Looking for Bristol events, exhibitions and festivals to attend this year? We’ve got it covered with this regularly updated guide. Keep checking back for the latest details.
Ukraine benefit event at Bristol Beacon
Bristol Beacon is hosting a fundraising event for the people of Ukraine on 14 May.
It features folk, spoken word and classical music created by Bozarts Band, a collective of Bristol’s leading musicians and instrumentalists. They will be joined for the immersive, three-part performance by actress Patrycja Kujawska (Kneehigh Theatre), soprano Katy Garden and special guest, Russian-born pianist with Ukrainian roots Veronika Shoot.
Attendees will be able to roam the different spaces and levels of Bristol Beacon’s foyer and get close to those performing.
You can register for free and make a donation the Disasters Emergency Committee here.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
With over five million visitors in Europe, America and Asia, this exhibition has taken the world by storm so it’s brilliant to see it arriving in Bristol. The 360 degree digital art experience presents the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh in an all-new way.
With the help of state-of-the-art video mapping technology and floor-to-ceiling digital projections, visitors can step into more than 300 of the artist’s sketches, drawings and paintings.
As well as a 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular, the exhibition includes a VR experience which guides the viewer through a day in the life of the artist and shares the inspiration behind some of his most famous works including Vincent’s Bedroom at Arles and Starry Night Over The Rhone River.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience takes place from 9 April until 4 September at Propyard, a 2,700 square metre space in St Philips Marsh, East Bristol. The venue is a former MOD torpedo testing factory that has been transformed into a fully-accessible centre for art, music, food and collaboration. We visited when it first opened and it’s a brilliant space.
Tickets are on sale here with prices starting from £16 for adults and £9.50 for children.
Bristol Craft Beer Festival
Bristol Craft Beer Festival returns to Bristol Harbourside on 10-11 June and will feature a huge variety of the finest beers from over 40 world-class breweries.
Entertainment will be provided by music legends DJ Spoony and Beardyman alongside Bristol’s Saffron Records.
Food for the hungry festivalgoers will be provided by Bristol chef Pegs Quinn from Sonny Stores, a family-run restaurant in Southville and Country Fire Kitchen’s Tom Bray who will be cooking up delicious festival-exclusive dishes on spectacular live fire setups. Bristol beer and cheese shop, Two Belly, will also be on site with ‘The Cheese Guys’ food truck, alongside Mexican street food operators, Little Taquero.
Tickets includes entry to the festival, festival pours of any beer and a free beer tasting glass.
[AD | INVITED] Brilliant afternoon at @BristolCBF 🍻— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in Bristol 🇺🇦 (@LStyleDistrict) August 1, 2021
Top beers from @WiperAndTrue @bigdropbrewco @ArborAles @thornbridge @pastorebrewing
Cheers! 🍺#Bristol #VisitBristol #LoveBristol #BCBF pic.twitter.com/EEqlIEUD6y
Bristol Harbour Festival
We really missed the Bristol Harbour Festival in 2020 and 2021 so it’s great that the south west’s biggest free festival is back! Celebrating its 50th year from 15-18 July, the event is set to welcome around 250,000 people to enjoy entertainment across seven stages, including spoken word, Bristol music talent, local dance performers, world class circus and on-water activity.
To celebrate the big anniversary, the theme of Ebb and Flow will look at the changing face of the city in line with the transformation of the harbour. It will look to engage the city’s diverse range of communities and bring them to life during the four day event. Eight artists will work with seven communities to build stories that reflect the ebb and flow of Bristol people through installations around the harbour, creating a performative and interactive trail.
St Pauls Carnival
Bristol’s St Pauls Carnival, first run in 1968, has been online since 2020 due to the pandemic. The full in-person carnival won’t return until 2023 but organisers have announced a series of live community events for summer 2022.
The full programme has yet to be announced but it will include an event at Lost Horizon, a family picnic and a community focused event at the Malcom X Community Centre. This year is also the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence and some events will recognise this milestone.
