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10 Top Street Artists to Catch At Upfest 2016 

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Upfest 2016

Billed as Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival, Upfest is a celebration of Bristol’s diverse and eclectic urban art scene. It takes place in and around Bedminster over three days from this Saturday 23rd July, with some of the finest and most talented artists from Bristol, the UK and further afield in attendance.

The festival has grown year on year from its inception eight years ago. 500 visitors came to see 50 skilled street artists at work at the first outing in 2008. By 2015, those figures had swollen to 30,000 visitors and 300 artists — turning our city into one enormous canvas of colour. Even today, almost a year later, you can still see artworks from previous years’ festivals on the walls of Bristol.

Upfest 2016 is just around the corner and the stage is set for a fresh new paint-job, so here’s a little insight into a few of the artists to look out for. You’ll find big names from Bristol alongside others you may not have heard of. Look out for these guys and gals at work on their walls, or simply stroll among the various venues and soak up the festival atmosphere. Cheers then!

Gemma Compton 

gemma compton ufest

A Bristol-based artist and fashion designer, Gemma works with a broad range of materials from cloth to concrete. With a love of nature, a fondness for the countryside and a keen eye for detail, she’s one to watch out for. If you’d like a taster of her work in advance of the festival, check out the Upfest flyer or visit the shop on North St — she decorated both.

Daniel Doebner

daniel doebner upfest

Daniel is a German-born artist from Aachen, who began his artistic career as an illustrator before falling for the thrill of the spray-can. He’s presented his work in exhibitions and projects across Europe, published books and started a career as a digital visualizer in the Netherlands. Daniel is a bold experimenter who has worked on surfaces of all kinds, but for him, Upfest represents a return to his roots.  

Sepr 

sepre upfest

Sepr has painted and exhibited across the globe, from the U.S. and Mexico all the way to Australia. A member of the KTF & ASK crews, Sepr is a Bristol painter known for his character-based art and unique style.

GOIN

goin upfest

GOIN is a French artist associated with the Abode of Chaos, a contemporary art museum and ‘replica war zone’ nestled in an otherwise peaceful village outside Lyon. With advanced stencil skills and an anarchic outlook, GOIN is a talented artist who paints to get you thinking.

Daniela Reed 

daniela reed upfest

Daniela employs spray paint, acrylic, pen and ink to create striking images around diverse themes including politics and feminism. Inspired by the street art she sees around her right here in Bristol, Daniela depicts the human body in all its power and fragility.

ATM 

atm upfest

With diverse bird and animal life in sharp decline, ATM is a street artist on a mission. He paints images of species whose numbers are falling fastest, highlighting their plight and reminding us all of their natural beauty. The goal is to encourage people to help protect birds and other wildlife from further decline.

Cheo

cheo upfest

Cheo is a Brizzle lad, and one of the city’s best-known artists-in-residence. His colourful palette and comic-book approach mark him out as an artist of distinction, and his work is among Bristol’s most recognisable and enjoyable. He’s painted everything from refuse skips to skateboards, with his trade-mark bumble bee never far behind.

Cheo collaborated with Upfest this year to mark the Mr Men Little Miss’ 45th anniversary celebrations. He created Mr Graff — the newest and coolest of all the Mr Men characters — who you’ll spot in his signature red cap on the streets of Bedminster soon!

Cosmo Sarson

cosmo upfest

Cosmo Sarson is the man behind Bristol’s own ‘Breakdancing Jesus’ — a talented and experienced artist with a strong portfolio of eye-catching work. He last painted at Upfest in 2011 and created the world’s first ‘interactive mural’ for the Olympic Arts Trail in 2012.

Zina 

zina upfest

Zina is a freelance artist and illustrator, born in Norway and based in London. With varied themes including mythology, ancient history and the mystic world to fuel her lively imagination, Zina draws on diverse ethnic cultures in her work.

Zase

zase upfestBorn in Trencin, Slovakia, Zase has been part of his local art and graffiti scene since the mid-nineties. In a place where the street art scene was low-key and lacking, Zase felt inspired to push himself and develop his skills. Now a well-established artist in his own right, Zase travels the world collaborating with diverse talents in a broad range of formats.

