About the City Centre and High Streets Culture and Events Programme, future events, ongoing events, and past events.
About the events programme
We're investing in the culture and events sector to:
- support Bristol's city centre and high streets, by increasing the number of people visiting and using these places
- help the recovery of the culture and events sector
- re-establish the city's reputation for creativity and imagination following the impact of COVID-19
We organise activities under the City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, funded by:
- Bristol City Council
- the West of England Combined Authority's Love our High Street project
Starting in October 2021, the programme has focussed on the city centre.
We're working with Bristol-based organisations, with experience of working with the community to organise cultural activities and events, in the nine priority high streets:
- Brislington Hill and Bristol Hill
- Church Road
- East Street Bedminster
- Filton Avenue
- Filwood Broadway
- Shirehampton High Street
- Stapleton Road
- Two Mile Hill
Activities will be specific to each of the nine priority high streets. Examples include:
- community events and family fun days
- public art installations
The programme runs until 31 August 2023.
2023 City Centre and High Streets Culture and Events Programme
Following the success of the City Centre and High Streets Culture and Events Programme in 2022, we're pleased to announce this year's culture and events programme is packed with free events for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the spring and summer.
Fifteen events have been delivered through the programme in 2022.
Monitoring of 14 of the events demonstrates we have:
- attracted over 75,000 visitors to the city centre
- generated almost £1.4 million of additional spend in Bristol's businesses
- supported 216 paid jobs in culture and events
All of this from an investment of £310,410.
Details of upcoming events together with new events will be added here once details are confirmed.
All events will be promoted through the council's main social channels (@BristolCouncil and @shoplocalbris).
Free, city centre events
Better Sundays Broadmead market: will run on the first Sunday of the month from March.
The market will host a range of traders offering local, sustainable and ethical food and goods, as well as entertainment and activities for all ages.
Better Sundays at Broadmead builds on Bristol's Gold Sustainable Food City status and Bristol Eating Better Award, a free award for food businesses that sell healthier food options and promote sustainability.
Picturing High Streets is a major outdoor exhibition hosted by Broadmead which tells the stories behind our shopfornts. The free exhibition on Merchant Street will run until 1 May. It celebrates our high street heroes, captures familiar scenes and invites audiences to consider the value and role of their local high street.
Bristol Photo Festival We've partnered with Historic England to extend the concept and have commissioned Bristol Photo Festival to create new photography in our 9 priority high streets, from April to August 2023. Photographers and photographic organisations will work together to create a series of photographic activities and workshops that will build a contemporary portrait of Bristol's high streets and the communities who use them, celebrating what is unique about the cityʼs high streets.
St Nick's Night Market: will take place on the first Friday of the month from May.
Located next to St Nicholas Market (St Nick's), market traders will animate the area and give people the chance to shop and enjoy some amazing locally produced street food and entertainment.
Traders wanting to take part in the event can fill in the St. Nick's night market online application form.
Invisible Circus will present Weekends of Wonder Go to https://www.unit15bristol.com/wow-bristol (opens new window) (WOW), throughout May and June.
The street theatre festival in Broadmead will include an array of vibrant acts performing circus shows and interactive walkabouts to entertain and wow with unexpected happenings, larger than life costumes and awe-inspiring skills.
Weekends of Wonder will run on:
- 13 and 14 May
- 20 and 21 May
- 27 and 28 May
- 3 and 4 June
A humorous and engaging walking tour of Bristol's hidden historical arcana led by improv performers and stand -up comedians.
Expect some hilarious alternative perspectives and sneaky Bristolian in-jokes to accompany this fun trail through the city centre.
Tickets are free. The tour lasts 90nminutes and is fully accessible. starts at The Nails on Corn Street and finishes at The New Rooms Café. It lasts 1.5 hours and is mostly flat. Available dates in May include Saturday 13, 20, 27 May at 11am and 2pm.
Bristol Natural History Consortium (NHC): 17 June.
The NHC will bring living trees to the streets in Bristol's Walking Forest. A procession will take over Broadmead before winding through the Old City to land at Festival of Nature's 20th anniversary, creating a pop-up outdoor venue for performance and community engagement.
Bristol Cathedral: 18 June.
Bristol Cathedral will present a 650th anniversary celebration on College Green, bringing communities together from across Bristol to enjoy a day of live music, games, activities and more to celebrate the 650th Anniversary of Bristol.
Bristol's Summer Film Takeover presented by Bristol UNESCO City of Film and partners will deliver nine engaging public events between June and September 2023, celebrating unique aspects of Bristol's culture and identity via a range of screen-based experiences. Some events will tie in with wider anniversaries and established city festivals, whilst others will be independent pop-up activities, catering for a wide range of audiences.
