We're excited to reveal that the next artist to join us for "an hour or so" on a Friday evening will be JON WILKS, who will be our guest on Friday 2nd April... it should be a very Good Friday indeed!

A former journalist (editor of Time Out magazine in Tokyo and Abu Dhabi and writer for The Guardian, Dazed & Confused, plus plenty more), Jon spent years interviewing famous musicians and digging into the stories behind the creative aspects of people's lives. In about 2016, while trying to find out a bit more about his recently deceased father's life, Jon visited Cecil Sharp House for the first time, having had his interest piqued by his uncle and aunt. Jon was told that his grandparents had "courted" there, so was interested to find out more about it. He already knew a little about it, having been a Martin Carthy and Watersons fan since his late teenage years, so he was keen to put two and two together. 

Having been a guitarist since the age of eight, and having played in countless bands in the UK and Japan, Jon also wanted to engage with the music himself, with the thought that this was essential to understanding it better. Jon recorded videos of some of the songs he was writing about on his Grizzly Folk blog, which then turned into a little side project, eventually becoming the first of three traditional albums Jon has released so far: Songs from the Attic, Midlife and Up the Cut. Jon has also released an EP (The Trial of Bill Burn Under Martin's Act, which features Nick Hart and Mikey Kenney) and a standalone single (Mary Ashford's Tragedy, featuring Katherine Priddy). Between lockdowns Jon helped Jackie Oates to make an album of traditional children's songs for a computer programme company, so it has been a busy four years or so!

The focus of our "an hour or so with..." events is very much on chat, although each guest will play a few live songs too. You are invited to ask questions in the comments, so it is very interactive... the more people watch and engage, the better it will be for everyone. The events are free, although there is a PayPal donations box, with 100 per cent of the donations (after PayPal charges) going direct to the guest. You can donate at www.paypal.me/downendfolkclub. There's also a link at the bottom of this page.

We’ll keep these sessions going for as long as we’re locked inside. Watch this space, and do sign up for our mailing list HERE to make sure that you don’t miss anything.

Well, at times it felt like this day might never come (and we're still very much crossing our fingers!) but we're going to try and go ahead with our Summer Programme for 2021.

All concerts will take place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND (which allows for a larger socially-distanced capacity of around 60). We'll do everything we need to to make them safe, and you can buy tickets with confidence, as we will offer full refunds (minus booking fees, nothing we can do about that, sorry!) in the event that these concerts are not able to go ahead.

And, even if we say so ourselves, we've got quite the lineup. Kicking things off on Friday 21st May will be SAM SWEENEY, who will perform a rare solo gig... surely a beautiful thing in the atmospheric surroundings of the church.

Friday 18th June will see us welcome ELLIE GOWERS, who has made quite a breakthrough over the last six months despite the obvious challenges. Ellie will be joined on-stage by Alex Garden (violin) and Lukas Drinkwater (double-bass).

And rounding off the Summer will be LUKE JACKSON, whose incredible voice and guitar-playing will raise the church roof on Friday 16th July. This one was already in the diary, rescheduled from last Summer.

***PLEASE READ THE BELOW INFORMATION CAREFULLY BEFORE PURCHASING TICKETS ***

Tickets for all three concerts are on-sale now, priced at £15 each. We know that this is slightly higher than before the pandemic, but we hope you'll appreciate the challenges that we face in getting these events to happen. Capacity is strictly limited to a maximum of 60 for each concert, and they're sure to sell fast so don't delay. You must select a downstairs or balcony ticket, and it really helps if you buy in groups of two or more (we appreciate that isn't possible for everyone, but we'll be pleased if you invite someone in your "bubble").

Please note that some of the things you're used to at Downend Folk Club will not be available at these concerts. There will be no bar, so you are invited to bring your own refreshments and take the debris away with you afterwards. There will also be no raffle. Finally, there won't be a support act at these events so they'll likely finish a little earlier than pre-pandemic. We will, of course, hope to re-instate these things if and when we're able to. You will need to bring a face-mask and your own hand-sanitiser. There are toilets but access is limited... so please try to go before you arrive!

If restrictions change (in either direction), we will of course react and change things when we can... e.g. if social distancing is relaxed we will make further tickets available, etc. But we're putting them on-sale like this for the moment... watch this space, and make sure you're signed up to our mailing list HERE.

Finally, please note that these gigs are "in person" only; they will not be streamed, either live or at a later date. But fear not, our new nationwide and international online followers... we'll not abandon you! We're working on an online plan to cater for those that have discovered us during lockdowns.

Doors for each concert will open at 7.30pm and we'll aim to begin the music at 7.45pm.

BUY TICKETS

NOTE: As you'll realise after reading the news above, the rescheduled INDIA ELECTRIC CO. concert, originally scheduled for April 2020 and then rescheduled to June this year, alas will again not be possible this time. We have a new date in the diary: Friday 20th May 2022. All tickets for the original date remain valid. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your options.

We continue our series of online events for this latest lockdown on Friday 26th March as we are joined on our Facebook page for an hour or so by FAY HIELD, whose latest album Wrackline was one of the stand-out releases of last year.

Born and raised in Yorkshire, folk artist and academic Fay seemed destined to carve a career in traditional folk music. Growing up in the famous Bacca Pipes Folk Club in Keighley, Fay formed a bond of community and tradition that would go on to inspire. A singer who seems to have been born knowing how to carry a tune, but with the rarer gift of knowing how to go straight to the heart of a song, she combines vision, inspiration and outstanding musicianship into a fresh and original exploration of how we use songs, stories and music to understand what it means to be human. Fay breathes new life into timeless stories.

Fay released her latest album Wrackline last year. Exploring ideas of the space between, Wrackline looks to ghosts, fairies, spirits and talking animals to understand what it is about the unknown that entrances us. Working with traditional materials, and developing them with new compositions, Fay explores the feelings they evoke and how they relate to her experience in the contemporary world. Universal ideas of death, love, motherhood echo through time and space. The songs on Wrackline play with these difficult ideas through the eyes of an unobtainable other, whether that be the dearly departed, a fairy from another realm, or the thoughts of animals, gives us space to work through very real social problems. Shifting between lighthearted stories about drunks sitting with pigs, to darker questions about infanticide, Fay breaths life and meaning into old stories presenting them with a fresh twist.

The focus of our "an hour or so with..." events is very much on chat, although each guest will play a few live songs too. You are invited to ask questions in the comments, so it is very interactive... the more people watch and engage, the better it will be for everyone. The events are free, although there is a PayPal donations box, with 100 per cent of the donations (after PayPal charges) going direct to the guest. You can donate at www.paypal.me/downendfolkclub. There's also a link at the bottom of this page.

We’ll keep these sessions going for as long as we’re locked inside. Watch this space, and do sign up for our mailing list HERE to make sure that you don’t miss anything. We might just have an exciting announcement coming up, too...