We’re excited to announce our lineup for Autumn/Winter 2024. As usual, It’s a great mix of the traditional and the contemporary, the established and the emerging… the very best that the UK folk scene has to offer.

We kick off after our Summer break with FILKIN’S DRIFT, who return to headline on Friday 20 September, after performing a well-received support slot a couple of years ago. Seth Bye and Chris Roberts reimagine traditional melodies through pizzicato grooves, intricate guitar tunes, and boundless improvisation. Their recent 870 mile foot-powered tour, described as ‘committed and fascinating’ by BBC 6 Music’s Cerys Matthews, has recently propelled them into the spotlight. Opening the evening MICHELLE HOLLOWAY, who performs unaccompanied traditional songs and plays whistles alongside the duo in their 15-piece folk orchestra Filkin’s Ensemble.

RACHAEL McSHANE & THE CARTOGRAPHERS release a new album this Autumn, and their tour brings them to South Gloucestershire on Friday 18 October, for a show that will also be streamed live in partnership with LIVE TO YOUR LIVING ROOM. Rachael is a renowned folk singer, cellist, fiddle and viola player from the North East of England. She gained fame as an original member of the award-winning folk big band Bellowhead. Joined by guitarist Ian Stephenson (Kan, Baltic Crossing), and melodeon player Julian Sutton (Kathryn Tickell, Sting), they bring a powerful blend of traditional folk and contemporary sounds, with Rachael's stunning voice and instrumental skills leading the line. The evening will begin with a set Yorkshire’s JOHNNY CAMPBELL.

It’s hard to believe that GRANNY’S ATTIC have been playing together for 15 years, but they have… and their celebration tour brings them to Downend on Friday 15 November. The trio have been heralded for their lively performances and skilled delivery of traditional material, playing with verve, energy and their own inimitable style. Though grounded in tradition, they are keen to push new boundaries by exploring fresh approaches and writing their own compositions.. Described by Folk Radio as “one of the most exciting and accomplished English folk acts on the scene right now”, Granny’s Attic can hold audiences in the palm of their hand. They’ll be supported by HEATHER FERRIER, a fresh new talent from the vibrant Newcastle folk scene.

The Downend Folk & Roots Christmas concert has seen some incredible lineups take to the stage in front of some of our biggest audiences, but the one that our regulars have kept talking about is A WINTER UNION, and they return on Friday 13 December in a gig that will also be live-streamed by LIVE TO YOUR LIVING ROOM. Featuring members of The Willows, Gilmore & Roberts and Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage, this supergroup is now fast becoming thought of as the pre-Christmas knees-up for folk and roots music lovers all over the country. And, after the success of last year, we’re pleased to say that the brilliant folk-choir HEARTWOOD CHORUS will get us underway.

All four concerts will take place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND. Seating is unreserved. The concerts are all individually priced, but you can also buy a season ticket for all four concerts for £55. All tickets are non-refundable. They are available online HERE, and they will also be available from MELANIE’S KITCHEN in Downend ahead of each individual gig. Please note that the shop can only take cash payments and season tickets are not available at the shop. There will be a full bar at all concerts, as well as a prize draw, all proceeds of which go towards booking our support artists. Doors open at 7.00pm for a 7.45pm start. 

We're really excited about this season, and we hope you will be too. Keep supporting live music! For further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on FACEBOOKX or INSTAGRAM.

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Sometimes folk music can take itself a bit seriously. There are a lot of drowned sisters and poisoned knights, lots of murder and longing. It's a bit of a relief, then, when a duo like GOOD HABITS come along. They are full of sunshine and stories, full of friendliness and fun. They blossom like dungaree-clad sunflowers. 
 
Bonnie Schwarz and Pete Shaw formed during a time when they were “happily stranded” in New Zealand over lockdown. What started as an impromptu tour became a two-year hiatus where songs were written, gigs were played and a formidable duo emerged. They return to Downend as they tour their brilliant new album Quarter Life, and effortlessly charm the whole place.
 
 
In truth it would be pretty hard to argue that what Good Habits do is "folk", in the strictest sense. There are no songs of death, instead Schwarz and Shaw shine their jazz-y, pop-y sunlight on songs of love, of vague uncertainty, of small earthquakes. They also play some wonderfully inventive covers too, and there's not a trad.arr amongst them.
 
Sunday, taken from Quarter Life, is suitably sleepy and sinuous, a reminder that taking a day of rest is a very fine thing. Schwarz's cello has a lovely, gentle buzz and is joined by Shaw's accordion in a sun-dappled sway, the musical equivalent of a lazy breakfast in bed. Eyelids are slowly prised open with a stomp-box and Schwarz's fantastic voice until the two of them hit a rise-and-shine groove at the end. The easy warmth that they exude is utterly infectious, they create a world where everything is going to be OK.
 
