Bristol Life: The Downs Festival 2017

I might not be a festival goer in the traditional sense of the world. It’s a long time since I packed up my tent and headed away for a weekend- mostly due to cost more than anything else, but I love music and a good gathering so I decided that this year would be the year I head to Bristols very own festival- Downs Festival, taking place on Saturday 2nd September from 13:00 – 23:00. Having missed out on a cracking line up last year, I was keen not to be feeling left out this year.
These images are from last years event at which Massive Attack headlined. This year the all day event has Elbow as it’s headline act (the selling point for me!) as well as Seasick Steve (also a big fan), Soul II Soul, The Districts and De La Soul joining them on the main stage.

The second stage will play host to Groove Armada with a show-stopping DJ set that I can’t wait to experience.

Last year’s festival was the first major music event hosted on Bristols Downs for 27 years and proved that Bristol has what it takes (of course) to host something on this scale. This year it returns with more live music, more bars and more independent food stalls.

‘The Information’ stage will also return, offering a dedicated area for guest speakers, question and answer sessions, film screenings, photography and charity representatives. More information on this will follow shortly.

Tickets are on sale now priced at £45. Last year the event sold out incredibly quick so you’ll want to be acting fast.

All online ticket sales will be subject to a £1 donation with funds going directly to the upkeep and maintenance of The Downs, for all of Bristol to enjoy.

There will be a limited number of reduced price tickets at £25 available to anyone unemployed or on income support. These tickets are only available in person from Bristol Ticket Shop and supporting documentation and ID will be required. Children under 4 are free (though must be wearing adequate hearing protection) and a limited number of tickets for children aged 4- 12 years will be available at all outlets for £10 per ticket. All under 16’s need accompanying by an adult.

Tickets are restricted to six tickets per person/per billing address. Please note that in order to protect our audience from ticket touts we are putting in measures to help eliminate them. The lead booker will need to attend the event (or nominate a 3rd party at the point of purchase) with their guests and will need to show photo ID in order to enter the concert arena.

Tickets are available from the following outlets: The Downs Bristol, Bristol Ticket Shop, Songkick, Seetickets and Gigantic

Have you been to any festivals this year? Who would be your dream headline act?


Bristol Life: Grandaddy at The Colston Hall

It feels like ages since I last went to a gig- it’s something I fell out of love with as I found it more stressful than pleasurable. Social anxiety means crowds can be a nightmare so often it’s easier to just miss out, however when I was given the opportunity to go and see one of my favourite bands at The Colston Hall last Friday I knew I needed to push myself and go.

The band in question was Grandaddy, an indie rock band from Modesto, California who formed way back in 1992. I was introduced to them four years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since my first listen- fronted by Jason Lytle (who has also released some excellent solo work) I find the combination of clever lyrics and eclectic beats strangely soothing/ an. They push boundaries which lifts their sound to the next level- I’d love to be inside the mind of the band, creative genius in my opinion. They split as a group in 2006 but re-formed in 2012 and it’s their later releases that have impressed me the most, their new album “Last Place” especially.

I’d heard they were good live and had high hopes for the gig. I find can be a double edged sword- going in to something unknown with high expectations can often be a set up for disappointment but I’m delighted to report that this wasn’t the case and the band (despite a last minute crisis) exceeded expectations.

Their set lasted just over an hour and was a mix of their latest work and some old favourites. Lytle has a somewhat aloof stage presence and yet still manages to work the room. His voice, live, somehow manages to sound exactly like it does on the records (and this is often where I find live performances fall short) and the band clearly have good chemistry as the banter flowed between songs. They have an almost mesmerising manner about them and the set passed by in the blink of an eye leaving me wanting more and more- I could have watched them perform for hours on end.

If you’re a fan of the band and have yet to see them live then please, do, I can promise you’ll love it. I really hope that Grandaddy continue as a band and bring us albums for years to come. Like good wine they really do get better with age and I would jump at the chance to see them again.
A big thank you to The Colston Hall for making this possible, Bristol may not have any big music arenas but when you have a venue like this you really don’t mind that much! I’ll leave you with one of my favourite tracks from the band- let me know if you’re a fan and what your favourite track is.


David Bowie Newspaper Book

It was inevitable that I would end up a David Bowie fan- he’s my Dad’s favourite musical artist and I grew up with his songs as a soundtrack to my childhood. In fact my introduction to Mr Bowie started in the womb when my parents went along to one of his concerts and whilst he remains the one singer I would have loved to see live I suppose I can sort of say that I did.

I recently came across a post on the (frankly incredible) Josie’s blog which featured the David Bowie Newspaper Book from I Just Love It and immediately fell in love. Having declared my love on twitter I thought no more of it until I Just Love It got in touch and offered to send me a copy as well. To say I was excited would be an understatement!

