We are excited to reveal the first in a new series of events which are designed to be family friendly. THE CARRIVICK SISTERS will be the guests at our first Live at Lunchtime concert on Saturday 2 March.


These events are family-friendly and under-18s go free (accompanied by a paying adult). There will be a very relaxed atmosphere, and if children make some noise, that's fine! There will be activity and colouring sheets for younger children and a break-out room at the back for anyone that needs it, where there will be toys and a bit of space, with the audio of the gig piped into the room. Our bar won't be serving alcohol but tea, coffee and a range of soft drinks will be on offer.


The concert itself is not specifically aimed at children, although is very family-friendly. These events are aimed at people who perhaps cannot make our usual Friday evening events, as well as our regular audience. And remember, if you already have a season ticket for Spring/Summer 2024, you get this one for free!


The concert will be shorter than normal (just over  an hour with a short break halfway though) and there is no support. Doors open at midday and the music starts at 12.30pm. It will finish at around 1.45pm.


The event takes place at our usual Christ Church Downend venue, tickets are £10 per adult (plus booking fees) and are available HERE.



The Carrivick Sisters are one of the UK's top young bluegrass and folk acts. Twins Laura and Charlotte perform their original songs and instrumentals along with a few carefully chosen covers on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and clawhammer banjo. Their busy touring schedule is rapidly building them a reputation for engaging and entertaining live performances with tight sibling vocal harmonies and multi-instrumental virtuosity. Having grown up in South Devon, an area rich in folk lore and legends, much of their original material is inspired by their local surroundings and history.





Christmas traditions just don't come better than this. Once the schools have broken up and Downend Folk & Roots have thrown their festive party, you just know that Christmas is around the corner. You can feel free to crack the seal on the Baileys, sit back and enjoy it all.
So, the festivities begin with what must, surely, be a new Downend tradition. If ever there was a group of people designed to play this lovely church just before Christmas, then HEARTWOOD CHORUS are those people. A folk choir, twenty-odd strong, making the most glorious music imaginable is everything that you could want. The John Tams song, Snow Falls, is simply tremendous. Festive harmonies ring through the very rafters, an irresistible richness as the voices layer and twine. In The Bleak Midwinter is also beautiful. Part religious exhortation, part Box of Delights snowdrift. Heartwood are heart stopping, welcoming and wonderfully festive.
If Heartwood Chorus gets things off to a warm and fuzzy fireside start then THE WILDERNESS YET remind us that it's a bit chilly outside. This brilliant folk trio are perfecting the art of winter-y three-part harmonies and secular versions of old carols. Theirs is a festive season that is, determinedly, filled with halls hung with nature's green rather than tinsel, theirs is a winter of wrens and snowdrops rather than reindeer and Santa. 
The Beauties of Autumn, taken from their debut album, eases us into winter, as sunshine still pierces the darkness. Rosie Hodgson's voice soaring above everything, the golden glow of a setting sun, as Rowan Pigott, on fiddle, and Philippe Barnes, on guitar, stretch the canvas and paint it with Autumnal hues.
As much as The Wilderness Yet are wonderful musicians, they have a secret weapon. They are singers of the most exquisite three-part harmonies that you have ever heard. On every single song when they put the instruments down a crackle goes through Christ Church. A thrum of pleasure. A glow of satisfaction. An ancient version of The Holly and The Ivy is lush, dripping with chlorophyll, Hodgson's voice finding the sweet spot between worldly and other-worldly. Corpus Christi Carol takes Jeff Buckley's arrangement and makes it even more spectral. Stripped of instruments, there's something completely timeless in the contrasts between Hodgson's skips and trills and the bass grounding of Barnes. 
Turn the Year Round is their own, non-traditional, stab at a festive song. It deserves to find its way into the winter-y canon and is a delightfully warm celebration of the new year. Hodgson describes it as a song that is all chorus because “that's what people really want” and it is majestic. Taken from the album of the same, this is The Wilderness Yet at their best. It's music for lighting the fires to, for pulling the curtains closed to, for curling up with those you love to.
If you're after something like a "proper" Christmas then The Wilderness Yet don't let you down there either. Deck the Halls might have a slightly odd time signature but that doesn't stop a massed choral singalong. We Wish You a Merry Christmas is slowed and heartfelt, a meditative, thoughtful celebration. It feels as though they really do wish us a merry Christmas. 
As ever, the spirit of Christmas lives long at Downend. With the help of Heartwood Chorus and The Wilderness Yet we will be able to carry it in our hearts for the rest of the year.
Words: Gavin McNamara
Photos: Barry Savell

Headlining our now legendary Christmas concert on Friday 15 December will be one of the most exciting young trios to emerge in recent years, as they embark on a festive-themed tour... and tickets are unsurprisingly flying out of the door!

Taking their name from a Gerard Manley Hopkins classic, THE WILDERNESS YET fuse the clear, charismatic vocals of former BBC Young Folk Award finalist Rosie Hodgson with the fine, sensitive fiddling of Rowan Piggott and the deft guitar and flute playing of Philippe Barnes.

Independently, they have earned audiences’ esteem as consummate musicians; together, they weave an eclectic tapestry of traditional and original songs and tunes; from a cappella three-part harmonies to luscious instrumental arrangements.

The band's eponymous debut album was released in 2020 to critical acclaim, closely followed by a short EP of commissioned covers called John O Dreams. Their first studio album, What Holds The World Together, was released in July 2022 and was lauded widely by reviewers, with airplay on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 6 and an appearance in the Official Folk Albums Chart.

Lockdown saw the trio record Turn The Year Round, a winter album featuring secular re-writes of classic carols and carefully arranged seasonal favourites. The album has proven to be hugely popular, with the band even playing live on BBC Radio 3 on Christmas Day 2022. Now, they're taking the album on tour, so join us this December as we turn the year round together.

And we're thrilled to reveal that the evening will get underway with a set from Bristol's community folk choir  HEARTWOOD CHORUS.

Made up of a mix of professional and amateur musicians, they have been wowing audiences since they got together in 2020, quietly building a reputation on the Bristol folk scene for high quality performances. They sing original arrangements of traditional songs, as well as their own versions of contemporary classics, sometimes with pathos, sometimes with humour and all in beautiful harmony. After opening for Lady Maisery at the Bristol Folk Festival last summer, Rowan Rheingans called them “brilliant.” For this show, they will be bringing a set of winter songs which will range from the quietly serene to the thoroughly rousing.

Please note that Heartwood Chorus is a replacement for the originally advertised support artist, as Leo MacKenzie is no longer able to perform at this concert.

Tickets for the concert, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 15 December 2023, are available online HERE and from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Doors open at 7.30pm and the music starts around 7.45pm.

There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and real ale from locally-based Hop Union Brewery. There will also be mulled wine on offer! Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/mug/tankard, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of the drive to be more environmentally aware; there is a 50p discount for those that do. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of the Radstock-based Great Cake Company, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert.

For those that can’t make it to Downend, or miss out on tickets, this concert will also be live-streamed in partnership with LIVE TO YOUR LIVING ROOM. Go to livetoyourlivingroom.com for more information.

For further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This concert is expected to sell out so get your tickets early.