We are truly thrilled to reveal our programme for Spring 2018.

It features a great mix of musical styles, including traditional, world, singer-songwriter and contemporary folk, as well as a nice balance of new, exciting acts and returning favourites.

Kicking us off on Friday 19th January will be BLAIR DUNLOP. The award-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist has now released three albums and toured widely around the globe. What sets Blair apart from his peers is the lyrical and musical maturity with which he writes. His third album ‘Gilded’ was released in May 2016. Support will come from KITTY MACFARLANE.

Returning for a second headline will be an act who have gone down as one of the most popular in our four year history… but with a new name. EDGELARKS - formerly known as Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin - first visited the club in April 2015, and now they’re back as they tour their new album of the same name. They’ll be headlining on Friday 16th February. Opening the evening will be IONA LANE.

HARRI ENDERSBY is a singer-songwriter based in the North East. We first met her when she opened for Moore, Moss, Rutter in January 2017, but as her profile continues to rise, we’ve invited her back for a headline slot on Friday 16th March, when she’ll be joined on stage by husband Rich Marsh on guitar and percussion. Getting us underway will be BEN ROBERTSON.

Rounding off the programme, on Friday 20th April, will be one of the most exciting acts on the UK scene at the moment. BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning duo THE RHEINGANS SISTERS, made up of Lady Maisery’s Rowan and her sister Anna, will be visiting South Gloucestershire as they tour their brand-new album ‘Bright Field’. Support will come from IAN A ANDERSON.

Tickets are priced between £11-£13 each in advance (£2 more on the door), while you can also take advantage of our Season Ticket for £48 and avoid booking fees.

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And now for something completely different…

Downend Folk Club’s November concert features one of the hottest properties on the music scene right now, and confirms the club’s commitment to bringing a diverse programme to the music lovers of South Gloucestershire.

GRACE PETRIE is a folk singer, songwriter, and activist from Leicester.

She first exploded on to the national protest scene in 2010 with the emotive anthem 'Farewell to Welfare', which captured perfectly the spirit of the new wave of dissent in austerity Britain. Since then, she has written, recorded and toured relentlessly. Her unique takes on life, love and politics, and the warmth and wit with which they are delivered have won over audiences everywhere, and she has quietly become one of the most respected and prolific songwriters working in the UK today.

Grace’s career boasts several studio albums, a dedicated fan base and national tours supporting Emmy the Great, Billy Bragg and comedians Robin Ince and Josie Long, as well as a string of festival appearances including regular visits to Latitude and Glastonbury. She has collaborated with some of the most respected names in folk, including Leon Rosselson, Roy Bailey and Peggy Seeger. She is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4’s the Now Show and has appeared on Channel 4’s Random Acts, and has been featured in The Guardian, Diva Magazine and the Independent on Sunday’s 2013 Pink List of influential LGBT figures.

Opening the evening’s entertainment will be GAVIN OSBORN.

Gavin is a humourous but heart-felt singer-songwriter, originally from Bedford but has resided in the Bristol/Bath area for several years. He's performed shows with comedian Daniel Kitson and supported Belle & Sebastian.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 17th November 2017, are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN or online HERE. Over half the tickets have already gone, so advance booking is HIGHLY recommended as a sell-out seems a certainty. Please note that this event is not suitable for under-14s.

There will be a full bar, stocking Severn Cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed real ale from Hambrook-based brewery GREAT WESTERN BREWING CO., and locally-made NAUGHTY BROWNIES. There will also be a raffle. You are encouraged to bring your own glass/mug/tankard/bucket as part of the our drive to be ecologically sustainable.

What’s in your Granny’s Attic? A stack of old 78s? Your Dad’s Subbuteo? A picture; slowly aging and showing the moral decay of an old lady? Some old rubbish? Or three frighteningly young, obscenely talented folk musicians who look as though they may have taken a wrong turn on their way to Fresher’s Week? Probably not the latter if we’re honest.

That, however, is precisely what this GRANNY'S ATTIC contains. Attacking traditional folk songs with boundless energy and the casual brilliance of youth Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, George Sansome and Lewis Wood give Downend Folk Club yet another glimpse of the future. And it’s a future you’d certainly want to visit. It’s hard to put in to words just how wonderful a violin, a guitar and a selection of squeeze boxes can sound but these three play with such joy and verve that it’s impossible not to get entirely carried away. Starting with a rollicking broadside featuring Nelson and Trafalgar the 'Wheels of the World' show us what we have in store. Earthy three part harmonies, effortless musicianship and a trawl through the obscure outer reaches of Folk Song.

It’s hard to believe that it was three years ago that Granny’s Attic were nominated for the BBC Young Folk Award. It’s even harder to believe that they didn’t win it.  

Despite the fact that their combined ages are approximately equal to the average age of the audience Granny’s Attic know their trad from their Elbow. The set is littered with ballads and broadsides, collected songs and Morris tunes. There are songs that are hundreds of years old and freshly minted dance tunes. Each one conjuring a particular event or a time long gone but each, just like every good folk tune should, containing a seed of the contemporary.

Take 'What I Saw in my Dream...' for instance. A song of folk whimsy but with words exposing social ills and righteous anger. Sadly some of those 19th century problems don’t seem so very different from our own.

Particularly brilliant were the instrumental tunes. Mostly written by violinist Wood they swirl around beautifully. Taken from the latest album, 'Lazy House/Right Under the Bridge' was so joyous, ridiculously infectious and a total delight. Feet tapped, hands clapped and faces smiled.

The feeling that you’re left with from Granny’s Attic is that these three really mean it. There’s no polite polish, no nod to those that find folk a bit "difficult" and no tired cover of the 60s legends. Quite frankly they are all the better for that.

Before this hard-core folk fest local trio EMBER offered a wonderful set of original songs. Mike Richards sings and plays guitar on thoughtful, sensitive acoustic numbers with Meg Batch’s beautiful violin and Hajnalka Deak’s understated piano weaving them together in to something lovely.  Their new EP, 'Paintings', was heavily plundered but it is clearly packed with excellent songs that you would want to re-visit.

So, Granny’s Attic then? Full of promise, joy and verve. And nothing weird. Or rubbish.


Words: Gavin McNamara

Photo: Alan Cole