This is one hefty book that would sit proudly on any coffee table- it’s more than just a pretty face though, inside you’ll find images and newspaper articles that cover Bowie’s musical career from the very beginning right up until his death in 2016.

What I really loved about Bowie was not only was he a bloody legend musically but he also pushed social boundaries too- his fashion influence is still very much in evidence today and he was also a trailblazer when it came to challenging the social norms of gender and being unapologetically yourself. These days everything we see in the media has been carefully curated by PR teams but in Bowie’s hey-day social media was still decades away and there was very little by way of filter. It’s no wonder he became such an icon and this book captures beautifully how he made his impact on the world.

I Just Love It also offer a personalisation service for the book, and as much as I wanted to keep this for myself I knew that really it had to be presented to my Dad who’s collection of Bowie memorabilia is growing almost by the week it seems. He was absolutely made up to receive this, and for me it provided a unique way to say thank you for all of the support and encouragement he has given me over the last 30 years (I think we might have agreed on joint custody though, I can easily lose hours at a time to poring over the pages of this book).

At £69.99 this isn’t a cheap gift but for a true Bowie fan it’s a worthy investment- be it for yourself or someone you love. With both substance and style this is a book that truly pays homage to the late and great David Bowie and it’s something we will still be going back to and enjoying for years ahead.

Fellow Bowie fans do you think you’d love it? And I must ask- what’s your favourite track of his? For me, if I absolutely had to pick just one it would be “Rebel Rebel” but in reality my favourites could probably cover a side of A4 paper and then some!


Disclaimer- book was gifted to me by I Just Love It in exchange to a blog post. My thoughts on the product are entirely my own.

What is the greatest album cover ever created?*

One thing that I gained from my relationship before it ended was a new found love and respect for music. I had, up until my early twenties been an avid music listener but for various reasons it fell out of favour with me during some peaks and troughs with my mental health. Thankfully I’m over that now and music is once again a massive part of my life and thanks to spending over three years with a musician I have a new found level of respect for every aspect of the industry.

While the music on an album is of upmost importance the sleeve that holds the record gives the artist a space for artistic expression. This has always been the case- from the first microgroove long-playing phonograph that was released in 1948, through the vinyl era and on to the many CDs that you see in music stores today.

However, which is the greatest album cover that has ever been created? Managed print specialist United Carlton has attempted to find out by drawing up a shortlist of six standout examples.


Take a look at each pick and then visit the firm’s Twitter page to give your thoughts on the best of the bunch- or offer your favourite that didn’t make the list!
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
(see the cover)
What better way to kick off our list than with the cover of a Grammy-winning album that was created by art champion and director Robert Fraser? The sleeve was a combination of work by designers Jann Haworth and Peter Blake and saw more than 70 artists, writers, thinkers and figures who inspired The Beatles featured. As a subtle nod to the end of the Hard Day’s Night-fueled Beatlemania era, the cover also saw the iconic British band as they were in 1967 standing alongside their younger selves.
The Beatles – Abbey Road
(see the cover)
The Beatles are the only band to make our list twice- though it shouldn’t be much of a surprise when you consider that the two album covers featured are those for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road. For the latter the famous foursome chose to part ways with simulations and instead feature themselves walking across a zebra crossing in a typical British street. It is a scene that has been replicated countless times ever since.
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
(see the cover)
Legendary designers Hipgnosis were the brains behind the cover for Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side Of The Moon with a single beam of light shining through a prism and forming a rainbow on the other side creating a simple yet bold look. This image was used to convey the band’s stage lighting as well as the lyrics from some of the album’s songs. It also speaks volume that despite the sleeve having no words most people instantly knows its name and the band behind it.
Nirvana – Nevermind
(see the cover)
The cover for Nirvana’s album Nevermind was apparently conceptualised after Kurt Cobain watched a programme about water births. After hiring photographer Kirk Weddle to bring the sleeve into reality the result was an innocent baby swimming underwater towards a dollar bill that was hanging from a fishhook. The rest was history.
Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell
(see the cover)
The songs featured on Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell were crazy in a good way so it was fitting that the sleeve of the record was just as brilliantly wild. Conceptualised by Jim Steinman but actually created by comic book artist Richard Corben the cover saw a motorcycle powering out of a graveyard while a giant bat loomed menacingly over the tombstones in the background.
Queen – Queen II
(see the cover)
Music fans are likely to recognise the sleeve of Queen’s album Queen II as it also features in the music video for the band’s hit single Bohemian Rhapsody. The cover is a simple one with the four members of Queen standing in a diamond formation upon a black background. Rock, who also with the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop has since being quoted as saying: “It made them look like much bigger a deal then they were at the time, but it was a true reflection of their music.
How far do you agree or disagree with this list? For me I am quite surprised that David Bowie hasn’t featured, I mean who doesn’t instantly recognise the cover of his Aladdin Sane album? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!