Our favourite festivals coming up in and around Bristol
This has been one of the best Summers ever. Football almost came home, the sun will never leave us and festival season is here! Cue a loss and stormy weather but the last remains a fact! We can’t control how England perform or the weather but we can pick and choose our favourite festivals to enjoy this summer, and here our seven of our favourites which are in, or a short drive from, Bristol.
Oh well done Bristol, keeping your title of Graffiti Don with Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival! Upfest is an amazing event where over 300 artists and 50,000 viewers descend on South Bristol to admire the amazing creations that are adorned onto every available space.
This year they have teamed up with The Simpsons to create the theme and celebrate their 10th anniversary! Plus, Matt Groening himself has handpicked three Upfest artists to bring Springfield to South Bristol.
As well as enjoying all the art you can also have a dance, drink some cider and eat loads of great street food- plus it’s free!
About as Bristol as a pint of cider while listening to the Wurzels, the Bristol Harbour festival is an absolute highlight for us. For the weekend the whole of the city centre is taken over for everyone to enjoy for free! Music, food, art, activities for everyone and all them boats makes this one of the best festivals in the South West!
Don’t forget to explore the areas away from the main hub this year as things have been moved about a bit.
Another Europe’s biggest title for Bristol, this time the annual meeting of hot air balloons! The Balloon Fiesta has been a Bristol highlight for us since we were just nippers, as what’s more exciting than seeing a hot air balloon in the sky – and then multiplying that by 150!
This really is a site that you can only see in Bristol, plus it is free!
“A party on a farm” is about one of the most West Country phrases a festival can adopt – and we love it. Not only is this a cracking little festival just an hours drive from Bristol, it is also raising money for a great cause, Jamie’s Farm. Jamie’s Farm help children from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom have never left the cities they were born in! They do this through farming, community and counselling.
Plus, their line up is punching some weight for a small festival, there’s the farmer Olympics, loads of free workshops and talks and general well-being. This is one for food lovers, music lovers, ravers and families – basically it’s got something for everyone and adult weekend tickets are under £100.
Redfest is back in St George park again! Yas! Redfest has always been one of our favourite free festivals in Bristol. From humble beginnings this has become one of Bristol’s biggest free festivals which was started to celebrate and bring together the culture of East Bristol.
The music is always amazing, the food is top notch and the sense of community spirit is proper Bristol! We’re so glad it’s back in it’s spiritual home, it wasn’t the same when it wasn’t in the park! Great for families and those looking to get their skank on!
You’ll find us at the front of this one crying to Orbital! The Downs Festival, now in its third year, has pulled in some heavyweight acts and this year is no different. Orbital, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Paul Weller and Goldie to name but a few.
For everyone missing Glastonbury, this is nothing like that, however you can get your big hitting musical fix right here in Bristol. Plus, you get to go home at the end and have a hot bath and a cup of tea!
For festival lovers who don’t need a season to party, Simple Things is back this year with a scaled down, more intimate event. Simple Things is a multi-venue, city centre festival where music is definitely the star of the show. This is always a popular event and as it is smaller this year tickets will sell out faster than usual, they are already on pre-order so make sure you sign up!
The Time I Beat Bristol’s Scariest Escape Room
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.
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.
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.
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..
Tag us in your psycho selfies on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you take on Pig Face
Bristol’s Biggest Food Festival Is Back
Bristol Food Connections 2018 is nearly here, so it’s time to plan your festival!
Bristol Food Connections is one the highlights of Bristol’s food calendar, with a ridiculous amount of events (130 at the last count!) taking place across the city from 11-17th June.
It’s a fairly huge festival, covering everything from growing your own food to huge gala dinners and talks on sustainability. We’ve decided to break down what’s happening and pick out a few of our favourites from this year’s programme.
Booze it up
There are plenty of ways to hit the hard stuff (and find out more about it too)…
- A Journey Through Gin on Brunel’s SS Great Britain (Thu 14th, £22)
A tutored tasting of the full range of Bramley & Gage’s gins (inc. 6 O’Clock Gin) and liquers aboard Bristol’s historic ship.
- Traditional Cider Making, Orchard Tour & Tasting (Sun 17th, £10)
Enjoy a guided tour of this orchard in North Somerset & taste several ciders.
- Whisky and the Senses (Tue 12th, £8)
Find out why whisky tastes the way it does, and why you like some but not others.
- Cider vs Beer (Tue 12th, £25)
Taste your way through a selection of great beers & ciders and find out their similarities and differences!
- Portuguese wine dinner (Sat 16th, £45)
A three-course Portuguese dinner complimented with a paired wine flight.
- A Celebration of Bread & Beer (Fri 15th, Free)
Left Handed Giant and Assembly Bakery join forces for this street food party in Finzels Reach.
- Avery’s Summer of Wine (Sat 16th, £25)
Avery’s annual wine fiesta takes over Colston Hall, with over 100 wines for you to try!
See more of Bristol
With events dotted in every far flung corner of Bristol, now is the time to get out and explore!
- World Food Passport (All week, £8)
Taste your way around the food businesses of Gloucester Road, collecting stamps as you go (or you can also do a guided food tour of Gloucester Road that week too).
- Behind the Scenes of a Gin Distillery (Sat 16th, £25)
Head out to Thornbury for this special tour of 6 O’clock Gin’s distillery to find out more about how their delectable spirit is made (with plenty of tasters along the way, obv).
- Shroomshop (Sun 17th, £30)
Get some hands-on tips about mushroom cultivation at this workshop in St Werbs.
