Review: Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller close triumphant Downs Festival

PUBLISHED: 18:48 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 19:00 03 September 2018

Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller performing together at The Downs Festival 2018.

Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller performing together at The Downs Festival 2018.


A pair of Britain’s most iconic musicians performed in Bristol at the weekend - and they certainly did not disappoint.

Noel Gallagher at The Downs Festival 2018.Noel Gallagher at The Downs Festival 2018.

The Downs Festival saw thousands of fans descend on one of the city’s most picturesque parts to watch Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher take to the main stage.

Weller, who could easily have headlined in his own right, played a blistering set at 8pm featuring songs from both his solo career and his time with The Jam.

The Modfather bounded around the stage for the entire hour-long performance - and the crowd loved it.

Songs such as The Changingman, That’s Entertainment and Peacock Suit were particular high-energy highlights while 1995 ballad You Do Something To Me saw plenty of hugging and swaying ensue.

Weller proved his music is just as popular decades after it was released while his more recent material also went down a storm.

He was the perfect prelude to the night’s main event - Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

I didn’t think the crowd at the main stage could get much busier but ahead of Noel’s performance it felt like thousands of others joined the throng and, to be honest, in the 30 minutes in between sets it felt a bit claustrophobic.

The Heavy at The Downs Festival 2018.The Heavy at The Downs Festival 2018.

However, that minor irritation ended as soon as Noel took to the stage.

As a big Oasis fan I, along with many others, was very excited to watch him perform.

I never saw them play together before their acrimonious split in 2009 and although I have seen Liam Gallagher perform several times since then, the chance to watch the man who wrote some of my most-loved songs had eluded me until now.

Despite my excitement, I was also unsure as to whether Noel’s performance as a solo artist would meet my lofty expectations. I need not have worried.

He proved why he remains one of the country’s most treasured musicians with a show full of energy, passion and emotion.

Although classic Oasis songs like Whatever, Don’t Look Back In Anger, Little By Little and Wonderwall drew the biggest sing-alongs, what impressed me most was the way his solo material came across.

Although I have liked his three previous albums under the High Flying Birds moniker - particularly 2017’s Who Built The Moon? - they seemed to be injected with a new lease of life when performed live.

Paul Weller at The Downs Festival 2018.Paul Weller at The Downs Festival 2018.

Noel was joined by a talented female vocalist for The Right Stuff and opening number Fort Knox, while a brass section was on stage throughout.

Gallagher’s solo songs including Holy Mountain, Dream On and If I had A Gun drew a rapturous reception from fans and showed his music still means so much to people of all ages.

Without doubt the highlight was the final two songs of the night when Paul Weller returned to the stage with Noel to play The Jam hit A Town Called Malice and All You Need Is Love by The Beatles.

It was the perfect way to end a set full of joy, positivity and fun.

It also capped off a brilliant day overall at the festival.

We arrived in the afternoon to watch artists including Dream Wife and The Heavy, both of which were excellent.

The Avon Stage was also busy all day with DJs and artists including Goldie and Basement Jaxx particular highlights.

Dream Wife at The Downs Festival 2018.Dream Wife at The Downs Festival 2018.

For a slower pace, the Information Stage saw a number of speakers, including comedian Shappi Khorsandi, give speeches on issues including homelessness and Brexit.

We also spent plenty of time wandering around the site which included more than enough bars to keep queues to a minimum and a children’s play area, which showed just how family-friendly the event is.

A mention should also be given to the food on offer.

I opted for jerk chicken but there was a great selection to choose from including pizza, tapas and toasties.

I was also hugely impressed by how well the festival was organised.

With so many people leaving at the same time, the end of events such as this can often be somewhat chaotic and stressful.

However, with no parking at the site and road closures in force people were forced to walk, cycle or get a shuttle bus there.

Khruangbin at The Downs Festival 2018.Khruangbin at The Downs Festival 2018.

This meant despite a brief wait for a bus we made it back to our cars at Long Ashton park and ride within an hour of the festival ending.

It was my first Downs Festival and overall I was hugely impressed with all aspects.

Although Noel Gallagher was my primary reason for going I loved everything else about the event and would definitely return another year.

Other Entertainment News


One of the hottest rising talents on the British music scene will be performing at a gig in Bristol in 2019.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:14

There are few stories better known than the birth of Jesus.

Read more
Thu, 17:15

Venture into the Wizarding World with the latest remake of one of J K Rowling’s books.

Read more
Tue, 20:00

The Original Rude Boy will be heading to Bristol this weekend.

Read more
Sunday, November 11, 2018

LA Cinema will showcase this year’s Oscar-winning best film.

Read more
Saturday, November 10, 2018

Stop Right Now and get your tickets to the reunion tour your teenage self has been crying out for.

Read more
Saturday, November 10, 2018

Theatre, fiction and film writer Adam Z Robinson is bringing his show to Clevedon – and the Times is giving people a chance to win tickets to see it.

Read more
Friday, November 9, 2018

An evening of fine wine, decadent food and seaside sleuthing will take place at Clevedon Hall this week.

Read more
Thursday, November 8, 2018

One of the most talked about films at the moment is to be shown at the Curzon cinema – and lucky Times readers will be able to watch it for free in Clevedon.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It was fine night of giant beers and plastic cup politics down at the sold out ska show at the O2 Academy Bristol, Sunday night.

Read more

Most Read Entertainment

Read Online

Read the North Somerset Times e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 4°C

Useful Links

Reader Travel

Clevedon Tide report

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

North Somerset Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications