Hilltop Sessions

Live independent music in Lewes

Live music and pubs. Two of the things we badly missed during lockdowns. So we created Hilltop Sessions to do something about it.


Every month Hilltop Sessions hosts two independent artists who perform original songs across a range of genres.

Join us every first Thursday of the month Upstairs at the Royal Oak in Lewes.

Upcoming Sessions

  • September 1st - We Are All Fossils & Rosin
    01 Sept, 20:00 – 23:00
    Lewes, 3 Station St, Lewes BN7 2DA, UK
    Indie-folk outfit We Are All Fossils, led by songwriter Deist Oelofse, made a remarkable journey from YouTube project to leading advocates of the indie-folk musical genres. Berlin-born Rosin, who draws comparisons with none other than Phoebe Bridgers, will support.
  • October 6 - Martha Tilston & Natsuma
    Thu, 06 Oct
    The Royal Oak
    06 Oct, 20:00 – 23:00
    The Royal Oak, 3 Station St, Lewes BN7 2DA, UK
    Martha Tilston, our October headline is one of the UK's most original and diverse folk singers whose songs, at times personal, at times politcal are bound to move you. Support will be by Brit school graduate, 19-year old singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Natsuma.
  • November 10th - Ellie Ford & Sophie Moore
    10 Nov, 20:00 – 23:00
    Lewes, 3 Station St, Lewes BN7 2DA, UK
    Our November session introduces a brand new instrument to the Hilltop family, the harp and more imprtantly, the amazingly talented Ellie Ford, a mesmerizing alt-folk songwriter and performer. Ellie will be supported by Sophie Moore and her brother Julian, one of our favourite musical combinations.
  • Aliens & Indira May
    Thu, 01 Dec
    01 Dec, 20:00 – 23:00
    Lewes, 3 Station St, Lewes BN7 2DA, UK
    Aliens was formed in 2016 by writer Tim May and Del Amitri guitarist Iain Harvie. Their eclectic music and lyrics covered gives a voice to some of today's most important topics. Support will come from rising star Indira May who has already convinced many that she's 'one to watch'.

The Hilltop Sessions
Upstairs at the Royal Oak


Doors Open at 7.30 pm

The Royal Oak
3 Station Street
Lewes BN7 2DA

Royal Oak taps.jpg

About Hilltop Sessions

What is Hilltop Sessions?

Hilltop Sessions is a series of monthly live gigs featuring a range of independent artists performing original material. They take place upstairs at the Royal Oak in Lewes, (usually) on the first Thursday of every month.


Who is behind Hilltop Sessions?

Hilltop Sessions was created – and is curated - by Lewes based artist and musician Maia Eden and her husband Oliver Dudok van Heel, a member of pop-up busking troupe The Magnificent Kevens.


How did Hilltop Sessions come about?

We (Maia and Oliver) met through a shared love of music and had been talking for a while finding ways to bring quality music into people’s lives. When the pandemic hit and we realised how much we missed live music and how much the pandemic threatened musicians’ livelihoods and careers, we created Hilltop Sessions to give musicians a platform, once restrictions were lifted.


What type of music can you expect at a Hilltop Session?

We don’t want to limit the sessions to one style of music. Our first series of sessions includes legendary new wave pop, indie, piano ballads, indie-folk, rap and electronic music.

We don’t necessarily expect Hilltop Session audiences to come because their favourite artist is playing – though fans are very welcome! We hope people join us on a Thursday evening because they want to discover something new that they may not otherwise be drawn to. In other words, come with an open mind and let yourself be surprised. Think of it like the musical equivalent of monthly  surprise case of wine or crate of beer!

Our role as curators is to make sure that we bring quality singer-songwriters to each session. If you leave a session thinking ‘This was new and it was great’, we’ve done our job.


Are you looking for established or unknown artists?

A little bit of everything. We were delighted to have Chris Difford perform at the first Hilltop Session as he is an amazing artist and songwriter, but for the most part we will support artists who aren’t quite as well-known but are very good at what they do. A typical session will usually involve one headline artist with at least one album under their belt and a good following and one support artist who may not have recorded anything yet, but has already written some cracking songs and is ready to share them with a wider audience.


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