NACOA + Upfest

Aside from showcasing amazing street art, Upfest has a second key aim; to shine a light on the important work of NACOA — the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. Obviously a worthy cause, and one many people perhaps feel doesn’t get the attention it should.

The festival brings together a whole host of talented Djs and bands, beatboxers, dancers, and workshops where budding artists of all ages can learn new skills. You’ll find affordable artwork for sale, and plenty to eat and drink as you explore the bars, galleries and walls of Bedminster.

Roll on Saturday… Enjoy!

Like this? Check out more of cjcallaghan’s thoughts on Bristol’s beautiful street art.

You can give Chris a follow on Twitter here.

Produced with help from @Upfest.

Further reading;

An in-depth look at the artists attending this year’s Upfest. http://www.upfest.co.uk/artist

A full map of the festival site. http://www.upfest.co.uk/uploads/upfest_2016_map.pdf

Details on NACOA — the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. http://www.upfest.co.uk/page/charity and http://www.nacoa.org.uk/

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Behind the Scenes at Thatchers Cider

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I have a confession to make… I’m a cider snob. I like it dry or medium-dry, and cloudy – with the heady scent of fermented apples still brimming in the glass. The kind of cider that’s been greasing the wheels of agriculture and industry in Somerset for centuries. Not for me, the sugary, sweet, supermarket stuff… I’ll have a pint of real zider, and you can leave the twigs and leaves in, too.

Spanning four generations in the same family, Thatchers is our region’s most famous cider-maker – and their range of produce is broad. Although most of their ciders are slightly over-processed for my liking, they do still make cider the traditional way. I’d say a visit to their orchards at Myrtle Farm in the heart of Somerset’s cider country is a must-do for any cider-lover in Bristol.

Exploring the orchards

Image courtesy of Natacha the Franglaise

My recent visit began in the Thatchers Exhibition Orchard, where manager Chris oversees over 450 different apple varieties. The weather conditions in Somerset offer the perfect conditions for growing apples – with cold winters allowing the trees to lie dormant, and temperate springs promoting bee pollination and blossom-growth. True to form for this time of year, it was pissing with rain as we strolled among the lines of fruit-laden trees – but the apples like a little of that, too.

Hearing how Chris and his team fuse new apple buds to young root stocks to produce varieties like Dabinett and Jonagold was insightful, and his ability to harness the power of nature to produce the finest harvests made for fascinating listening. Our tour continued past the huge apple vats and ancient fermentation tanks to the state-of-the-art canning plant, and it was a joy to hear the various Thatchers team members share their passion for the product.

To the tasting…

Thatchers brought a selection of their lovely cider to Bristol a few months ago, so this was a fortunate second tasting for me. We sampled diverse brews including Redstreak, Old Rascal, Vintage, Haze, Katy, and more – each offering a different balance of scent and flavour to the last. It turns out Old Rascal is the team’s overall favourite Thatchers’ cider – a very fine drop indeed.

Lunch at The Railway Inn

Image courtesy of Bristol Bloggers

The Railway Inn is Thatchers’ local pub, with a broad selection of beers and ciders alongside a full menu of delicious dishes sourced, of course, from in and around Somerset. The pub has been lovingly converted from its original stone structure to a warm and welcoming space – with traditional snug, open bar area and stylish oak-beamed dining room. There’s garden seating for summer visitors, and a seasonal menu that makes the very most of the region’s natural produce.

Take a tour

If all this talk of apples and cider has got your taste buds tingling, you can find details on Thatchers’ guided tours and tastings on their website here. October is Cider and Perry Month, so now’s the ideal time to celebrate and support our local orchards and cider-makers. Harvest season is upon us too, so if you visit Thatchers there’s a good chance you’ll get to see the trucks arriving from across Somerset – their fruity haul ready for pressing.

If you head over, do book a table at The Railway Inn – it makes a good visit great. I can recommend the Thatchers Gold-battered fish and chips, and the sticky toffee pud hits the spot. Cider’s not bad ‘n’ all. Cheers!

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For more of @cjcallaghan’s reviews and write-ups, check out his Best of Bristol author page.

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Pata Negra Revamp Kitchen And Menu

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pata negra

Pata Negra Steps It Up for the Autumn Season

Bristol’s proud independent streak is well-documented, and we’re lucky to have so many vibrant and exciting bars, restaurants and cafes to choose from in this city.

