Carnival, festival, fiesta - we know how to party!

August 01 2018

Carnival, festival, fiesta - we know how to party!

Summer is in full swing, and Bristolians are making the most of our reputation as a ‘festival city’ St Pauls Carnival returned for its 50th anniversary, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush. Fears had been expressed that the carnival might have been lost to the city but with the perseverance of community activists, council officers, and partner organisations such as the Arts Council, it was a huge success.

The week after was Bristol’s main Pride event. Many people see Pride as a carnival – a time to have fun. That is an important part of it, but it of course represents so much more than that. Pride is an active stance against discrimination and violence towards the LGBT+ community. The event itself was really well attended, and a huge celebration of diversity, recognising the significant value that it brings to our city.

This year’s Harbour Festival, our annual showcase of the city’s culture and maritime heritage, had a huge range of things to do across three miles of the city centre. Building on last year, its focus returned to water based activities, bringing us back again to the heart of the city and putting a focus on the Harbourside, our traditional gateway to the world.   

Upfest represents a more modern view of Bristol and its reputation as a street art destination. The event, now in its tenth year, brings an estimated 50,000 people to see the art up close.

Of course, the high point for many is the Balloon Fiesta. A key event in our world class calendar of events, we have worked in partnership with the organisers over many years to establish and build the fiesta as a major international event and we continue to support this uniquely Bristol celebration.

Finally, I’d like to mention a different type of festival we are currently developing. We are planning on hosting a housing festival which will look at new and innovative ways of providing housing over the coming years. This will explore a host of new approaches, re-imagining better ways of living for everyone in cites. I am hoping the event will bring forward solutions for the housing crisis – a key priority for my administration. 

All of these events bring so much to our city, not just to our own experiences, but also the economic benefits of having a strong tourism offer and building our international profile for being a vibrant festival city. I hope you are able to enjoy as many as possible this year.