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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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Happy Bird Comes to Roost in Bristol

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Happy Bird Arrives In Bristol

Taking flight this coming Friday (26th Jan), Happy Bird is the latest opening on Bristol’s Whiteladies Road. Dedicated to quality, this brand new restaurant and take-away serves up fresh fried and grilled chicken reared the way it should be.

Nesting in the Yorkshire Wolds

Happy Bird’s dedicated bosses scoured the land in search of a chicken farmer with the right attitude to animal welfare, and they found one in the rolling Yorkshire Wolds. Farmer Ed’s pullets aren’t cooped up in the hen-house and force-fed grain, they’re free to flap around the pastures and enjoy the outdoor life. Fed on a diet of corn and fresh herbs – with no artificial flavourings or additives – these free-range hens enjoy the good life far longer than the average battery bird.

Clucking nice gaff

The interior of Happy Bird’s  brand new outlet is all bright neon lights, sleek metal grills and clean lines, with an egg-inspired yellow and white colour theme which reminded me that chicken was the order of the day – though that might not have been deliberate. Either way, it’s a stylish and enticing setup.

Diners can take a seat and eat in at any of the benched tables, or ‘Cluck and Collect’ with the take-away service. And if you want your chicken to wing its way to you instead, Happy Bird run a home delivery service.

Feeling peckish?

Happy Bird’s menu offers up tasty treats like honey and chilli-glazed wings, grilled breasts and crisp, fried tenders, making the best of the meat on each bird. Tender thigh and breast burgers made a nice change from the usual beef, and you can have it rolled into a burrito too – all accompanied by a delicious range of greens and salads. A selection of seven colourfully-named home-made sauces add a beautiful ‘zing’ to the meat, complementing the flavours perfectly.

For a restaurant that has taken such time and care in choosing Bristol as a location, I was a little disappointed with the beer selection. I like the Magic Rock brewery as much as the next crafty hipster, but we have so many wonderful breweries in this city there’s no shortage of choice. That said, it’s very early days at Happy Bird HQ, and I dare say they’ll be knocking on the doors of a few local breweries soon.

Happy Bird’s simple aim is to provide the best chicken in town, and I think they’re off to a strong start. With such evident care given to sourcing the meat and setting up a pheasant pleasant space to dine in, they deserve to do well.

Happy Bird sits by the entrance to Clifton Down Shopping Centre, and you can check out the full menu here. For more of Chris Callaghan’s reviews and write-ups, you can find him here.

Author’s note: I was invited to try Happy Bird’s offerings free of charge, and really enjoyed it. I thought you might too, so I wrote this.

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The Big Bristol 2017 Quiz

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The Big Bristol 2017 Quiz

Ere love, so you think you know everything about Bristol this year then do you? Take our quiz and see where you rank on the gurt lush-o-meter.

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Why I F****ing LOVE Bristol

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bristol

I know that this is going to sound slightly ironic when reading this; here we are, yet another non-Bristolian who moved here some years ago and never looked back, raving about why they love this city so much, yadda yadda yadda.

But, I’ve not travelled far. I came to Bristol six years ago from the quieter, smaller landscape of Exeter in Devon, so I’m keeping it within the South West. I’m not from London (can I say that?!) insert winking emoji here. I jest of course.

But what is it about Bristol that has me convinced I will probably (most certainly) never move myself back down to the shire? Why do I want to stay here? I thought I might write down some of the reasons why I FUCKING LOVE BRISTOL.

Bristol’s Food

bristol food

Well, let’s start with the obvious. I love to eat, but I never realised just how passionate I was about food and everything connected with it until I came here. There is a strong focus on sustainability, being ethical and supporting local and surrounding businesses – it’s collaborative, enthusiastic and extremely positive.

Bristol is surrounded by plentiful and beautiful greenery, perfect for foraging and collecting ingredients to be used in kitchens. It also means there are farms right on the city’s doorstep, providing us with a great selection of organic and free-range meats or poultry, vegetables and dairy. We really are situated within the West Country’s glorious larder. The food we enjoy in Bristol’s independent restaurants is fresh and of high quality, and it really doesn’t get much better.

No one is jostling and fighting for the spotlight, and if anything, restaurants, kitchens and bars actively promote each other across various platforms and encourage locals and visitors alike to give their city neighbours a try. We’ve got some strong offerings across this patch, all serving up quality and variety. I’ve always said if there is a certain cuisine, or dish that you fancy, you are most likely to find it somewhere in Bristol, and nine times out of ten, it won’t bankrupt your wallet. Growers, producers, farmers, restaurant owners and chefs all work together here collaboratively, and I fucking love it.

