Our pick of things to do in Bristol in 2020. We’ll update this post throughout the year so keep checking back for the latest events, festivals and exhibitions.
Bristol Light Festival, 27 February – 1 March
This new free festival allows you to explore Bristol by light. It will showcase renowned international light artists alongside Bristol talent in selected locations to create a trail through the city centre. Visitors can see, experience and play with installations that are visiting the South West for the first time as well as ones created exclusively for the Bristol Light Festival.
💡 Full programme for #Bristol Light Festival on 27 Feb – 1 March revealed today. Includes:
🥛 illuminated recycled milk bottles @CabotCircus
🪐 journey into the cosmos @wethecurious_
🎠 interactive illuminated see-saws in Queen Square
— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in #Bristol (@LStyleDistrict) February 13, 2020
Africa State of Mind and Refuge and Renewal, RWA, until 1 March
We’re big fans of the Royal West of England Academy and the latest exhibitions are brilliant. Africa State of Mind explores the work of an emergent generation of photographers from across the African continent, while Refuge and Renewal is a timely exploration of the impact of migrant artists on art in Britain from the last 150 years.
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Bristol Film Festival, throughout March in various locations
Our favourite film festival once again has some brilliant screenings in fabulous locations. Among them is Vertigo at Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin overlooking Clifton Suspension Bridge and an underground showing of Trainspotting in the Redcliffe Caves.
It’s just two weeks until the launch of our March 2020 events, when the festival turns 5!
We’ll be starting the season in style with our first ever screenings at @hdv_avongorge, showing Hitchcock’s suspense masterpiece VERTIGO…
— Bristol Film Festival (@BriFF_Bristol) February 21, 2020
Various acts from Colston Hall, throughout March
With Colston Hall’s main auditorium still closed for its massive refurbishment, performances take place in other great venues across the city as well as the Colston Hall foyer. They include:
5 March: Blanck Mass, Loco Klub
6 March: Bristol Re:sound, Colston Hall foyer
14 March: Wargirl, The Crofters Rights
21 March: Princess Nokia and Tkay Maidza, The Marble Factory
Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes, 3-7 March, Bristol Hippodrome
The double Olivier award-winning is a tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world.
The Red Lion, Bristol Old Vic, 11-28 March
Set in the world of non-league football, this new production explores issues of trust, loyalty and conflict across generations. It features Bristol actor and Broadchurch star Joe Simms, actor, screenwriter and former Bristol City FC match-day announcer David Lloyd and Thomas McGee in his professional stage debut.
Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival, 26 – 29 March
Now in its eighth year, the festival will take over St George’s, The Folk House and Fiddlers with a programme of jazz and blues from Europe, US and the UK.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year, MShed, until 4 May
The world-renowned exhibition from the Natural History Museum is back for its 55th year. A total of 100 images of the natural world are on display this year including the brilliant snap of two rats fighting on a London Underground platform by Bristol-based photographer Sam Rowley.
— Evening Standard (@EveningStandard) February 12, 2020
Robert Webb: Come Again, 20 April, St George’s Bristol
The comedian and star of The Peep Show will deliver an insightful and witty evening about love, grief and time travel to celebrate the publication of his debut novel Come Again.
Upfest, South Bristol, 30 May – 1 June
After taking a break in 2019, Europe’s biggest largest live street art and graffiti festival is back. This year, Upfest will take over Greville Smyth Park in addition to The Tobacco Factory, the original Upfest venue. It’s always amazing to see the huge walls and murals that are painted by artists from around the world. A must visit!
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Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, Castle Park, 2-3 May
This festival is a two-day celebration of Bristol’s diverse food culture. Expect fabulous feasting from some of the UK’s best restaurants, talks about food in the city, educational workshops, children’s activities, bars stocking local drinks and lots more!
We’re delighted to announce our Chef & Music line-up for 2020! 🍗🍻
Tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow. Set those alarms! pic.twitter.com/XF4wwZafYe
— EatDrinkBrisFashion (@eatdrinkbristol) February 13, 2020
A Monster Calls, Bristol Old Vic, 2-6 June
We absolutely loved this production when it was first performed at Bristol Old Vic in 2018. The Olivier-award winning show from Sally Cookson deals with love, life and healing in a story about 13-year-old Conor and his sick mum. A monster comes walking to tell Conor tales. When it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears.
Vanguard | Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement, M Shed, 6 June – 1 November
This major exhibition celebrates the instrumental role of Bristol’s creatives in the development of British street art. Seminal works from Henry Chalfant, Banksy and Beezer will be on show and other artists such as deep fake viral sensation Bill Posters and Robert Del Naja (3D), Bristol’s earliest street artist, will feature.
Bristol Sounds, Canons Marsh Amphitheatre, 24-28 June
The Bristol Harbourside will once again play host to a stellar line-up of gigs this summer. On the bill this year is:
24 June: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
25 June: Supergrass
26 June: Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott
27 June: A Beautiful Day Out featuring The Levellers, Reef, Goldie Lookin Chain and more
28 June: Jack Savoretti
Belle & Sebastian, Canons Marsh Amphitheatre, 17 July.
As part of the Colston Hall Presents series, the indie-pop icons will make a triumphant return to Bristol after a sell-out gig at Colston Hall in 2015. It acts as the opening to Bristol Harbour Festival.
Fingers crossed for ‘Another Sunny Day’ this summer… 🤞🌞
— Colston Hall (@Colston_Hall) January 31, 2020
Bristol Harbour Festival, Harbourside, 17-19 July
This incredible weekend of free entertainment returns. Every year, around 250,000 people enjoy tall ships, music stages, dance areas, food markets, water display teams, circus acts and so much more.
Last year, we took an amazing trip on the water during the festival on the world’s smallest tall ship!
⛵️ Absolutely brilliant trip around the harbour for @BristolHarbFest on Caroline Allen, the world’s smallest tall ship! Added extra of some yummy @tarquinsgin too 🍸 #ad #invited #BristolHarbourFestival #SummerinBristol pic.twitter.com/pd590yQaBV
— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in #Bristol (@LStyleDistrict) July 21, 2019
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Ashton Court Estate, 6-9 August
A guide to Bristol events just wouldn’t be complete without this event! Let’s all do the rain dance and pray for glorious weather so we get to witness once again the incredible sight of more than 100 hot air balloons floating above Bristol.
The weather may not be playing fair for @bristolballoon today but we got to see an amazing morning ascent on Thursday. Worth getting up at silly o’clock! See our post and pics: https://t.co/WkmRc3QlZY#bristolballoonfiesta #summerinbristol #Bristol pic.twitter.com/Pd9hIBOpq9
— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in #Bristol (@LStyleDistrict) August 10, 2019
Beverley Craven – Strings Attached, St George’s Bristol, 27 October
Performing with a string quartet ensemble, Brit Award winner Beverley Craven will showcase songs and stories spanning her 30-year career as a singer/songwriter and performer.