*I was kindly gifted tickets to this event*
Last weekend we headed back to Bristol for The Downs Festival! We haven’t been out in Bristol since we moved out of the city in May, so I was super excited for a fun weekend back in one of my favourite places full of familiar faces.
As much as I LOVE festivals, we didn’t end up going to many this year at all! We started the summer with Love Saves The Day (as always!), then had the most incredible week at Glastonbury. We were meant to be headed to Boardmasters too but after that was cancelled due to the weather, I found myself feeling pretty annoyed that I hadn’t had my full festival fix. The Downs Festival was the perfect solution to this & an opportunity to end the summer & festival season with a bang.
The Downs Festival is held up on The Downs in Bristol (shock, I know). I’ve been up to The Downs before plenty of times but I’ve never actually been to the festival, so it was exciting to be going somewhere new! I didn’t realize either that the team behind Love Saves The Day are also behind The Downs, so we were definitely in for a treat – if anyone knows how to throw a good party, it’s them. This year’s lineup included acts such as Grace Jones, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Loyle Carner & Idles… A pretty crazy combination of different musical legends – not something you see very often.
We headed up on Friday to ensure there was no mad rush on Saturday morning, giving us all the time we needed to get ready & stick lots of glitter to our faces. I’d bought a new dress from Nastygal for the festival but accidentally left it at home (oops), so after a last min Primark dash, I was ready. We decided to head to the festival at about 3 pm – when the intermittent rain had finally stopped, the sky was clear and the sun was shining! By the time we got there the weather was literally perfect, a little bit windy but that’s kind of expected up on The Downs!
We first headed to Nightmares On Wax at The Avon Stage. This was the best start to our afternoon! The music was the perfect soundtrack to having a dance and drink in the sunshine. His live set up was really cool – he was sat in the centre with a drummer and guitarist at either side, then two vocalists (one male, one female). My favourite bit was how they’d made the stage look like a lounge, all sat on sofas & armchairs! It was so chilled out and perfect as a first act for us to see.
After a full hour of swaying in the sunshine, we decided to sit at the back of the crowd whilst listening to Crazy P perform on The Avon Stage. The thing I love about events like this is I always bump into so many people I know! Bristol really is a small place. We also always end up chatting to new people who are always so friendly – Lauren basically opened up her own glitter bar at this point for a couple of ladies who’d said they liked hers. So, we sat down and chatted whilst she stuck glitter to their faces. It makes such a difference to attend a festival where people are really friendly and polite. There have been so many festivals I’ve gone to full of people who just want to cause trouble, but The Downs had a totally opposite vibe. Everyone was lovely, just wanting to listen to some good music & have a fun time. This is what festivals are about!
We had a wander after this, as we hadn’t actually seen the rest of the festival site other than The Avon stage. I have a tendency to do this at day festivals – find one place I like and stay there for the entirety of the event… I made an effort to make sure I did not do this at The Downs seeing as I’d never been before! I wanted to explore. And, what better way to get a full view of the festival site than from the Ferris Wheel?!
Honestly, why have I not made a habit of going on Ferris Wheels at festivals before?! It was amazing! You got such an amazing view of the whole festival – especially as the sun was setting. It was definitely worth the £3 it cost. Char’s festival tip – go on the Ferris Wheel, especially if you want the best photos!
After the Ferris Wheel, we then headed to the Main Stage as Grace Jones had already started, then stayed there to watch Ms. Lauryn Hill. Grace Jones was just as incredible as expected, and her outfit was just as crazy too. She had this insane gold mask (which was also a little bit creepy) and huge inflatable black cape. I honestly cannot get over the fact she is 71 years old – she even spent an entire song hula hooping! What an amazing woman! She was super sassy and I loved it. I couldn’t really get any photos of my own from this point as it was too dark, so here are some press ones…
Afterwards we waited patiently for Lauryn Hill, who of course has quite a reputation for being late! I don’t think anyone actually expected her to be on time though, and was only actually half an hour or so late coming on stage. She let her DJ, DJ Reborn play for the first half an hour, so it wasn’t like we were waiting in silence either. I guess she was just letting her warm up! Once she did come out though, she was incredible. Her performance was the perfect headliner, not only did she sing but she also spoke a lot about her life. She was an amazing end to what was a great day!
All in all, we had such a brilliant day at The Downs Festival 2019! As I get older I definitely appreciate festivals like this way more – ones that are full of lovely people with a much more mature and chilled out vibe. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a day out with good music – it was really good fun but also super family-friendly and suitable for all ages! I’ll definitely be heading back next year – The Downs summed up everything I loved about Bristol and was the best weekend to travel back and remind myself how special it is as a city. Thank you so much for having us!