It’s that time of year when many on the Isle of Wight hanker after the old days of Bestival. A place where you could surround yourself with like-minded music lovers, discover inspiring artists you might never have come across before, and listen to thought-provoking discussions.
For those who are looking to end the summer on a festival high, we’ve found an alternative that should get you excited.
The Downs Bristol
The Downs Bristol is the city’s largest one-day music festival and it returns for a fourth year on Saturday 31st August (jump to ticket info).
The Bristol vibe has many parallels with the Isle of Wight, enjoying a vibrant music and arts scene, progressive independent-thinking and the city surrounded by a beautiful landscape.
The one-day festival not only promises a quality line-up of live music across several stages, but also world-class DJs, plenty for the kids (big and little ones) to enjoy, thought-provoking discussions and discoveries as well as mouth-watering offerings from independent food traders.
A mighty line-up
Organisers have announced a spectacular line-up for this year, with the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones, Neneh Cherry, Loyle Carner, Nightmares on Wax, and Bristol’s very own IDLES, all performing in this stunning location.
American singer, songwriter, rapper and founding member of hip-hop pioneers The Fugees, Ms. Lauryn Hill, will headline the Downs Stage on Saturday night and is the festival’s first female and international headliner.
Jamaican-American singer, songwriter, producer, model and actress Grace Jones will also take to the stage. With a career spanning four decades, Jones secured her first record deal with iconic Jamaican label Island Records in 1977, becoming a star of New York City’s disco scene.
IDLES will play their largest gig ever in Bristol, following a huge 12 months for the band. The local five-piece’s popularity has soared in recent years and in 2019 IDLES were nominated for Best Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards.
Neneh Cherry, Swedish singer, songwriter and rapper, will also feature at The Downs Bristol. The stepdaughter of jazz trailblazer Don Cherry, Neneh forged her own groundbreaking blend of pop, dance, hip hop and R&B picking up Brits, Grammys and MTV Europe Music Awards along the way
The Avon Stage
The festival’s stand out Avon Stage will be home to a dance and hip-hop line up, headlined by one of the UK’s most esteemed up-and-coming hip-hop artists, Loyle Carner.
Also on the bill will be English electronic outfit Crazy P, DJ and electronic music composer Nightmares on Wax and a special performance from drum and bass outfit, High Contrast, with the accompaniment of a live band.
‘We want Information’
Discussion and debate has been a key part of The Downs Bristol since its inception in 2016 and once again festival goers can expect the return of The Information Stage, a space where keynote speakers address issues affecting UK society.
This will transform after dark into a music stage featuring new musical talent, after the huge popularity of last year’s line-up.
‘Think about the children’
The Downs Festival isn’t just for grown ups, kids are very welcome and there’s loads to keep them (and you) happy throughout the day.
The city is home to the incredible Aardman Animations Studio and they’re going to be giving young festival-goers the chance to learn how to make their very own Morph, Gromit, or Shaun the Sheep during their fun, hands-on clay modelling workshops.
That’s just one of the very many kids’ activities you can expect. There’s such a good offering for kids, with loads to see and do, so check out the Website for full details.
Food glorious food
The Downs also plays host to high quality, independent food stalls. With an extensive range of choice and cuisines on offer, any culinary craving you have is sure to be fulfilled.
There will be all sorts of burgers, burritos, Greek Gyros, noodle soups, Jerk chicken, crepes, and plenty more to look forward to on the day with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options available. There are also reasonably-priced bars around the site.
Tickets to attend The Downs festival (Saturday 31st August) are available online priced at £55 plus booking fee. Kids tickets are on sale at £15 (plus booking fee).
Gates open at 1pm with the event finishing at 11pm, so you could easily travel over to Bristol on the Saturday morning from the Island and get the 3am ferry home, or alternatively stay the night at one of the main reasonably priced B&Bs in the area.
Top image: © Chris Cooper/ ShotAway.com