- Windrush 75: Stories Through Film: 22 to 24 June
- A Wall is a Screen: Secrets of the Old City: 30 June
- Bristol Cycle Cinema: 22 and 23 July
- Summer of Soul expanded screening and afterparty: 29 July
- 100 Years of 16mm: 30 July
- The Four Pillars: 50 Years of Hip Hop: 12 August
- Aardman@Sparks : 18 to 20 August
- Illusions of Movement:15 to 16 September
- A Wall is a Screen: Secrets of the Old City 16 September
Handstand Arts presents PUBLIC by Ockham's Razor: 29 July.
PUBLIC is a new, participatory outdoor performance by Okham's Razor.
Performances will be given by the contemporary circus production company in Broadmead, which includes acrobatics, parkour and dance, to explore the question how and where we can be uninhibited and unbound?
Free high street events
Award-winning theatre and community arts company Brave Bold Drama are creating Stockwood Sounds, a community audio trail for Stockwood, by Stockwood.
The audio trail will include local history, personal stories and reflections of residents young and old. The trail will be rooted in shop windows, community building windows and noticeboards surrounding Stockwood Square.
Stockwood people of all ages are invited to join one of the creative and chat sessions between 11am and 3pm in Stockwood Square (BS14 8PG) on:
- Saturday 13 May
- Sunday 14 May
- Saturday 10 June
Stockwood street market will run monthly on the last Saturday of the month. 27 May, 24 June, 29 July and 26 August.
Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) market will run monthly on the first Thursday of the month.
Brislington Village Market is returning bigger and better than ever. The monthly market will include art workshops and co-created public artwork. Markets will run 22 April, 20 May, 17 June, 22 July and 19 August.
East Street market Go to https://www.betterevents.org.uk/ (opens new window) is a new market that will take place in East Street on the first Saturday of the month from April. The market includes pre-loved goods, jewellery, homeware, prints, vintage items and more.
East Street bollards will be transformed with an artistic treatment led by Upfest.
ACTA – East Street arts festival will take place in the summer.
St Georges Community Centre, Church Road, will run seasonal markets, a music event and Toddlefest. The Spring market and fair will take place on Sunday 2 April from 1pm to 4pm with music, food and plenty to keep the family entertained, including face painting, Easter hunt, Bike Bristol with Dr Bike for advice and repairs, and We the Curious.
Filwood Community Centre will host a new series of events, bringing ‘Knowle West Style' to Filwood Broadway.
- Friday 28 April, 5 May and 12 May: Photography Workshops
- Saturday 6 May Coronation: Knowle West Style
- Saturday 3 June: Monthly Market and Family Activities
- Saturday 1 July: Monthly Market and Family Activities
- Saturday 5 August: Knowle West Fest 23
- May to July: Creative Workshops
Stapleton Road will see a sensory, promenade tour of the street exploring the cuisines, cultures and stories of communities from across the world produced by Compass Events and art interventions, community events and markets produced by Eastside Community Trust.
Broadmead is host to Historic England's major new outdoor exhibition Picturing High Streets telling the stories behind our shopfronts. The free exhibition on Merchant Street will run until 1 May. It celebrates our high street heroes, captures familiar scenes and invites audiences to consider the value and role of their local high street.
We've also partnered with Historic England to extend the concept and have commissioned Bristol Photo Festival to create new photography in our nine priority high streets. Photographers and photographic organisations will work together to create a series of photographic activities and workshops that will build a contemporary portrait of Bristol's high streets and the communities who use them. The resulting work will be showcased from April to August 2023, celebrating what is unique about the cityʼs high streets.
Grand Iftar: 13 April 2023
This year saw two iterations of the Grand Iftar in Bristol:
- St Mark's Road on Thursday 6 April, an annual event held by local Muslim communities
- College Green on Thursday 13 April, the first city-wide Iftar to be held in this central location, creating additional space to reach an even wider audience
Over 1,000 joined in the College Green event, which attracted people from all backgrounds, giving people the opportunity to learn and understand the significance of Ramadan, and its emphasis on unity.
The event was free, fully accessible and open to everyone, providing an opportunity to celebrate Bristol's diversity, with non-Muslims joining the celebrations to experience the breaking of the fast (Iftar).
This year, the unifying theme of the Iftar events is sanctuary, giving people the opportunity to reflect on world events and to celebrate Bristol's role as a City of Sanctuary.
