The Downs Bristol, the city’s largest one-day music festival, returns on Saturday 31 August, having announced a fabulous first-wave line-up featuring international female acts Ms. Lauryn Hill and Grace Jones, as well as Bristol’s own Brit-nominated band IDLES.

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. Her only solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, earned her five Grammy Awards and remains one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums of all time.

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. An iconic figure in the arts scene, Jones has inspired the likes of Lady Gaga, Nile Rogers, Annie Lennox and Lorde.

IDLES will play their largest gig ever in Bristol, following an eventful 12 months. The local five-piece’s popularity has soared in recent times, following the release of their 2017 album Brutalism, and then Joy as an Act of Resistance in 2018.

Swedish singer, songwriter and rapper Neneh Cherry also features on the bill. The stepdaughter of jazz trailblazer Don Cherry, Neneh has 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.

“2018 was a great year and we’re taking it one step further for 2019,” says Conal Dodds, co-founder of co-promoters Crosstown Concerts. “This is a line-up that really reflects Bristol, one of the city’s most up-and-coming bands in IDLES, a style and musical icon in Grace Jones and one of the most renowned hip-hop stars of the last 20 years in Lauryn Hill.”

The Avon Stage will house a dance and hip-hop line up, headlined by one of the UK’s most esteemed up-and-coming hip-hop artists, Loyle Carner, as well as English electronic outfit Crazy P, DJ and electronic music composer Nightmares on Wax, and a special performance from drum & bass outfit  High Contrast, with a live band.

Bristol’s own Brit-nominated band IDLES is coming to the festival

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 key note speakers address issues affecting UK society. This will transform after dark into a music stage featuring new talent, after the huge popularity of last year’s line-up.

The Downs Bristol is an event for all the family, and making sure younger music fans have a great time, the Children’s Area is returning bigger and better than ever, with activities, workshops, dancing and much more. Tickets for the one day festival will be on sale from Friday 8 March, priced at £55 plus booking fee and available in person from 8am at Bristol Ticket Shop (Broadmead) and on general release at 9am via thedownsbristol.com,  Seetickets.com, Gigantic.com, Ticketmaster.co.uk and Bristolticketshop.co.uk

Kids’ tickets will also be on sale priced at £15 and reduced price tickets will be available to anyone unemployed or on income support, priced at £29.50. The reduced price tickets are only available in person from Bristol Ticket Shop, and supporting documentation and ID will be required.

All tickets are subject to a £1 levy which goes towards the upkeep of The Downs.

Main image by Andrea Klarin