Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones and IDLES announced for The Downs

The Downs have dropped their first lineup announcement and we can scarcely believe our eyes

The Downs is heading into its third year this August and their first lineup announcement has blown previous years right out of the water. They’ve planned an unbelievable 10 hours of live music, headlined by one of hip hop’s all-time greatest, Ms. Lauryn Hill. 

The Fugees singer, rapper and five times Grammy award-winning solo artist marks The Downs’ first female headliner. Created by Bristol dream team Crosstown Concerts and Team Love, The Downs are conscious to diversify their offering and put on a festival of substance, rather than rounding up the biggest names on the tour circuit each year. The lineup so far spans drum and bass to (not punk) rock music, with a strong female showing and a suitably Bristol vibe.  

The Downs are conscious to diversify their offering and put on a festival of substance 

Next on the bill is Jamaican-American singer, songwriter, producer, model, actress and all-round icon Grace Jones – who makes for a massive headliner herself. The disco queen has been an inspiration to non-conforming musicians such as Nile Rogers and Lady Gaga over her four-decade career, as well as inspiring artists and individuals the world over. Grace Jones is coming to The Downs for a rare UK performance. This is not a drill. 

This is not a drill

Bristol’s IDLES will also be taking to the main stage, playing to their biggest home crowd yet. Toiling the Bristol scene since 2009, IDLES have finally spilled over into national consciousness – receiving a nomination for Breakthrough Act at this year’s Brit Awards. Their second album Joy as an Act of Resistance is one of the best albums released last year and you can be pretty sure their set at The Downs will be well-attended by their legions of fans (shout out to AF Gang) from Bristol and beyond.


Also confirmed is UK hip hop game changer Loyle Carner, whose intelligent blend of hip hop, jazz and soul saw his debut album nominated for the Mercury Prize. The UK rapper has been selling out shows in Bristol for years, and takes the headline spot on The Downs’ second stage.

If that wasn’t enough, The Downs have also confirmed Bristol darling and Massive Attack collaborator Neneh Cherry, Nightmares on Wax, The High Contrast Band and Crazy P.

2019 will also see the return of the all-important Information Stage, which invites high profile guest speakers to talk about a range of important social and political issues, with previous guests including Ken Loach and Akala. By night, this will be transformed into another music stage featuring some fresh new talent, as selected by some of Bristol’s most experienced promoters.

Tickets go on sale on Friday 8 March and will be available via or in person from 8am at Bristol Ticket Shop. Once again, reduced price tickets will be available to anyone unemployed or on income support. These can be bought in person from Bristol Ticket Shop for just £29.50 (supporting documentation and ID required).

Photo by Ania Shrimpton

31 August – The Downs, Clifton Downs

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