There is life after Ashton Court Festival!
… and with over 500 bands, DJs, comedians, cabaret acts and circus performers, her replacement is not to be sniffed at. From 23rd – 25th September Bristol is host to the third BrisFest, which will be transforming the centre into a colourful mish-mash of music, comedy, street theatre, circus and art.
When the Ashton Court Festival closed down in 2007, after more than 30 years trading, Bristol was bereft. Attracting around 60,000 people each year, the locally-minded event was one of the largest free festivals in the UK and the highlight of Bristol’s summer calendar.
Fortunately a group of dedicated volunteers stepped up to create an “accessible, affordable festival” which they hoped would be “an asset to the city”. BrisFest also gives back to the community in a big way, feeding Bristol’s rich music scene: industry talks and demo panels are available to which aspiring bands and DJs can bring CDs to get feedback and network. The team is even putting up the organisers of nearby festivals such as Boomtown Fair and Shambala in hotels and setting up a VIP meet-and-greet service, allowing local acts to showcase their talent and gain slots at summer festivals.
This year’s performers are a diverse bunch, including representatives for hip-hop, jungle, drum & bass, punk, dub and reggae: big names include Nicky Blackmarket, Congo Natty, Rodney P and Skitz, Laid Blak and First Degree Burns. If the music doesn’t grab you there’s plenty more to see and do: a wander through the festival will throw up stilt walkers, jugglers, fire shows, a silent rave and even boat parties. What’s more, the entire site has been painted head-to-toe by internationally recognised street artists and will be brought to life after dark by interactive light projections.
Tickets start from just £8 (and the boat parties from £6!), so if you’re in the area there really is no excuse not to go down and explore. If you’ve just moved here to start at University of Bristol or UWE you can consider this an induction to your new city. Welcome to Bristol.
For tickets and further information visit www.brisfest.co.uk.
Written by Lucy, Bristol.