Even when singing about an earthquake, Good Habits manage to sound upbeat. The Earth Has Moved has an irresistible pop zing, driven by flicked cello strings and a bass-y accordion hum with Schwarz, again, soothing away the difficulties of life. Her voice is homely and tender.
 
 
Shaw is a restless accordion player, he almost never lets his instrument sit idle, even between songs it breathes and hums, impatient to tell its tales. On Itchy Feet it helps to create a see-saw groove and then swoops, full of romance, over the domestic romance of Fridge Photos. He really let's fly on Guinness Face/2 Minutes More, showing an impressively jaunty virtuosity, fingers flying across the keyboard, celebrating foam-y smiles and the increased daylight that you get at this time of year.
 
The joy that Good Habits bring is most obvious in the cover versions that they choose. Each is delivered with love and a "hey look at this" wide-eyed wonder. Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill is, simply, lovely, a swooning, languid take on something that swoons already. Praise You stops being a breakbeat banger and, instead, is an intimate adoration. Shaw and Schwarz gather around the cello and beat out the rhythm with chopsticks across the strings. They are so close to one another that the object of their praise is obvious. Finally, She Bangs the Drums, the Stone Roses classic, seems to bring together everything that makes Good Habits great. Cello and accordion set up a cosy thrum and then Schwarz sings up a storm, her affection for this Manc anthem utterly obvious.
 
 
Sharing the Good Habits’ love of a jumpsuit/dungaree thing is BILLIE MAREE, a singer of "folk-y-ish songs" about friendship and humanity that have a slightly more wintery feel than the sunshine which will follow. A Devonian singer-songwriter with a glorious voice, Billie Maree inspires absolute pin-drop attention. On Whale Eyes, their voice is deep and meditative, a simple acoustic line tracing countless strands back to Celtic folk traditions. On My Body, My Home the contemporary is, again, mixed with the traditional and it’s Billie Maree’s voice that will live long in the memory. 
 
In a world that can feel a bit bleak some days, Good Habits exist to spread some sunshine. They were very welcome indeed.
 
Words: Gavin McNamara
Photos: Barry Savell
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Back in the Summer of 2022, a young duo performed the opening slot at Downend Folk & Roots. Immediately after the gig, we were inundated with requests from the regulars to get them back for a headline gig. No, not requests, actually; demands.

That pair are folk-fusion duo GOOD HABITS, and we listened to you, as they are back to headline our monthly concert on Friday 17 May.

Composed of Bonnie Schwarz (cello + vocals) and Pete Shaw (accordion), the pair mix virtuosic musicianship and vocal harmony with vivid storytelling, drawing on their diverse musical tastes and weaving them into an action-packed narrative of folky goodness. After a pandemic spent ‘happily stranded’ in New Zealand for all of 2020 and 2021 where they were supported and endorsed by Amanda Palmer, they arrived back in the UK to spread their joyous music throughout Europe.

Since returning home, they have toured relentlessly around the UK and Europe performing at festivals including Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, and Shrewsbury Folk Festival whilst developing a loyal fanbase. Won Shrewsbury Folk Festival’s ‘Launch Pad’ and the Purbeck Rising Award whilst also being nominated for the prestigious Christian Raphael Prize. Their captivating debut album Going For Broke received glowing international coverage with FRUK describing their breath-taking live shows as impossible to resist. Their touring in New Zealand was non-stop, including performances at the country’s biggest festivals: Cuba Dupa, Festival of Lights and Lunasa.

Opening the show will be Devon-based singer-songwriter BILLIE MAREE. Billie writes and performs deep-feeling folk-esque songs, and the quality of their vocal has been likened to Sandy Denny and Judy Tzuke. They are, however, very much their own artist with a strong and infectious sense of spirituality and self.

Inspired by an upbringing in the landscape of Devon, their debut EP We Belong reflects the nuances of human experience – with a focus on accepting all parts of ourselves, the shadows and the light. Calling in a sense of belonging. They self-produced and mostly self-recorded the EP, and each song was written about moments that moved Billie during the darker months of Winter. Billie was inspired to learn how to record and edit their own music as they wanted to have as much input into their creation as possible.

Tickets for the concert, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 17 May 2024, 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 7.00pm 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. 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 Radstock-based THE GREAT CAKE COMPANY, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert. 

For further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on FACEBOOKX or INSTAGRAM.

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