27,000 turn out for Massive Attack on Downs

September 30 2016

Last month saw the first concert on Bristol Downs in 15 years when local legends, Massive Attack, played a huge concert for for 27,000 fans. This was the first major home town gig for the band since 2003.

MASSIVE ATTACK

 

by Sam Grist 

 

Last month saw the first concert on Bristol Downs in 15 years when local legends, Massive Attack, played a huge concert for for 27,000 fans. This was the first major home town gig for the band since 2003.

Before the event even began concerns were expressed over parking, noise, damage to the land and licensing but ultimately the event went ahead with a relative lack of issues. While some Redland, Westbury Park and Westbury-on-Trym residents have said they could hear the concert from their houses, it does not seem to have been a significant problem.

Liz Radford, councillor for Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze, said that the sound and impact on the Downs was less than expected. She said: “On reviewing the site the next morning, the area outside of the enclosure was remarkably tidy and staff were busy removing the small amount of rubbish left Photo courtesy  of ShotAway
from the attendees leaving the night before.”

She was, however, sceptical about future events on The Downs, adding: “Personally, The Downs would not be my first choice for a large event, particularly when we have Ashton Court as a tried and tested location. Once Bristol has the Arena in place, I would foresee this as the prime location for bands to play.”

Westbury-on-Trym resident Georgia Moden said: “I could hear the concert from my home but the noise was not troublesome or disturbing in the least. It was merely background noise, no louder than some summer barbecues and quieter than some of the illegal raves that have occurred. The curfew was adhered to and was not overly late.”

Of those in attendance the biggest complaint has been crowding which led to long queues for drinks and toilets inside the site. 

Henleaze resident, Ryan Jarrett said: “Everyone just turned up at the same time, around 6pm because of the rain. The queues were huge for the food, drinks and toilets - about half an hour deep. I was given some backstage passes, which you would think would be quicker, but it still took 30 minutes to get some drinks - I must have spent half my time there.”

Sarah Thomas said: “I didn’t feel it was too crowded. Given the number of people that were there, I felt they’d managed the space well. The music was great, however, probably not quite loud enough. The atmosphere was wonderful and said a lot about Bristol - it was soulful.”

The Westbury-on-Trym Society took a neutral stand on the concert but said they were concerned with the lack of consultation with residents from the Downs Committee. 

In a statement, Alan Preece described the concert as, “the thin end of a very large wedge.”

Conal Dodds from Crosstown Concerts, one of the organisers of the concert, said: "Overall Massive Attack on The Downs was an overwhelming success and we’re delighted we were able to deliver such an iconic event for the people of Bristol and beyond. 

"We would definitely be keen to hold future events and make this an annual occurrence in Bristol's calendar.

"Obviously, our next step is to have a full debrief with all parties involved, including local residents, gather feedback and assess the appetite for future music events in the location."