There will be a local feel as we round off the Summer programme with a visit from KIT HAWES & AARON CATLOW, a Bristol-based duo playing acoustic, folk and roots music.

Weaving a musical dialogue between fiddle, guitar and voice, Kit and Aaron explore the rich musical heritage of the British Isles, and create original music inspired by the traditions they grew up in. In demand as musicians, writers and arrangers, Kit and Aaron have worked with many established artists including Grammy Award-nominated Yola, Seth Lakeman, Afro Celt Sound System and Roni Size.

Since the release of their highly acclaimed debut album The Fox in 2016, the pair have built a reputation as one of the standout acts on the UK music circuit. Praise comes from music lovers and press alike, including Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2 - "reminiscent of Martin Carthy and the late Dave Swarbrick, I can give them no higher accolade"; Acoustic Magazine - "head and shoulders above the rest"; and Living Tradition - "mightily impressive".

Their follow up album, which draws its name from the title track Pill Pilots, was released in March 2020. The Pill Pilots were a group of highly-skilled mariners, who for over a thousand years guided tall ships through the treacherous waters of the Bristol channel and the river Avon. The album was recorded live in a single room and celebrates the time- honoured relationship between the fiddle and guitar. The pair pay tribute to the past, whilst setting themselves apart with an unparalleled mastery of their instruments and dynamic range to create a musical conversation that wends its way through the album's nine tracks.

Opening the evening’s entertainment will be a duo who recently wowed the audience at Bristol Folk Festival. Described as "engagingly clear across a rich variety of styles" (Songlines), GOOD HABITS are a UK alt-folk duo, telling stories and turning heads across the globe. Composed of singer-cellist Bonnie Schwarz and accordionist Pete Shaw, the duo create folk-ish musical tales, with captivating lyrics married with their unique brand of brisk instrumental virtuosity.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 15th July 2022, 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.

There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed real ale from HOP UNION BREWERY (formerly GWB). Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/mug/tankard/bucket, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of our drive to be more environmentally aware. There is a 50p discount for those bringing their own receptacles. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of the Radstock-based GREAT CAKE COMPANY, as well as the “stealth raffle” which helps to fund the support artists.

For further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We are proud to reveal our programme for Autumn/Winter 2022 as we continue to bring you monthly concerts featuring the best in folk, roots and acoustic music.

Kicking off the season in style will be homegrown four-piece ROAD NOT TAKEN, on Friday 16th September. They will be joined on the bill by BELLA GAFFNEY. They will be followed in October by JACOB & DRINKWATER, who will be the guests on Friday 21st, when FILKIN'S DRIFT will get the evening underway.

Highly-rated duo JANICE BURNS & JON DORAN will feature on Friday 18th November, along with singer-songwriter DAN WELTMAN, while the traditional Christmas concert will see a triumphant return for BELSHAZZAR'S FEAST as one of their final Christmas outings ever, on Friday 16th December. Bristol-based duo COOPER & TOLLER will join them on the bill.

All concerts will be held at Christ Church Downend, and tickets are on-sale now HERE. They are individually-priced but there is still a season-ticket option which saves you a little bit of money (and booking fees). We hope you’re as excited about this as we are! More exciting news coming soon…

It was an evening for bare feet, bare arms and baring souls. It was an evening for smiling, cheering and enthusiastic seat dancing. It was, for the third time (and very, very much delayed) an evening of INDIA ELECTRIC CO. at Downend Folk Club. And those are the best kind of evenings.

If there's one band that this folk club has taken to its heart then it is this one. Fantastic songs, wonderful musicians, and a huge dollop of joy; India Electric Co. are absolutely everything that makes the pilgrimage on the third Friday of the month so, so worthwhile.

Cole Stacey (guitar and vocals) and Joseph O'Keefe (accordion, keyboards, violin, loops and everything else) spend most of their time touring with Midge Ure and, from the moment that they start, it's obvious that playing with a giant of 80s music in big old theatres has done them no harm whatsoever. They are polished and slick, relaxed and warm and have a set packed full of oh-this-could-be-a-hits. 

Delving through their impressive archive they first pull out shining baubles from the first album The Girl I Left Behind Me. Lost in Translation is, very simply, a great pop song. Toes are sent tapping before they even reach the chorus. Heimat continues all of the stadium pop feels and Joseph O'Keefe's violin floats a beautiful folk sheen across it. From the same album Beirut is all tango stamps and ruffled skirts. All three are superb but they're just the start.

Every now and then something a little closer to folk music pops its head up. The Gulley/Alice Gray are old, old tunes driven along by accordion and guitars. Even the tradition is no match for India Electric Co. though. These old songs still feel new, alive, vibrant.

Equally vibrant is a sublime cover of Chris Issak's Wicked Game. Out go the faint twangy Rockabilly overtones, in comes O'Keefe's beautifully sun-kissed violin. Why didn't the original have that on it? It's also a testament to just how good Cole Stacey's voice is that he entirely does this song justice.  Another old favourite, The Thought Fox, is performed unamplified whilst strolling through the audience. Perfect acoustics helping the troubadours, more extraordinary violin playing conjuring a whisper of gypsy jazz.

The new songs that pepper the second half are mostly un-named, they are taken from a forthcoming album which currently isn't recorded. They do, however, point to further grown up, thinking person's pop. They are, without exception, gorgeous things that are destined for bigger stages than this one.

They are not the only ones, of course. Support for the evening came from SUSIE DOBSON. If India Electric Co. are favourites here-abouts so Susie is a proper homegrown talent. She's played here on numerous occasions but this is the first time for a while and she was welcomed back with open arms (ably assisted by Ant Miles on guitar). Her short set is remarkable; her voice is glorious, clear and pure, new songs are lovely and an expanding world view gives everything depth. She has charm by the hatful - The Girl in the Red Dungarees is just so sweet in a Kate Nash sort of a way- and is easily as good as any of the current folk-ish pop-ish singer songwriters. 

Two huge Folk Club favourites on the warmest day of the year, who could ask for anything more? Barely anyone.

Words: Gavin McNamara
Photos: Barry Savell