It costs over £650,000 to stage the carnival. Supporters are encouraged to donate and contribute to the future of Bristol’s annual celebration of culture and heritage.
Royal West of England Academy
The fabulous RWA has reopened after a major £4.1m refurbishment. We had a look around and it’s brilliant!
We got a sneak preview of the refurbished @RWABristol which reopens on Monday. It’s sustainable, accessible and inclusive. A must visit! 😍— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in Bristol 🇺🇦 (@LStyleDistrict) May 1, 2022
One new feature is a family activity room. @NinaAllwood can never resist dressing up! 😆
Big thanks @AlisonBevanRWA and team. #Bristol pic.twitter.com/fde6GZyHdY
The reopening exhibition is Me, Myself, I: Artists’ Self-Portraits, an exploration of self-portraiture with over 80 artworks by major artists such as Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Gillian Wearing, Lucian Freud, Tony Bevan and Madame Yevonde.
Curator Tessa Jackson said: “Whilst the selfie is a relatively recent phenomenon in our visual culture, our fascination with self-representation has existed for hundreds of years in art history. Self-portraits reveal so much about the artist and how they wished to be seen, as well as the society they lived in and the preoccupations of their time.
“Researching and compiling this exhibition has been an intriguing and personal journey for me, after decades as a museum curator involved with art, and I have come to realise that my own choices on how art reflects society have surfaced through it.
“The exhibition also has its own unique story to tell in the challenges of trying to curate it during the course of the COVID pandemic and the impact that has had on the resulting collection of artworks it features.”
The exhibition runs until 19 June. Related events include a guided tour by curator Tessa Jackson OBE on 14 May, a family workshop on 28 May, free entry for the Queen’s Jubilee on 2 and 3 June, a free described gallery tour for visually impaired adults on 7 June and an after hours opening on 9 June.
Grayson’s Art Club: The Exhibition at Bristol Museum
Art works chosen by Grayson Perry and guest celebrities during season two of the hit TV series, Grayson’s Art Club feature in brilliant exhibition at Bristol Museum. Spread across three floors in the museum, the show is a chronicle of lockdown and shows how people from across the UK used art to illustrate their thoughts and experiences in that most unusual of times.
The exhibition runs until 4 September and you can read our full review here.
Europe’s largest street art festival hasn’t been able to run a proper festival but Upfest is back this year bigger and better than ever!
The new format features street painting from 100 artists from 5-25 May followed by the main festival taking over Greville Smyth Park from 28 to 29 May for a two-day festival.
Wake the Tiger
The creators of immersive festival Boomtown Fair will be running Wake The Tiger, the world’s first “Amazement Park”, this summer in St Phillips, Bristol.
The event is described as “a fantastical experience” with “over 100 artists including storytellers, poets, scenic artists, robotics experts, fabricators, costume makers, architects, videographers and prop makers”.
One of the highlights is “a secret portal into the amazing world of Meridia; a multi-layered maze of immersive environments, secret passageways, hidden forests, temples, ice caves and mesmerising wonders”. It sounds amazing!
For more information, go here.
Bristol Old Vic
Shows at the stunning theatre include:
The Meaning of Zong, 26 April – 7 May: Review our ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review here.
Siren featuring Groove Armada
A major new summer music event, Siren, takes place on Bristol harbour on 29 and 30 July. Headlining day one is Groove Armada performing as part of its last full live UK tour.
Organisers say: “This summer will be 25 years since Groove Armada debuted, going on to become one of the most successful dance acts of the time. Over two decades of prolific productions and tireless touring they’ve proved that it’s possible to daringly explore a multitude of sounds while achieving critical and commercial success.
“Bristol crowds can expect the full experience, from dancehall dub of Superstylin to the crossover pop appeal of Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control) and from the dancefloor-igniting I See You Baby to the woozy sunset vibes of ‘At The River’. Each one of those cuts stands alone as a certified classic, revered in the dance music hall of fame for their timeless appeal.”