Features / The Downs Festival 2017

Preview: The Downs Festival 2017

By anya keiller, Friday Aug 25, 2017

It’s not just music on offer at the upcoming Downs Festival on Saturday, September 2 – though the calibre of bands at the one-day festival is a fitting follow-on from last year’s headliners Massive Attack.

This year’s headliners are Elbow, whose visit to Bristol coincides with their recently-released seventh album Little Fictions. With their performances often backed by swelling strings sections and live orchestral accompaniment, the only question will be how they’ll all fit on the stage.

Besides Elbow, the main stage offers a lineup including American blues musician Seasick Steve and legendary hip-hop trio De La Soul.

Other musicians to catch on the main stage are Soul II Soul, who topped the charts with 1989’s Back to Life, up-and-coming London-based Ibibio Sound System, singer Keir and American rock band The Districts.

On the second stage are Groove Armada who will bring their high-energy performance, reggae and dancehall DJ David Rodigan MBE, Massive Attack’s Daddy G with Bristol Hi-Fi, alongside Bristol-bred Queen Bee, mash-up master Mr Benn and Soul Liberation.

Other highlights include Guyanese dub music producer Mad Professor, who is known for his original productions and remix work, and Mike Skinner of The Streets.

As a final nod to Bristol’s musical heritage, Roni Size will use the opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his Mercury award-winning debut album New Forms.

On the Information Stage, ticket holders will have the opportunity to get involved with social and political debates.

The lineup of speakers include rapper Akala, who is well known by his audiences both for his music and TED talks; Suhiymah Mazoor-Khan, author of The Brown Hijabi blog tackling gender, race, feminism and Islam; and director Ken Loach, whose latest film I, Daniel Blake is about the UK benefits system.

There will also be spoken word from Bristol-based poet Vanessa Kisuule, with poetry that touches upon topics of feminism, attraction and social action.

Elsewhere across the Downs Festival site will be food from traders including Bristol burger creatives Burger Theory, fast food fusion Biblos, festival favourites Chunky Chips Wicked Dips.

Little ones will be well looked after at a children’s area where The Ape Project will be bringing crazy bikes, spin painting and a carousel, along with bikes that can be jazzed up with spokey dokes, flags and streamers.

For more information and to buy tickets to The Downs Festival 2017, visit www.thedownsbristol.com.


Read more: 24 festivals happening in September 2017

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