Usually every event at our local Folk Club has a good support act and a great main act, and the concert on Friday 15th July was no exception.

The evening's entertainment was started by LARA CONLEY, who gave a lovely set which started with a song accompanied with a Bodhran, a percussion instrument that produced a tremendous sound. A very good solo performance from an artist who usually performs with others.

Photo: Chris Dobson

The main act was a real treat for young and old. A young man who showed a great depth of knowledge of music going back to the 60’s. SUNJAY's performance was smattered with old and new songs and done in a very proficient and professional manner. His mastery of his guitar was noteworthy and very accomplished... he has been playing since he was four years old! His voice was commanding and full, which showed his enthusiasm and passion for his work.

His music is a unique blend between blues and folk and done in a way that involved and captured the audience’s appreciation and full admiration. For anyone who missed this concert, missed a real treat and from a man who I think will go far in the music industry in the future. 

Finally we would all like to wish Ant a speedy recovery from his short stay in hospital!

- John Press, DFC regular

Here’s a little secret: ‘Downend Folk Club’ was ALMOST called ‘Downend & Frenchay Folk, Blues and Acoustic Club’. Quite a mouthful, which was only one (there were a few!) of the reasons that the organisers settled on the simpler title. 

But folk and blues have always been comfortable bedfellows, and July’s headline guest proves that this great local live music venue are committed to bringing you the best up-and-coming performers from the very edges of the ‘folk’ genre.

You could be forgiven for thinking, at first listen, that SUNJAY is older than his 22 years.

With a relaxed and confident manner, vocal style and mastery of his instrument he walks onto stage and addresses the audience as though he is sitting down to play music with a group of close friends; a completely natural approach for a young man who picked up the guitar when he was just 4 years old and hasn’t put it down since.

Sunjay’s style has that natural drift between folk and blues and both camps have recognised his obvious flair. There have been a clutch of award nominations, including winning the Wath Festival Young Performers Award. He also made the final selection for the BBC’s Young Folk Award in 2012, had three nominations at the Exposure Music Awards 2014 and was also recognised by the 2014 British Blues Awards.

Drawing from a rich, musical and cultural background, it is hardly surprising that Sunjay has quickly become recognised as one of the UK’s rising stars. His performances have been described as “mature & confident”, while his guitar playing has been hailed as “superb, brilliant, experienced, intricate & faultless”. Sunjay clocked over a hundred tour dates in 2013 supporting the likes of Steeleye Span, Martin Simpson, Passenger, and Terry Reid. With three albums already to his name, (‘Seems So Real’ in 2011, ‘One Night Only’ in 2013 and 'Sunjay' in 2014) Sunjay has just recorded his fourth release, ‘Black & Blues’ and his gig at Downend Folk Club is part of the official album release tour.

Downend Folk Club’s Steve Johnson said: “We’ve always tried to put on a range of music, and we’ve featured blues-type acts in the past. Gren Bartley was an early guest, and Chris Cleverley last summer showed that our audience have an appetite for the bluesier end of folk. Sunjay is one of the forefront acts that straddles the narrow divide between folk and blues. It promises to be a great gig!”

Support on the evening will come from LARA CONLEY. Lara's career has been a mix of solo and collaborative work as well as being a featured vocalist on the works of other bands including Audible, The Summertides and Slow Falling Sun. 

Unifying all these works are the central threads of equality, tradition, stories, songs and protests. Lara wrote an album in support of the global gender equality movement 'Thursday's In Black' and was recently involved in running a workshop tent at Thirteen Moons Festival with Seventh Wave Music.

After her solo album 'Apple Tree', Lara formed the collaborative folk world fusion duo 'The Alchemist's Wardrobe' who are currently touring the UK; Lara’s appearance at Downend Folk Club is a rare chance to see her perform solo. 

The event takes place at Downend Folk Club’s regular home of Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 15th July. Doors open at 7.30pm, with the music starting at around 8.00pm. There will be a full bar, serving locally-brewed Great Western Brewing Co. real ale, Severn Cider, wine and a full range of soft drinks, tea and coffee. You are encouraged to bring your own glass/mug/tankard/bucket(!) as part of the club’s drive to be environmentally sustainable. There will also be the classic folk club raffle! For more info, please visit the Downend Folk Club website,, or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and any other social media platform that you happen to frequent!

Tickets for the event are priced at £11 each, but if you buy before Friday 8th July, you can get them for the ‘Early-Bird’ price of just £9 each. Tickets are available from Melanie’s Kitchen in Downend or online from Members tickets are a bargain £8 each (before Friday 8th July) and are available from the Members Area of the website or direct from the folk club’s chairman Ant Miles. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

We are thrilled to reveal our programme for Autumn/Winter 2016. it’s jam-packed full of the finest folk musicians in the country… so much so that we honestly believe it’s our best yet!

Kicking off the programme in September will be the incredible LEVERET, which features three of England's finest folk musicians in an exciting new collaboration. Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron are each regarded as masters of their instrument and together their performances combine consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity.

Returning to the club in October will be a firm DFC favourite, this time as part of an exciting new duo. ANGE HARDY & LUKAS DRINKWATER formed as a duo for the 14-night tour that accompanied the multi-award winning ‘Esteesee’, and their appearance at the club will be part of an October tour of their new duo album ‘Findings’.

Our headliners in November will be the spellbinding LADY MAISERY, as they too tour a new album, ‘Cycle’. With their unique approach to harmony singing and thoughtful, striking arrangements of both traditional repertoire and original compositions, Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans are skilful explorers of the power, beauty and vitality of folk song. Each member is also an accomplished instrumentalist; they expertly create a rich tapestry of fiddle, banjo, harp, concertina, accordion and foot percussion.

Rounding off the programme as part of their annual Winter tour will be BELSHAZZAR’S FEAST, a duo hailed by R2 Magazine as “a bona fide English classic”. In 1995 Paul Hutchinson (accordion) and Paul Sartin (oboe, violin and vocals) shared a musical passion borne out of the desire to earn sufficient money to support their extravagant lifestyles. Their amazing musicianship coupled with wry humour has stunned audiences around Europe and the States.

As you've come to expect, we've also got some great support acts lined-up as we welcome THE HUT PEOPLE to open proceedings for Leveret in September, MIKE WEAVER supporting Ange & Lukas in October, while ASHLAND will kick off Lady Maisery's show in November. The final support slot of the year will be provided by Bristol-based old-time string band THE NINETREE STUMBLERS (in duo form) in December.

Tickets for each event are £14 each, but each one is available for an 'Early Bird' rate of £12 up to the Friday before each gig. available online now here. And we’ve listened to your feedback, too, so now, for the first time, you can purchase a ‘Season Ticket’, which gets you tickets for all four gigs in one easy move, which you can get here, but be quick... it will only be available until Friday 9th September. Due to the high-profile artists we’re bringing you, we’re anticipating a huge number of tickets to go quite quickly, so early-booking is strongly recommended.


We hope you’ll be as thrilled with this programme as we are!