Big Issue vendors will star at Downs Festival this weekend

The Big Issue joins Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Madness and more at Bristol extravaganza

After last year’s rip-roaring successful partnership, The Big Issue is thrilled to be working again with Bristol’s Downs Festival for 2019, with our vendors selling a special festival edition of the magazine in Wales and the South West, and working hard on-site during the two day event on August 31 and September 1.

First Ladies of Funk and Soul are at the top of the bill on Saturday, with Grace Jones and Ms Lauryn Hill, while Madness headline on Sunday. A host of speakers, thinkers and activists will keep debate lively at The Information stage, and there’s fun for all ages with Aardman Animations, circus workshops, and entertainment in abundance.

Also on the bill are IDLES, Neneh Cherry, Fontaines DC and Loyle Carner. And they will be joined by Bristol Big Issue vendors Josh and Mike, who will be selling the magazine on-site at the festival. Not only that, but each of them will do half a day’s paid work employed by the festival itself: Josh will help with security and Mike will be behind the scenes helping to keep the festival accessible.

Festival director, Tom Paine, said: “We really delighted to be teaming up again with The Big Issue for a second year at The Downs Bristol festival.  The Big Issue is a wonderful organisation with ideas and values closely aligned to what we are trying to achieve at the festival.

“We’re excited to be working with vendors again to sell the programme edition at the event and even more pleased that some of the vendors that we began to work with last year at the event will this year be taking on roles and gaining experience at the event itself by working with our team of contractors to help build and produce the event.”


The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

The Downs is one of the major players in The Big Issue’s ‘Festivals For Good’ ethos, celebrating festivals that put a social echo at their heart, and magazine editor Paul McNamee added: “It’s tremendous to link up for a second year with the Downs Festival. Again, they hit the mark with the music. What a way to see out the summer.

“And more than that, they put their money where their mouth is. They offer The Big Issue vendors opportunities to earn on site, and also to progress in wider careers. Some of our team are working on the production side of the event this year. It’s a righteous festival, a fantastic festival and one that The Big Issue is delighted to remain embedded in.”

A special edition of The Big Issue containing a festival programme produced exclusively for The Downs will be on sale in Wales and the South West from August 26, and on sale from magazine vendors on-site during the festival itself.

For more about The Downs and tickets click here.