If you enjoy visiting and supporting Bristol’s varied independent venues, it’s likely you’ll have a list of places old and new that you’re just waiting for the right time to tick off.

The Ox on Corn Street had been sitting on my must-visit list for months when I went last month, and I was very, very impressed.

But from the style-savvy team behind The Milk Thistle and Hyde & Co, what else could I have expected?

Also on Corn Street, and also run by the same talented team, Pata Negra is another venue I’d been curious about for a while — but on those occasions when I’d peered in past the door, I’d never felt encouraged in. Despite the great location and classical décor, it somehow just didn’t feel tempting.

Fresh changes at Pata Negra

That’s all changed now. In the latest round of developments at Pata Negra, the kitchen has been brought up from the basement to take pride of place at the forefront of the room — and the difference is striking.

You step through the doorway to skilled chefs preparing delicious dishes in their new open-plan setting, with a fine haunch of cured Ibérico ham hanging from the wall.

Further towards the back of the room, welcoming window seats and banks of plush red-leather benches offer the perfect settings for intimate gatherings of friends.

A menu re-vamp for the autumn season

The engine-room of the restaurant is now fully on show, and a menu re-vamp has changed things up for autumn. Diners can expect seasonal twists on authentic Spanish classics alongside new dishes created to bring the best out of the kitchen’s open grills.

Meanwhile, the wine and sherry list showcases the best of the Iberian Peninsula — the perfect accompaniment to the delicious tapas dishes, fresh seafood and decadent desserts on offer.

For full details on Pata Negra’s refreshed autumn menu, head over to the website here.

For more of @cjcallaghan’s reviews and write-ups, check out his Best of Bristol author page.

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The Time I Beat Bristol’s Scariest Escape Room

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Hell in a cell Bristol

I’m put in many a tricky situation exploring the very ‘Best of Bristol’.

Usually up high, scaling buildings and cranes (#antimitchclimbs), but I didn’t think it would result in being locked in a prison cell with a psycho killer called Pig Face (pictured above). Welcome to Hell in a Cell, ay?

Now for some of you reading, Hell in the Cell will make you think of wrestling but I can promise you this is scarier than when Shane McMahon jumps off the top of that cell.

Probably..

Hell in a cell Bristol

The rather terrifying Pig Face.

Hidden beneath the old Crown Courts on Bridewell Street, within the cells, this has been dubbed “Bristol’s scariest attraction”. And so in the interest of research I took on Pig Face, and lived to tell the tale!

I can’t actually give away too much of the game, because this is an escape room and that just wouldn’t be cricket, would it?

What I can reveal though, should give you a taste of what to expect.

Hell in a cell bristol

You don’t know what you’re getting yourself in for until they handcuff you and throw a bag over your head..

Like any escape room, Hell in a Cell Bristol sets players challenges that they have to complete. Perhaps the first challenge is not backing out after you’re handcuffed with a sack placed over your head.

It’s then trying not to cack yourself as you’re led into the pitch black cells, where you know you’re not alone, but you can’t quite tell what’s there.

It’s that lovely fucker by the name of Pig Face.

Pig Face is reasonably fair at this point and allows you an hour to make your escape. It’s go time!

Oh, and all your belongings have been taken off you, so you can’t use your phone torch or ask Siri for help.

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You ok there hun?

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What I will say is that you bond pretty bastard quickly when you’re scrambling to find light and remove your handcuffs. I was with my good friend Colin Moody, but with three other people I did not know, and we came out of it with an unwavering sense of camaraderie.

That probably explains why this Bristol escape room has proven so popular with corporate clients in the city. Hell, it’s proven pretty popular with all but one reviewer on a popular site that rhymes with whip chastiser. That person claimed it wasn’t very scary. Ooooooo sorry ‘ard.

The game itself was challenging, terrifying and fun (if you like being scared). It will most certainly fill you with adrenaline and leave you in need of a celebratory drink if you do make it out.

This is NOT for the faint hearted. I don’t scare easy, and if you’re like me you won’t feel a sense of fear, but you’ll definitely be made to jump. Nobody is immune to that.

If you do scare easily, go to the bathroom beforehand. Or don’t, these are real holding cells so you could always have a pee in there..

Fancy it? Then click here to book.

Tag us in your psycho selfies on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you take on Pig Face

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