First gig hits the right note

May 05 2014

A MUSIC club in Downend has managed to hit the right note after its first gig was voted a huge success.

Bright Season enthralled crowd at club's first gig

A MUSIC club in Downend has managed to hit the right note after its first gig was voted a huge success.

Downend Folk Club is a new venture which plans to bring good quality folk and acoustic music to the area.

The club’s first concert took place on Good Friday at Christ Church Downend and featured Sheffield trio Bright Season.

The committee expected to sell just 40 or 50 tickets for their inaugural venture but members were astounded to see at least 100 people there.

Founder Ant Miles, 37, said: “It was fantastic. We got far more people than we thought we were going to get. The response from the community has been amazing.

“We were gobsmacked. It just shows that people want access to good quality folk music, which is brilliant.”

Ant said the band went down really well with the crowd.

“Bright Season were incredible and I’m sure they will make a breakthrough and become one of the big names in folk music. They had everybody enthralled from the first note of the gig right through to the very end.

“One highlight was a song where the band used the church organ. You could hear a pin drop. It was amazing – a hairs on the back of your neck moment.”

Ant also revealed the club has enlisted Jim Moray as patron. Jim is a Bristol-based musician and is one of the biggest names on the folk scene in the country.

“He’s a very, very big name,” Ant said.

“We’re really thrilled he’s got involved. To have his involvement and input in the club is a real coup.”

And as if things couldn’t get better, the club has also announced that its Bella Hardy gig on May 16 at Frenchay Village Hall is a sell-out.

“The response has been astonishing,” Ant said.

“It shows there is an appetite for these sorts of gigs in the Downend area. We’ve been knocked sideways by the response.”

It’s unlikely to surprise many folk fans that the gig has sold out. Bella recently scooped the title of Folk Singer of the Year at BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards.

Bella, whose lyrical talent has been compared to the likes of Lennon and McCartney, is one of the leading female folk musicians in the country.

Also creating a buzz is the musician Ange Hardy who the club has secured for a gig on Friday June 20.

The up-and-coming singer/songwriter recently won the Fatea Magazine Female Vocalist of the Year award and tickets for her gig at Frenchay Village Hall have been selling well.

Ant said: “Ange Hardy has had a breakthrough few months. She has a new album which will be released in September and will be playing material from it at the concert in June.

“She’s just been played for the first time on the Folk Show on Radio Two and there’s a real buzz about her at the moment so we’re really excited about her gig.”

Future acts lined up to appear at Downend Folk Club include Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, Gren Bartley and Lucy Ward.

“They’re all big names in the folk world but we have some up and coming names booked in as well including Jennifer Crook who is from Downend so I’m excited about that gig.”

Ant said it was very much a case of so far, so good for the club.

“We want Downend Folk Club to be a club for local people,” Ant said.

“The big names will pull people from right across Bristol but the future of the club really does depend on local support and having a regular crowd of people that come along to most gigs. That’s what’s going to secure the future for us.”

To find out more about Downend Folk Club or to obtain tickets for any of the gigs visit www.downendfolkclub.co.uk or the club’s Facebook page. Tickets can also be purchased from Baguette Me Not in Badminton Road.