To say the least, The Downs Festival exceed all my expectations. It was located quite literally in the Downs, a large green space in Clifton, Bristol. Whilst offering a wide array of food and drink, it boasted two main stages with an additional tent for exhibitions and talks.
The Downs stage hosted a variety of genres from a rock band to R&B and disco classics. An iconic Grace Jones performed her ballads in the sexiest of ways, whilst being seventy-one! She also performed a song, hoola-hooping the entire way through, we were in awe!
The Idles had an incredible stage presence, and also conveyed a positive political message throughout their music. The Bristolian rock band had a very big fan base present which made the performance that bit more captivating.
To end the night on the Downs stage was no other than Ms Lauryn Hill, she started with a class roll call, which left us waiting to appear as her name was called. Lauryn performed her hits from the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album alongside Fugee songs, so for die-hard fans, it was an amazing and complete experience. The Avon stage presented Crazy P, Loyle Carner and Delocx- and more. Considering there were only two stages the festival highlighted a wide range of artists, which is great for the price of the ticket.
The exhibitors that showcased ranged from political groups like Greenpeace, Save Our NHS Extinction Rebellion to art from St Pauls Carnival in Bristol. I think it is incredible that alongside offering entertainment, there is an aspect of awareness and want for dialogue that is important to have where a young audience is apparent. And also for those less informed to have an opportunity to engage.
The festival was sprawled along a big field, and at either end was the two stages. The sides were filled with bars, food, toilets and areas to sit down. The food on offer ranged from traditional fish and chips to spicy Chinese chicken, and for dessert, why not Churros? I can confirm they are delicious. In other words, there was a huge selection of food to choose from!
For a relatively new festival, The Downs definitely matched criterias more established ones have, and also booked huge names. I certainly would love to attend next year to see what more they can bring. Oh and guess what… I got a selfie with THE LAURYN HILL – cherry on top of the sundae! 😉
Words : Esther Cudjoe Pontara