May 2023: Downend Folk & Roots Preview




Downend Folk & Roots begin their summer programme on Friday 19 May, when Jon Wilks, a prominent fingerpicking guitarist and singer who performs traditional English folk songs and broadside ballads, headlines the monthly concert.

With his background as a former editor of Time Out magazine and contributor to Dazed & Confused, The Guardian and other publications, Jon has a keen eye and ear for storytelling. During his live shows, he mixes entertaining folk song performances with fascinating titbits about original singers and collectors unearthed during his extensive research on traditional folk music in the UK.

Jon is also the founder and editor of, a website dedicated to the traditional music and ritualistic culture of England. He has released three solo albums, three albums and two EPs with The Grizzly Folk, and an album and EP with Japan-based indie band, Cut Flowers. He co-arranged and performed tracks on Jackie Oates’s Gracious Wings album and was a part of Slow Jane, the quartet that created videos of Nick Drake songs during lockdown.

Jon is also the presenter of The Old Songs Podcast and gigs whenever he can. Jon’s new album, Before I Knew What Had Begun I Had Already Lost, is released this month.

Joining Jon on the bill will be Jennie Higgins, a traditional folk singer and historian known for her a cappella traditional arrangements of folk songs that tell women’s stories. She released her debut album Where Are All The Women?, which explores the plethora of womanhood presented in traditional folk song, earlier this year.

Tickets for the concert, at Christ Church Downend on Friday 19 May, are available online at and from Melanie’s Kitchen in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Doors open at 7.30pm and the entertainment starts around 7.45pm. You can also buy a season ticket, which covers this concert as well as June’s Bella Hardy gig and the visit of Owen Spafford & Louis Campbell in July, and saves you a few quid! These are only available online.

There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and real ale from locally-based Hop Union Brewery.  There will also be sweet treats courtesy of the Radstock-based Great Cake Company, as well as a prize draw. 

For further information, please email or visit the website