The Bristol Lingo

When I first moved to Bristol, I lived in Horfield and had the chore of commuting to and from the centre every day. Hearing the immortal words, ‘cheers drive’ has never grown old though, and now I don’t get the bus anymore I kind of miss it (not the bus journey, but the saying). The Bristolian lingo is one I love and I have learnt many new phrases since arriving here; who knew that getting your hair off meant you were in a pissy? Or the end of a loaf was the topper? I’m not sure I can get on board with smoothing the cat rather than stroking it, and I couldn’t get away with saying I was going to see ‘are muh’ but I love hearing it. Plus, I will never tire of being called ‘love’, ‘lover’ or ‘babber’ by friends and sweet strangers. There’s something so heart-warming about it.

Creativity

I haven’t seen a city fully embrace creativity and freedom of expression like I have seen it in Bristol. Embraced so much so that, in fact no one bats an eyelid. There are often events happening that I just don’t think would go on in other places, and I’m not sure if this is because there is a much stronger independent offering here which allows more flexibility, or that there are just more creative minds in Bristol possessing quirky ideas (I’m going with the latter).

Whatever it is though, I’m not complaining. I’ve twerked to hip hop in an actual fish and chip shop, I’ve dressed up as a hero of Ancient Geese and ran from pub to pub like a madman with my teammates to complete challenges which included throwing crab sticks down each other’s pants, I’ve danced to Golden Lookin’ Chain at the amphitheatre and the one closest to my heart; I led the Big Bristol Burger Crawl with the help of some very special friends, restaurants and a wonderful group of enthusiastic eaters. I would never have been able to do this in my hometown, for various reasons but mainly because it’s on such a smaller scale. I’ve created hilarious memories and fucking enjoyed every minute whilst doing so. Friends and family often comment to me how jealous they are that I live in a city with so much going on all the time, it never gets boring and there is always something to do.

Power Ballads at the Fleece

The first Friday of every month sees this epic club night at The Fleece and no matter how many times I go it never gets old. It’s a no frills, no-holds barred karaoke session basically, with you and every other reveller on the dance floor. There have been many occasions when I have belted out 4 Non-Blondes and Whitney Houston whilst flaying about and being my own air guitar master; serenading complete strangers who also meant to only go out for ‘one’ after work on a Friday. It’s a bloody laugh innit.

Baps…

natalie burger

I couldn’t write down the reasons I love Bristol and not mention the burger scene. For anyone who knows me knows how much joy I get from chowing down on a bap and we are truly spoilt for choice with options all over the city. Of course I understand the arguments for having too much of one thing, but I disagree. I believe each establishment offers us something different; there are places to takeaway, to sit in and have cocktails, restaurants that are better for families and venues which aren’t afraid to try something new. It would be pretty boring if they were all the same anyway right?

asado

Through my love of eating, I’ve also managed to forge some lovely friendships with the teams behind the buns, and their enthusiasm for bringing the best to Bristol is wonderful to see. I often get tagged in burger photos on Instagram and on Twitter, and receive messages from friends and strangers asking for recommendations on where to get their next burger fix and this brings me no end of joy. I’ve been able to meet, communicate and discuss all things meaty with a bunch of new faces which I really love. It’s just another reason (aside from them being delicious) that I will always champion the Bristol burger gods and for some people to call me Bristol’s burger queen is beyond a compliment.

Action for Change

There are so many examples of initiatives and events I could shout out for this example of why Bristol is special, so big up to everyone championing to make a difference in any way they can. Not only do individuals recognise problems and the need for change here, but they actually roll up their sleeves and start doing something about it.

The 91 Ways events have proved hugely popular across the city, and the idea behind it is really quite simple; uniting people through the love of food. Bristol has a diverse range of communities that live together and these events are designed to fuse these different cultures and promote a healthier, more sustainable city. It also allows communities or people who may feel isolated or out on a limb to make connections with others and engage in important discussions. It is ideas like this that allow people from all walks of life the chance to come together.

There are also smaller scale (but no less important) projects, such as Incredible Edible Bristol which promotes the use of land (no matter how big or small) to grow food. The team here, made up of volunteers and partners have created over 30 edible gardens in spaces across Bristol and the food grown is free and for anyone to take away and eat.  This initiative has also introduced a scheme to get schools involved, so that youngsters can see the importance first hand of being able to grow and eat sustainably.

As in every city there are charities designed to help the less fortunate, so this is not something new in Bristol, however the support and willingness of people to get stuck in and help knows no bounds here. People collecting donations of food and warm clothes to hand out to those sleeping on the streets, unwanted/unused scarfs tied to lampposts so that those who are homeless can take them to keep and fund raising events are just a small selection of ideas I have witnessed whilst living here. Care in the community has never had more of a profound meaning.

So Bristol, I love you, do you mind if I stay?

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