John Barnes, Lawrence Hoo, Jack Monroe to speak at new Bristol festival, Forwards

John Barnes, Lawrence Hoo, Jack Monroe to speak at new Bristol festival, Forwards

Posted on: 05 May 2022

Four on-stage discussions have been added to an intriguing lineup for the festival's inaugural edition.


Renowned Bristol-based promoters Team Love have unveiled the latest additions to their new festival Forwards, taking place on The Downs on Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 September.


Set to showcase a vibrant musical lineup and open up conversations around activism and social change, Forwards has been devised to "challenge what metropolitan festivals can be today and how they can do good, from the inside out," as stated on the festival's website.


In addition to eagerly-anticipated performances from The Chemical Brothers, Jamie XX, Khruangbin and more, attendees can also expect live discussions with a selection of guest speakers, including former England footballer John Barnes and food writer/activist Jack Monroe.


Tickets for the first edition of Forwards are on sale now - find out more and get yours here.



With more lineup announcements set to land in the coming weeks, Forwards' first wave of on-stage discussions spans a broad range of issues faced in modern Britain. 


Author Lemn Sissay will open the programme with his 'My Name is Why' show reflecting on a childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness, before Bristol-based writer and journalist Shon Faye is joined by Travis Alabanza to discuss the realities of love and romance in our times.


The following day, acclaimed Bristolian poet Lawrence Hoo will interview John Barnes for a discussion titled 'Exceptionally Black - The Silent Majority'.


Then, Observer food critic and feature writer Jay Rayner will share the stage with Jack Monroe, best-known for her campaigning on poverty and hunger issues, to explore 'The State of Food'.



Alongside the speakers' lineup, Forwards will host a refreshing programme of live music and DJ sets, featuring the likes of Little Simz, Overmono, Kojey Radical and Kae Tempest, as well as Bristol's own Ishmael Ensemble and Billy Nomates.


Sustainability will play a vital role at the festival's debut edition, with a focus on understanding the event's environmental impact at the core of a three-year strategy drawn up to ensure a responsible approach to production and consumption.


The event will be running in tandem with Team Love's Big Team CIC, a community interest project set up to forge a path into the music industry for young people in and around Bristol.


With a particular focus on communities who have historically been under-represented in the music and festival industries, Big Team will offer work experience, shadowing and paid job placements during the buildup to Forwards and throughout the festival itself.


Forwards joins events like Love Saves The Day and Love International on Team Love's growing portfolio, which has also seen projects like The Downs Festival and hospitality pop-up Breaking Bread flourish in recent years.


For more information on Forwards, to secure your tickets or to follow news and updates as more lineup additions are revealed, visit the festival's website or head to the Forwards Instagram page.


Main Image: Chris Hoare

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Article by:

Matt Robson


Editor - & LOUD Magazine

Matt is a Journalism graduate and writer, passionate about supporting Bristol music, art and independent business. Get in touch via email at