Bristol Festivals is a membership organisation that supports the strategic and structural development of festivals in Bristol and the surrounding area. Bristol Festivals provides information and resources to the community of festivals and festival workers in Bristol, and facilitates collaboration, training opportunities, professional development, skill sharing, relationship building and networking.
As part of its core activity, Bristol Festivals invites organisations from across the city to join a network of like-minded festivals and events. This network represents the diversity and scope of Bristol’s festival offering, and is an opportunity for independently run organisations to be collectively supported. Our members are at the heart of everything we do and the reason we exist.
Bristol Festivals supports and advocates for the festival and events community in Bristol, and facilitates The Bristol Festivals Network, a membership that encourages collaboration and partnerships among a community of like-minded festivals and events.
Bristol Festivals has five core areas of activity:
Connect – Connects festivals from across the Bristol region via the network, social events and digital activity
Support – Supports festivals by providing training, one-to-one meetings and mentorships
Evaluate – Undertakes research to better understand and evaluate the festival sector
Represent – Represents Bristol festivals by providing a collective voice and lobbying for change
Host – Provides affordable offices (if available) and meeting space for members
Challenge – Challenges sector behaviours to develop best practice
Bristol Festivals envisions a supported, informed and engaged festival sector that is empowered by the collective network of festivals and events based in Bristol.
If you would like to become a member of the Bristol Festivals, or would like to partner with us see below.
Bristol Festivals is a registered charity (No.1155901) & company limited by guarantee (No. 08604594). Registered Office: 1 Unity Street, BS1 5HH.
These current projects have been developed through consultation with our member festivals so that they respond to known critical needs. They involve three, inter-connected strands that are as follows:
Professional Skills Development: a growing number of freelancers make up Bristol’s core cultural sector work-force. However, short-term contracts, employment instability and limited training opportunities put adverse pressure on these individuals, impacting their mental health and wellbeing and undermining the sector at large.
Bristol Festivals delivers a structured programme or training activity and mentor pairings to nurture and develop these individuals for the benefit of the whole city.
Festival Skills Bank: Bristol’s Festival and Events sector needs a tool by which it can see itself. The Skills Bank will be an online platform where all professionals associated with the sector (festival producers, designers, set dressers, lighting designers, videographers, production managers, performers, etc.) can present themselves and their festival-relevant skills and experience to the rest of the community.
The Skills Bank will act as both a networking platform and a festival-specific, peer-to-peer learning facilitator.
Festival Volunteer Bank: volunteering is formative in introducing individuals to career possibilities within the cultural sector. These individuals both embed festivals in their respective communities and develop into the highly skilled work-force of the future. However, the recruitment process and training required to work effectively with volunteers, and help them develop in a meaningful way, is inordinately resource intensive and difficult for small organisations to manage. Bristol Festivals is developing a ‘Volunteer Bank’, alongside a series of volunteer training opportunities, where members of the public, of all ages from all areas, can register to receive information about free-training and volunteering opportunities with 120+ cultural festivals and events. To sign up for volunteer opportunities.
For more information or to support any of these strands of activity please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Together we’re stronger: Bristol Festivals is driven by the strengths of our members.
Join a network of over 40 leading Bristol independent festival and event organisers. Support the development of a strong resilient unified sector. Benefits include:
Bristol Festivals operates a shared working hub on Unity Street, where members are welcome to use the meeting facilities & hire flexible office space at reduced rates.
For membership details please contact: email@example.com
We believe in the unique power of festivals to inspire, entertain, challenge and bring people together. We want everyone to have the opportunity to connect with these events – as audience, volunteers, partners or workforce.
Bristol Festivals is a registered charity that promotes, supports and develops the extraordinary festivals and events that happen in Bristol every year. In a climate of increasing economic and political uncertainty, work that supports these typically small and under-resourced organisations is more important than ever.
With your help, we can work with festivals across Bristol to tackle huge challenges faced by the sector around skills retention, career access, audience access and evidenced advocacy.
If you’d like to support us in doing this, thank you! Both one-off and regular donations can be made from this webpage via Paypal.
In order to process transactions, Paypal will ask for your name and contact details. These will be kept securely, and we will only use them to say thank you and to ask if you would be happy to be contacted by us again. We will only keep your contact details beyond this point if you state that you are happy for us to contact you again in the future.
Liz Harkman, Executive Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marietta Kirkbride, Development & Forum Manager: email@example.com
Esther Afikiruweh – Freelance Emerging Event Producer / You Produce Alumni
Robert Barnes – Thrings Solicitors
Damian Connop – Goram & Vincent
Ben Hardy – REM Events
Kirsty Henderson – Portland Productions / You Produce
Helen Mortimore – UWE School of Business
Darren Roberts – Bristol City Council – Culture
Vashti Waite – In Between Time
Rich Warren – Encounters Festival (Chair)
Bristol Festivals 1 Unity Street Bristol BS1 5HH
General and Membership enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing enquiries (amendments or additions to listings): email@example.com
Phone number: 07568 916744 (Tuesday – Thursday only) Please email initially.
For enquiries regarding use of Bristol City Council owned land for outdoor events, please contact Bristol City Council’s outdoor events team directly. Details available online here.
Bristol Festivals promotes advice sessions with Bristol City Council’s site permissions team for individuals and organisation wishing to hold an event on council owned land.
The sessions last 30 minutes and are an opportunity to meet with the council’s team and receive guidance on the site permission process and what to consider during your planning.
Sessions are held at City Hall on College Green.
For more information and to book a session, click here.
Bristol Festivals is a member of The Bristol DIY Network; an independent gathering of arts organisations and arts practitioners, large and small, funded (Arts Council, Bristol City Council) and unfunded, all of whom deliver cultural programmes within the city of Bristol.
We meet regularly to advocate for the sector and to discuss and inform policy, as well as forming working groups in response to specific issues and to develop shared activity. This thinking feeds directly into the wider cultural conversations happening at a high level in the city through the Cultural Strategy Steering Group.
The group’s members work across different scales and different artforms; some specialise in participatory opportunities, others seek out an audience; some charge, some don’t; and some provide complex programmes that sit across a number of strands.
Together, we are committed to the successful future of our city, and the creativity of both Bristol and Bristolians.
If you are an independent artist, practitioner or smaller organisation unable to attend a meeting, you can share ideas, views and concerns with us via Theatre Bristol who help to administer the group, or one of the members.
If you would like to find out more, please sign up to the DIY mailing list, available here.