Downend’s folk music fans will gather for the monthly concert on the third Friday of January as usual, but this will be a concert with a difference as they pay tribute to a man who typified exactly what Downend Folk & Roots is all about.
Cliff Woolley was a passionate music lover and could most often be found, with his wife Gaynor, at many concerts around Bristol and beyond, at loads of festivals. And if he wasn't singing, dancing or listening to music, he was usually talking about it (or about his other passion, Aston Villa FC (hence the colour scheme!). His musical tastes were very diverse; from Jethro Tull and Neil Young through to Jackie Oates and Martin Carthy. He served Downend Folk & Roots as part of the organising team, former membership secretary as well as pitching in and helping on the bar, as stand-in MC and much, much more.
The concert will be headlined by CHRIS ELLIOTT & CAITLIN JONES, who were the winners of the inaugural Cliff Woolley Memorial Award. The scheme saw all of the support artists automatically entered, and Chris & Caitlin came out on top after a public vote and input from the organising team and Cliff’s wife Gaynor. As well as headlining this concert, they also receive a small bursary to be spent on their career.
Described by Bright Young Folk as "experienced storytellers" who bring "timeless quality" to their music, award-winning duo Chris and Caitlin have been playing music together since they met in 2014.
In 2019, they released their debut album Carry Me Home, which takes listeners to "an area of diverse landscapes, history and traditions, a patchwork of Staffordshire and beyond." Since then, they have become well-known faces on the folk circuit, and have won several accolades, including the Shrewsbury Folk Festival open mic competition in 2018. They were a featured artist at the 2021 Folk Expo in Manchester, and are currently working on their second album Game of Halves, which will be released in Spring 2023.
Joining Chris and Caitlin on the bill will be THE MAGNIFICENT AKs, a men’s folk choir of which Cliff was such a key part. In a switch to the usual running order, The Magnificent AKs will take to the stage for their short set after Chris and Caitlin, to sing the audience out for the night. But there will still be entertainment before the headliners start, with BRISTOL MORRIS MEN dancing for the gathered music-lovers. Cliff was also an enthusiastic member of the Morris side, so it’s a very fitting way to start and end the evening.
Tickets for the event, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 20 January 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 entertainment starts around 7.45pm.
There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed 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.