Once upon a time there was a little band called Bellowhead. They did a quite a few gigs and made a big noise. Perhaps you remember them?

RACHAEL McSHANE, who headlines Downend Folk Club’s June concert, was part of that eleven-strong line-up from start to finish, and as well as being the only female member, she was also hugely important in shaping the Bellowhead “sound”.

A singer, cellist, fiddle and viola player based in the North East of England, Rachael toured internationally with Bellowhead as well as making several TV appearances. Bellowhead recorded five studio albums, and won a total of eight BBC Folk Awards in their twelve years together. More recently, Rachael has been singing the role of Susannah Holmes in The Transports alongside The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Greg Russell and Matthew Crampton.

She is now working on a new solo project of traditional songs and is playing with a brand new band, THE CARTOGRAPHERS, featuring guitarist Matthew Ord (Assembly Lane) and melodeon player Julian Sutton (Kathryn Tickell, Sting), and it’s this band that she brings to South Gloucestershire this month.

The concert also sees us venturing to a new venue for the first time. With sales expected to sky-rocket, the club’s usual home of Frenchay Village Hall is too small, while our other, larger venue at Christ Church Downend is closed for renovation. So this month’s concert will be held at DOWNEND SCHOOL.

Opening the evening’s entertainment will be local four-piece ROAD NOT TAKEN, featuring the our very own Ant Miles on guitar, alongside vocalist Anita Dobson, fiddle-player Claire Hamlen and multi-instrumentalist Joe Hamlen.

The band, whose first ever gig was at Downend Folk Club, have gone on to build their profile both locally and nationally, playing their own brand of melancholy and menace. Highlights have included appearances at Oxford Folk Weekend and Priston Festival, and a debut album is due for release next year.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at Downend School on Friday 15th June 2018, are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN or online HERE. They are priced at £12 each in advance (£10 for members), or £14 on the door. There will be a full bar, stocking Severn Cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed real ale from Hambrook-based GREAT WESTERN BREWING CO., and also locally-made NAUGHTY BROWNIES. There will be the now-famous Stealth Raffle with prizes including CDs, gift boxes of beer and sweet treats. You are encouraged to bring your own glass/mug/tankard/bucket as part of our drive to be more environmentally aware.

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