feel to Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard’s trademark tracks, while Bull and Pip Blom both package up wholesome indie, just in different, oh-so-characterful ways. Leeds’ Van Houten? They’ve more than got slacker pop covered.
Before Ash Kenazi presents Popperz, Clara Mann, Jack Francis and ME REX will have more fun to bring you, too.
Whether you’re yet to secure your tickets or you’re already bought and paid for, I for one look forward to everything that Deer Shed will bring!
*With thanks to Hanglands for the press access