Church Road Lantern Parade, created by Lamplighter Arts CIC, took place on Saturday 25 March.
This year's Lantern Parade was an inclusive celebration for all the communities living close to Church Road and celebrated our connected skies across the world.
Bristol Light Festival
Bristol Light Festival ran from 3 to 13 February 2023.
Light installations created a trail through the centre of Bristol, lighting up some of Bristol's most iconic landmarks as well as some unexpected places.
This year's festival ran over two weekends to give more people the chance to visit and enjoy the display and took place earlier in the calendar to make the most of the darker evenings.
The installations were made by renowned light artists including some of Bristol's best artistic talent.
Bump in the night
Lamplighter Arts CIC are the creators of Church Road Lantern parade and lead artists for Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade. They invited everyone to celebrate Bristol's historical and cultural heritage, through a spectacular lantern carnival on Sunday 30 October 2022.
The parade of giant illuminated puppets started in Broadmead, moved through Old City and finished on Queens Square, drawing in crowds along the route.
To help bring the giant lanterns to life, workshops aimed at all ages and skill levels were held throughout October at Bristol Old Vic, The Galleries and in Bristol's Old City.
Participants could also:
- explore the free workshops online
- choose a lantern and help build it
- join the procession
Overstory, a tree-inspired immersive art installation from leading contemporary artists Ivan Morison and Heather Peak, took root in Broadmead from 19 to 30 August 2022.
Brought to Bristol by The Natural History Consortium, the charity behind the city's Festival of Nature, the artwork temporarily transformed Broadmead.
The installation and programme free activities involving art and nature were enjoyed by more than 9,300 visitors.
Inspired by native trees across Bristol, the artwork:
- encouraged interest and discussion around the importance of trees in our lives
- highlighted the necessity of tree canopy coverage across the city
Overstory aligned with Bristol's plan to scale up tree planting in the city by 2050, for the benefit of both people and wildlife.
Bristol Light Festival brought the sensational sensory experience Luminarium to Bristol from 4 to 14 August 2022. Open each day on College Green, Luminarium was a free, fully accessible, family friendly immersive experience.
- was a sunlight-powered sensory experience, featuring kaleidoscopic colours, domes, tunnels and pods
- took inspiration from natural forms, mosques and gothic cathedrals and modern architecture
More than 12,000 visitors enjoyed the world-famous inflatable installation.
Little Amal, the 3.5m tall puppet of a young Syrian refugee child, visited Bristol city centre on Friday 24 June in recognition of:
- refugee week (20 to 26 June 2022)
- Bristol as a City of Sanctuary
The puppet, whose name means 'hope' in Arabic, has walked 8,000km from Turkey, travelling across eight countries. Her journey and the events created along the way focus people's attention on the plight and urgent needs of young refugees caught in conflict.
We worked with Bristol Old Vic, inviting people to join the festivities.
Approximately 4,000 people welcomed Little Amal to Bristol. She walked around King Street, Corn Street and the fountains, before setting sail aboard a Bristol ferry for her onward journey.
The Big Jubilee Lunch
Bristol Cathedral and partners held a Big Jubilee Lunch on College Green on Sunday 5 June, to celebrate HM The Queen's Platinum Jubilee. This was part of the Jubilee bank holiday weekend celebrations.
The free, full day event was suitable for all ages. It included:
- live music
- family friendly games and activities
Bristol Light Festival
Bristol Light Festival held its second edition from 1 to 6 March 2022.
- presented by Bristol City Centre BID
- supported by:
- Redcliffe and Temple BID
- Arts Council England
- Bristol City Council
- West of England Combined Authority
- Cabot Circus
The programme included 14 artworks, all making their first appearance in Bristol, which could be visited using the festival map. Artworks started at St George's Bristol with the final installations at Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus.
The festival objectives included:
- bringing light to the city centre at a traditionally dark time of year
- reducing anti-social behaviour
- creating playful spaces for all the family in the city centre
- showcasing and engaging local creative enterprises, artists and organisations
In Memoriam, a touring artwork by Luke Jerram, was presented on College Green from Friday 1 to Sunday 17 October 2021. It was an evocative symbol of local, national and international solidarity.
The ceremonial art installation was a memorial to losses experienced during coronavirus (COVID-19). It was made in tribute to the work of NHS, health and social care staff, and the volunteers who have contributed so much to so many.
Remembering the people who have been in hospital and care homes during the pandemic, the circle of flags was created from NHS bed sheets and arranged in the form of a medical logo.
Audiences could enter the area to explore the artwork, offering a safe space for people to pause for reflection, remembrance, recognition and recovery.