The Downs is more than a music festival. Finding its beginnings in collaboration with Massive Attack in 2016, Team Love and Crosstown Concerts worked together with the landscape-changing group to build a music and information lineup around their 13-years-coming hometown show on Clifton Downs.
representing diverse, boundary-pushing artists alongside homegrown Bristol talent
Now a fully-fledged one-day festival, The Downs have remained true to their ambitions of representing diverse, boundary-pushing artists alongside homegrown Bristol talent; with this year’s lineup shaping up to be their best yet – featuring Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones, IDLES, Neneh Cherry and Loyle Carner, for starters.
a vital element of The Downs is its Information Stage
Alongside the music, a vital element of The Downs is its Information Stage, which hosts influential guest speakers and exhibitors, exploring some of the most pressing issues facing society today.
The Downs have just announced the programme for this year’s Information Stage, headlined by Dr. Saba Shafi of the brilliant Advocacy Academy – an organisation working to empower young people from marginalised communities in South London to become leaders and build a better future.
Trans activist Charlie Craggs also joins the bill, who caught the world’s attention with her Nail Transphobia campaign – a travelling pop-up nail salon that gives people around the UK a chance to have a conversation with a trans person in order to form a better understanding. The nail salon will also be in action in the exhibition area throughout the day.
looking at how race, feminism and popular culture intersect
Also part of the day’s discussions is Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible authors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uvibinene, looking at how race, feminism and popular culture intersect; spoken word artist, writer, TEDx speaker and Hammer & Tongue finalist Desree; and writer, columnist and recording artist Loki, who uses his own experience of poverty, addiction and homelessness to help give a voice to others with his hip hop youth project Volition Scotland.
Setting up camp in the exhibition space this year will be Extinction Rebellion, who will be explaining how the battle against climate change can be won, as well as Anagram (Make Noise), Oculus Go, Nail Transphobia, Caring in Bristol, Aid Box Community, Sleep Pods, Protect our NHS, Greenpeace and more.
Setting up camp in the exhibition space will be Extinction Rebellion
Once the sun sets the Information Stage will be once again transformed into an additional music stage dedicated to up and coming talent; and this year, it’s been lovingly curated by Bristol champions IDLES.
IDLES’ Joe Talbot says, ‘The mega babes of Downs Fest have asked us to pick some bands to play at The Information stage this year; we went for a lineup that was seamless and relentlessly beasty. They are all super-beauts. Don’t miss them. Power.’
we went for a lineup that was seamless and relentlessly beasty
Bristol’s own post hardcore band Milo’s Planes will open the stage, followed by Brighton quintet DITZ, who – in Joe Talbot’s words – are ‘the best band in Brighton and probably the world!’
South London new wave punks Talk Show will be up next, before riotous Bristol noise makers Heavy Lungs close the stage. Fronted by IDLES hit Danny Nedelko’s namesake, Heavy Lungs have propelled themselves into their own limelight and are considered by many the next heavy band set to blow up out of Bristol.
…the next heavy band set to blow up out of Bristol
Photos by Ania Shrimpton and Chris Cooper
31 August – The Downs, Clifton Downs