Back in May 2014, Downend Folk Club (as we were then called) held our first official concert. The guest was the recently crowned BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year... a certain BELLA HARDY. It was the sign of things to come as Downend Folk & Roots (as we are now called) continues to bring the very best folk, roots and acoustic music to the area.
That it’s taken nine years to have Bella return, though, makes it long overdue. Performing solo back in 2014 at Frenchay Village Hall, this is set to be an altogether grander affair, as she’s joined by Sam Carter (guitar) and Daniel Wallington (keys) in the glorious surroundings of Christ Church Downend.
Bella has sung unaccompanied ballads at a sold-out Royal Albert Hall, learnt the songs of Chinese farmers during her time as British Council Musician in Residence in Yunnan Province, and spent a year in Tennessee as a ranch hand, looking after horses, fiddle-singing in the diners, and immersing herself in the music culture of Nashville. With unflinching courage, Bella has explored and blurred musical boundaries from a mastery of traditional music to pop production and electronics, releasing ten solo records including her Best Of in 2019. With her acclaimed, mesmerising voice and earthy fiddle accompaniments, Bella now writes and composes in her beloved Peak District, conjuring and twisting stories that call straight to the heart.
Joining Bella on the bill will be HANNAH SCOTT. From Suffolk via Italy, Hannah performs contemporary folk music and is building a loyal following thanks to her distinctive voice, strong melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. Her music has been heard in hit TV series, Grey’s Anatomy, on BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music including a live session on Dermot O’Leary’s show, while praise for her work has arrived from publications such as MOJO, The Guardian and Clash Magazine.
Tickets for the concert, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 16 June 2023, are available online HERE and from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £15 each in advance or £17 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 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.