- Thyme Trail (Fri 15th, £15)
Visit various vendors in Wapping Wharf, hearing the stories behind the businesses and getting tasters as you go.
- TimeZone: Eat Your Way Around the World (Sat 16th, £4)
Try a range of international cuisine in Easton, including Jamican, Indonesian and Spanish.
- Eco day at Hartcliffe City Farm (Sun 17th, Free)
Try your hand at pond dipping, searching for bugs and other activities.
It’s not just about filling your face with food, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn a new skill or hear some interesting perspectives on the food we eat too:
- In Our Hands Screening (Thu 14th, £5, or £12 with a two-course meal)
Head to City Hall to see this thought-provoking documentary about Britain’s food system.
- Transforming the Education System Through Food (Tues 12th, £8)
Can schools transform learning through diet? Head along to this talk to find out.
- Philosophy Breakfast: The Ethics of Global Food Production (Sun 17th, £14)
Is it possible to eat ethically? Join the debate (breakfast included)
- Startup Stories (Tue 12th, £10)
Hear from several Bristol food businesses how they started out, and how to build a successful independent business.
- The Secret Life of Cows (Sun 17th, £8)
How do cows naturally behave, and what issues does this raise around farming?
- Fermentation Collaboration (Thu 14th, £25)
The Pickled Brisket & Bristol Cider Shop explain the process of fermentation, followed by a cider tasting and one of Pickled Brisket’s mega sandwiches.
Some seriously special dinner events from well-known chefs and local producers…
- FUTURE: FEAST (Mon 11th, £25)
Star Trek meets Come Dine With Me in an ‘immersive dining experience’.
- A Summer’s Feast (Fri 15th & Sat 16th, £30)
The next generation of Bristol chefs serve up a seasonal feast.
- It’s a Bristol Ting! (Sun 17th, Free)
Celebrate Bristol’s Jamaican community with rum & jerk chicken at Lakota.
- Chocolate Gala Dinner (Mon 11th, £35)
A special dinner to kick-off festival week, with all 3 courses featuring chocolate.
- Summer Dine & Vine Feast (Thu 14th, £30)
A three-course tasting menu paired with bio-dynamic wines.
- Homegrown Collective Supper Club (Fri 15th, £35)
Three-courses of local, seasonal food accompanied by music.
There are also loads of free talks and demos at the Festival Hub (next to Watershed) throughout the week, so it’s worth stopping by to see what’s on!
Love Saves The Day Preview
Love Saves The Day Returns To Bristol
Bristol’s biggest music festival returns to Eastville Park this May Bank Holiday Weekend with over 300 acts appearing across 12 stages including Fatboy Slim and Mercury Prize winner Sampha.
We caught up with a cross section of Love Saves The Day artists and staff to get their top picks for this year’s festival.
Sam Chadburn (Jus Now): Crack Presents…/Sampha
Most of the Artists I’m really excited to see at LSTD are all on one stage, so big up Crack Magazine for putting together an amazing line up. I absolutely love Hak Baker’s music, it’s so original, raw and honest. British rapper Octavian is another top pick for me, he’s a really special artist who’s in his own lane. And Sampha’s album Progress has probably been the most played album on my phone in the past 12 months. Watching him pour his heart out at the end of a long weekend on the main stage is going to be emotional!
Dave Harvey (Director & Booker): Aba Shanti
I’m really excited about having Aba Shanti playing for us in the Teachings In Dub area. I used to go to their dances in the East Midlands as a teenager, when I lived in Leicester and went to the carnival up there. They were always amazing, so chuffed to have him join us again this year!
Tom Paine / Director & Booker – Paranoid London
I don’t think there is another act that comes close to Paranoid London in the dance scene – they may well be the last punks left in the industry – and not the faux-punk posturing of Queef, proper snarling, screaming 303 acid lines, driving 808 drums and a menacing MC prowling the stage just daring you to look him in the eye…. rock and roll!
Zaniah Carigiet / Artist Logistics – Nightmares On Wax (live)
I’m a drum and bass girl through and through – you’ll always find me bouncing to the bass in my artist logistics office. However, If I could escape the mayhem of driver’s schedules and travel logistics, I would love to see Nightmares on Wax Live.
But then Arts House Presents Artwork will be FUN! It’s just so hard to choose. My Advice – make a plan that is flexible, enjoy the day and make sure you try out the roller Disco!
Zeina Raad (Festival Director): Bicep (live)
I’m most looking forward to seeing Bicep LIVE! All of their productions are welcome soundtracks to my life! I ran half a marathon listening to Just and Glue on repeat, I didn’t get bored of them then and I can’t wait to see them perform live at Love Saves The Day.
Dan Kealey (Marketing): Digital Mystikz
I’m unsure if this is just an elaborate ruse to find out where I’ll be skiving off to on Sunday, but I’m looking forward to seeing Digital Mystikz on the Hold Tight stage.
Between the two of them they have contributed some of dubstep’s most distinctive records, so I’m expecting big things. Honourable mentions must go to the Bristol home team of Pinch and Joker also playing on that stage.
Aisling Mustan (Press): David Rodigan and The Outlook Orchestra
Absolutely no question for me – David Rodigan with the Outlook Orchestra – I can’t imagine a better way to spend a sun-soaked Sunday at Love Saves The Day. It’s going to be a glorious symphonic sound clash of four decades of dancehall, reggae, dub, jungle and ska!
Love Save The Day tickets: https://lovesavestheday.org/line-up/
Love Save The Day Full Line Up:
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