2nd September | The Downs
After the success of last year’s inaugural event, where even the downpour couldn’t turn Massive Attack’s glorious homecoming set into drip-hop, The Downs Festival returns to Clifton on 2nd September with Elbow topping this year’s bill. If you were fortunate to see their surprise set at Glastonbury, you’ll know their stellar live sound. They’ll be bringing the loved-up, widescreen symphonies of 2017’s Little Fictions, alongside longer-standing poetics and philosophies from their twenty-five-year repertoire.
Fast-rising, sartorially-elegant, rock ‘n’ soul star, Keir, opens the main stage, with further gusto emanating from indie rockers, The Districts. Late-summer soul-saving can be gleaned from the solace of Soul II Soul and from the 3ft-high-and-rising hip-hop of De La Soul, while Seasick Steve brings soul-searching, gnarly blues and grizzled vocals. Be sure to catch his eye down at the front if you want him to sing ‘Walkin’ Man’ to you, or keep a low profile if you don’t want to be dragged up and serenaded. Ibibio Sound Machine will sort out any crazy-fool ‘standing still’ notions with their West African-inspired, electro-post-punk-disco-funk.
The Second Stage certainly requires you to pull on your dancing trousers, with Groove Armada, Mike Skinner, David Rodigan, Mad Professor and Bristol Hi-Fi giving you ample chance to gorge on Clifton’s finest beats. Second Stage special guest is hometown boy, ace of drum and bass, Roni Size, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Mercury-Prize-winning New Forms.
If it’s conversation you want, don’t be one of those complete wands who chats through gigs; get yourself to the Information Stage, featuring various topical panel discussions, headlined this year by BAFTA and MOBO winner, Akala.
Last few tickets available here. Check out Elbow’s video for ‘Magnificient (She Says)’ below.