Back in 2014, a group of enthusiastic folk music lovers decided to put on some concerts. They didn't really know what they were doing, but they knew they wanted to bring some great music to the area. Thus, Downend Folk Club (as it was then known) was formed.

An exciting trio from Sheffield were booked to perform at the first concert, and it's fair to say that the quality of the music on that April evening cemented Downend Folk Club as a fixture in the calendars of local (and not so local) music lovers. The trio stopped playing together a year or two later as their musical journeys took them in different directions.

That trio was BRIGHT SEASON, made up of Michael J Tinker, Ella Sprung and Simon Dumpleton, and we're thrilled to announce that they have agreed to reform for a one-off concert as part of our 10th Anniversary Celebration this Summer.

Michael J Tinker has performed and recorded with Damien O’Kane (Kate Rusby band), and has worked on a collaborative project with Bella Hardy, Josienne Clarke, The Young’uns, Tom Oakes, Ian Stephenson and Gilmore & Roberts. In addition he has supported Bellowhead, Lucy Ward, Sam Carter, Maz O’Connor and many more.

Ella Sprung is a fiddle player, singer and dancer. She specialises in French, Breton, and Scandinavian folk music, and has performed with European folk dance band Trip the Light and folk groups Gallivant and Jack’s Rake. In addition to playing the fiddle she also plays the Swedish nyckelharpa.

Simon Dumpleton is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed with numerous people including Kirsty Bromley and in the ceilidh band Trinculo. He has produced recordings for Jess and Richard Arrowsmith, Hekety, Outre Manche and BBC Folk Award nominees, the Melrose Quartet.

Bright Season will perform on Sunday afternoon at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND, after a morning of community action (details to follow soon) and a complimentary lunch. They will be joined on the bill by HEARTWOOD CHORUS, who will close the celebration. The Sunday of the weekend is presented in partnership with Christ Church Downend and is free entry. It will really help us to have an idea of numbers for the lunch though, so if you can, please let us know you're coming by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


There is something undeniably lovely about the quiet voice that has important things to say. On the first properly Spring-like evening of the year, two fantastic bands were gently insistent and spoke of the beauty around us. CHRISTINA ALDEN & ALEX PATTERSON and THE LOST TRADES effortlessly showed the best of contemporary folk song. 
Christina Alden and Alex Patterson have been playing together for twelve years and their natural connection is obvious. They also have a striking connection to nature itself, with animals, rivers and fens peeking their heads out repeatedly.
Their brand of folk spans continents, there's a hint of old timey Appalachia in Alden's banjo but Patterson's violin conjures sweeping English murmurations. When singing of their two-year old daughter, on Etta's Song, they are personal and tied to home yet The Fox Song tells of a journey that spans miles. They are local and global, rooted in England, keeping an eye on the world. 
Alden’s voice is gorgeous, it is pure, high and utterly infused with the world around her. She sings from the point of view of a 500-year-old shark on The Greenland Shark and tells tales of polar bears and foxes, reaching out from their environments and drawing people towards those animals. Her's is the heartfelt conviction of the gentle naturalist, the knowledgeable voice that needs to be heard.
Patterson's voice joins her for much of the evening, bringing lovely harmonies and confirming convictions. Time and again, they involve the audience too, encouraging singing of choruses and, by doing so, they make this folk music communal, making us part of their natural fascinations. There's anger too, though. Patterson takes (quite polite) swipes at Tories who allow water pollution and the heartless Daily Mail, people who wantonly destroy the good that is around them. On Waterways, the banjo, the violin, the harmonies, the singalong all converge to create an acoustic, peaceful beauty that protests with far more authority than louder voices. 
When Alden & Patterson look towards America lovely things happen. Bonny Blue Eyes is taken from an Ozark songbook from the 1920s and allows Patterson's violin free reign, as does the sea shanty Blow Boys Blow. The spirit of bluegrass, of the freedom of mountains and valleys, of high adventure is thrillingly evoked. Even better is a wonderful cover of Fleet Foxes White Winter Hymnal. They play it because it's "enjoyable" but it's just glorious.
The Lost Trades are from around these parts and have the relaxed attitude of a team on home turf. Folk-y in the very widest sense, they combine soaring Fleetwood Mac-style harmonies with great songwriting and win over Downend hearts with ease. Little Blackbird, taken from their latest album Petrichor, sees Tamsin Quin, Jamie Hawkins and Phil Cooper creating sunshine-filled magic. Doused in the natural world and with three voices that compliment beautifully they are perfectly dreamy. Three songs about the loss of loved ones dominate their short set, with Long Since Gone being the standout. The flutter of a heartbeat rhythm, acoustic gentleness, wonderful harmonies and a warming heart-hug. The Lost Trades have everything that you might need. 
Christina Alden, Alex Patterson and The Lost Trades may not be the loudest voices in the room but every single thing they say is worth listening to. Their love of everything around them is infectious and incredibly warming. 

Words: Gavin McNamara
Photos: Chris Dobson


Our 10th Anniversary year rolls on with the usual high quality as one of the most highly rated young duos headline on Friday 19 April, in a concert that will also be live-streamed in partnership with LIVE TO YOUR LIVING ROOM.

CHRISTINA ALDEN & ALEX PATTERSON are multi-instrumentalists and songwriters from East Anglia. Their music is rich with intertwining harmony, sensitive accomplished musicianship and a creative song-writing style that is both delicate and moving. Deeply inspired by the world around them, they have a keen environmental eye to craft stories with the natural world at its heart, reflecting on the relationship between humans and the wild.

They have enjoyed touring extensively in the UK and Europe; including a twenty- three- date concert hall tour with Show of Hands (including Union Chapel and St David’s Hall Cardiff), a show at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for Celtic Connections, headline and main stage performances at some of the UK’s most prestigious folk festivals and performances in Norway, Belgium, France and Ireland. They have written and self-released four albums, composed music for a BBC Radio 4 documentary series and have had over a million streams on Spotify.

Opening the evening will be locally-based THE LOST TRADES, a folk/Americana trio with a cool Laurel Canyon vibe. With a sound that is reminiscent of the California folk scene of the late 60s/early 70s, their three-part harmonies have been described as "flawless", "spine tingling" and "magical".

After a global pandemic cut short their first tour after just a single sold out gig, the band retreated to their songwriting rooms to work on their debut album, The Bird, The Book & The Barrel. The album was released in June 2021 and was well received, spending eight months in the Official UK Folk Albums Chart. The follow up, Petrichor, was released in March 2023, and immediately followed suit, entering the chart at #31.

Tickets for the concert, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 19 April 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 entertainment 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 the Radstock-based Great Cake Company, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert. 

The concert will also be live-streamed in partnership with LIVE TO YOUR LIVING ROOMso if you can't make it to the venue you don't need to miss out... you can watch from the comfort of your own sofa! 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.