Bristol Festivals is a membership and network organisation supporting the sustainable and strategic development of the cultural Festivals and Events sector in the Bristol area. Our vision is to drive public engagement with culture and promote Bristol as a leading destination for festivals and events, where everyone visiting, living and working in the city has the opportunity to connect – as audience, volunteers, partners or workforce.
To do this, we provide advocacy, information and resources for festivals, and develop bespoke sector-led projects to nurture collective participation, develop audiences of culture, and build a skilled and resilient workforce.
Our objectives are to:
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 Coordinator: email@example.com
Robert Barnes – Thrings Solicitors
Damian Connop – Goram & Vincent
Savita Custead – Bristol Natural History Consortium
Ben Hardy – REM Events
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
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.