NEXT AT DOWNEND FOLK CLUB: SAM SWEENEY IN CONCERT

We are completely thrilled to be returning to in-venue concerts in May, and equally thrilled to welcome SAM SWEENEY as our guest. Sam will perform a rare solo gig in the beautiful surroundings of CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 21st May in front of a COVID-safe and socially-distanced audience of 60. The concert is already SOLD OUT, but Sam will also feature in the new-look "an hour or so" a couple of days later, on the Sunday evening.

Nominated four times, and winner in 2015, of Musician Of The Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Sam is a veteran of the mighty 11-piece, former and inaugural artistic director of the NATIONAL YOUTH FOLK ENSEMBLE, founder member of the acclaimed instrumental trio LEVERET, and "one of the defining English fiddle players of his generation" (Mark Radcliffe) at the forefront of the revival in English traditional music.

Sam has made two critically acclaimed solo albums (The Unfinished Violin and Unearth Repeat) and has also recorded and performed with THE FULL ENGLISHELIZA CARTHYJON BODEN & THE REMNANT KINGSFAY HIELDEMILY PORTMANMARTIN CARTHY, as well as his own critically acclaimed show Made In The Great War.

The concert will take place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 21st May 2021. Doors open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start. 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!

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NEXT AT DOWNEND FOLK CLUB ONLINE: AN HOUR OR SO WITH SAM SWEENEY

As part of our plan moving forward, we will also be sitting down for a cuppa and a bit of a natter with SAM SWEENEY when he visits us for the concert, as we continue with our hugely successful "an hour or so" online series in a slightly different way.

Your questions are invited but they must be submitted in advance... you can do that via email, Facebook message, Twitter, however you like. We'll select the best ones and put them to Sam, as well as finding out a bit more about his past and his plans for the future. We'll film a handful of the tunes Sam plays during the concert and stitch them together.

We'll then stream the resulting chat and tunes on Sunday 23rd May 2021, at 8.00pm on our FACEBOOK page and YOUTUBE channel. Do make sure that you've liked/followed/suscribed! We'll all be hanging out in the comments as we have for the last year, so we hope that, if you're one of our friends from further afield, or you're not ready to come back to in-venue gigs at the moment, you'll join us and continue to build the lovely online community that has formed around these events. But if you can't join us live, don't worry... it will be available to view for two weeks afterwards.

As always, these events are free to attend, but we will continue with an online tip-jar, which you can find via the link below. This will be treated as extra ticket money, so will directly benefit the artist. Please give generously if you can.

We'll continue these new monthly "an hour or so" sessions as long as people are watching and donating!

We are extremely excited to announce our plans for an online offering moving forward, as the world opens up a little bit.

We’re very aware, and utterly thrilled, to see that we’ve attracted followers from a much wider area than our little corner of Bristol over the last year, through our online “an hour or so with…” sessions, which have taken place on our Facebook page every Friday evening in each of the lockdowns (we had a little break for two in-venue gigs in September and October). We absolutely want to make sure we keep in touch with our new online friends over the coming months and years, but feel quite strongly that we don’t want to stream entire gigs from our venue (as those that can need to go back to their own local venue when they’re able to!).

So… here’s the plan: "AN HOUR OR SO WITH..." WILL CONTINUE!!! It will be on a monthly basis, and it will be slightly different, but it's staying for the foreseeable future! HOORAY!!!

Thank goodness Ant found his beard-trimmer since this "first-lockdown" photo...

At each of our concerts, which take place on the third Friday of every month apart from August, we’ll be filming a handful of the songs or tunes from the evening. We’ll also be sitting down with the headline artist for a bit of a chat and a Q&A. You’ll still be able to ask your own questions, but they’ll need to be sent in advance.

This selection of chat and songs will then be quickly edited together, and will appear on our FACEBOOK page and YOUTUBE channel (simultaneously) at 8.00pm on the Sunday following the gig. Make sure you've liked/followed/subscribed! We’ll still be there in the comments to hang out with you all and have a bit of a chat. The artist will also be in the comments where their commitments allow.

As always, these events will be free to attend with an online tip-jar. These donations will be treated as extra ticket money and will be split with the artist on that basis (which, for the avoidance of doubt, is very much in the favour of the artist, but not quite 100% as it was during lockdowns). The sessions will be available to view for a couple of weeks after the event in case you’re not able to make it on the Sunday.

So, we’ll be spending “an hour or so with...”: SAM SWEENEY on Sunday 23rd May; ELLIE GOWERS on Sunday 20th June; and LUKE JACKSON on Sunday 18th July. We do hope that you’ll join us and help to carry on this lovely new little community that we’ve formed. We'll be announcing our Autumn/Winter programme over the coming few weeks.

And for those a little closer to home, don’t forget that those three concerts are happening on the Friday beforehand. Sam's concert has already sold out, but there are a few left for Ellie (and her band) and Luke. See further down for more details.

 

The final guests in the latest series of weekly online events for lockdown will be MEGSON, who will join us for an hour or so of chat, with a few songs thrown in, on Friday 16th April.

Four times nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and double winners of the  Spiral Earth Awards Megson, aka Stu & Debbie Hanna, draw heavily on their Teesside heritage to create a truly unique brand of folk music. 

The husband & wife duo bring an infectious mix of heavenly vocals, lush harmonies and driving rhythmic guitars. Comprising Debs Hanna (Vocals, Whistle, Piano Accordion) and Stu Hanna (Guitar, Mandola, Banjo) Megson have gained fame on the British folk scene, not only for their arresting and intelligent songwriting, but for their exquisite musicianship and northern humour. As fRoots Magazine puts it, "if you don’t like the music here then you have a problem".

2019 saw the release of their much anticipated new studio album Contradicshun gaining them even more critical acclaim including Folk Album of the Week from The Sunday Times, "(O)ne of the albums of the year" from Rock 'n' Reel, while legendary folk  broadcaster Mike Harding said "Megson have brought out a constant stream of absolutely stunning albums over the years and this is no exception. A cracker of an album".

The focus of our "an hour or so" 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.

This will be the final "an hour or so" for the moment as we look forward to a return to socially-distanced concerts. We'll be announcing our online plans as part of this event, at around 9.00pm, so please do tune in to find out what's next... we're really pleased with what we've come up with!