January 2020: Downend Folk Club Review 2019

January 15 2020

Since humble beginnings in 2014, Downend Folk Club has continued to go from strength to strength this year, as now well-established as one of best clubs in the country, with sell out audiences continuing to flock to their various venues for each monthly concert.
The club has featured some of the top names from the UK folk scene and beyond, including BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners and some of the best emerging acts during the last 12 months alone.
The year has also seen the club continue to use two venues, with Downend School featuring for bigger concerts, alongside their regular home at Frenchay Village Hall; while the club also returned to Christ Church Downend for a Christmas Special featuring The Jackie Oates Band in December.
The year kicked off with a visit from singer-songwriter Gavin Osborn, with his unique brand of storytelling in song, sharp observational wit and political comment. February featured the highlyrated trio of Alden, Patterson & Dashwood at yet another sold out Frenchay Village Hall, while the returning (and now extremely well-known, thanks to a certain TV programme) duo of O’Hooley & Tidow was one of the quickest-selling and best-received concerts the club has ever seen. The Spring programme was completed traditional duo The Askew Sisters, touring their first album in five years.
Another traditional act, The Dovetail Trio, kicked off the summer programme, before BBC Horizon Award-nominated Kitty Macfarlane and the highly-impressive Jack Rutter featured ahead of the Summer break.
The club squeezed in an extra gig in early-September, as local favourites Road Not Taken rounded off their first UK tour with a special album launch show, before the club returned to Downend School to take in bluegrass for the first time, expertly delivered by Midnight Skyracer, who are now gaining a world-wide reputation. Georgia Lewis brought her full band to headline the October event, while November saw the club back at Downend School for an energetic night with Scottish firebrands Talisk, performing to one of the club’s biggest audiences ever… it sold out with three weeks to go! And it was in the magical surroundings of the newly-refurbished Christ Church Downend that the year ended in superb, and fittingly folky, fashion.
The club has also continued its commitment to supporting up-and-coming artists with support slots for the likes of Katerine Priddy, Molly-Anne, Nick Hart, Louis Campbell, Ellie Gowers and Calum Gilligan and Rosie Hodgson, alongside seasoned performers like Mike Weaver and local acts including Charlie Limm.
“It’s been such an amazing year, probably our best yet” chairman Ant Miles told Downend Voice. “When we started the club, back in April 2014, I had no idea how successful it would prove to be, and I’m constantly astounded by the quality acts that we’re able to bring to the club.”
“Of course, none of this happens without the very hard-working committee and a team of committed volunteers, but the biggest thank you is the area’s music lovers… if they don’t buy tickets, we don’t exist… it’s that simple!”
The club’s spring 2020 programme has already been announced, and features Odette Michell, Gilmore & Roberts, Salt House and the hugely-popular India Electric Co.
For further information about Downend Folk Club, please visit their website, www.downendfolkclub.co.uk, find the club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or email downendfolkclub@live.com.