Amazing free Bristol-wide events in August and September

Councillor Craig Cheney is pictured, smiling, with a white wall in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor for Finance, Governance, Performance, and Culture and Labour Councillor for Hillfields ward.

Through our City Centre and High Streets Culture and Events Programme we are helping to support Bristol’s businesses and the recovery of the culture and events sector.

By leveraging Bristol’s strengths as a creative and diverse city we are encouraging people to visit, explore, and enjoy what Bristol has to offer, with a packed line-up of free events across the city centre and our priority local high streets.

Analysis of 20 completed projects shows that we have so far attracted over 134,000 extra visitors to the city, generated £2.08 million of additional spend in Bristol’s businesses and supported 320 paid jobs in culture and events, all from an investment to date of £444,000.

Bristol’s Summer Film Takeover continues throughout August and September. Marking a major milestone, The 4 Pillars: 50 Years of Hip Hop on 12 August offers a day of free screenings and activities exploring its four pillars – breakdancing, graffiti, DJing and rap – and how it has influenced and left a lasting legacy on Bristol’s culture.

A group of children are pictured in the background, attending Aardman's free clay model making workshop. A group of clay Gromit's from 'Wallace & Gromit' are pictured in the foreground.
Aardman’s free clay model making workshop

From 18 to 20 August Aardman@Sparks offers a weekend of free Aardman workshops and film screenings in Sparks, Bristol’s new art and sustainability hub. Stop by to watch non-stop Aardman films in the Department of Discovery or get hands on and join one of the Aardman team in creating an iconic clay model in the free clay model-making workshops or learn how to create scenes celebrating nature in the Amazing Scene Machine workshop outside the front of Sparks.

Limbic Cinema are creating an immersive installation using multi-screen visuals, light and sound to celebrate the power of moving image. This sensory experience takes the audience on a 45,000-year visual journey of moving images, from neolithic cave paintings to the advance of artificial intelligence, exploring how humans use technology to bring imagination and storytelling to life. Illusions of Movement runs on 15 and 16 September. A Wall is a Screen: Secrets of the Old City returns on 16 September.

The guided evening walking tour explores hidden architectural gems around the Old City and features a curated selection of short films projected onto nearby buildings to watch along the way.

People are pictured at Bristol's Comedy History Walk, in Bristol City Centre.
Bristol’s Comedy History Walk

On the Bristol Comedy History Walk, improvisers and comedians from Bristol Improv Theatre will take you on a guided tour through Old City and Broadmead sharing lesser-known Bristolian stories, using amusing anecdotes, to reveal another side of the city you thought you knew.

Returning bigger and better than ever, Knowle West Fest 23 will take over Filwood Broadway on Saturday 5 August. Starting at 11am with a colourful street parade, the community will wind their way through the streets before kicking off the festivities. The family friendly festival will be filled with music, workshops, activities, food, market stalls and more. You can join the Parade Making Day on Wednesday 2 August to help make the costumes and decorations for the parade.

The Art Weekender takes place on 19 August on East Street. Closing the road for the day, people can immerse themselves in a street experience filled with live theatre, choirs, performers and entertainment and crafts for children and families.

St George Community Centre will run Toddlefest on 20 August from 1pm to 4pm. The festival style event will include family fun and activities from We The Curious, face painting, music and dance.

A group of people are pictured watching a film that's projected on to a wall in Bristol City Centre. This is for Encounters' 'Wall is a Screen: Secrets of the Old City'. event
Encounters’ Wall Is a Screen: Secrets of the Old City

On Saturday 26 August, the last Saturday of the school holidays, Old City Sounds will take over Bristol’s Old City between 12pm and 6pm. Created by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District, the family-friendly music event will celebrate different genres across four vibrant zones. The Old Duke Jazz Festival will lead the ‘Old City Jazz’ zone on King Street, the ‘Old City Kids’ zone will play children’s classics and have entertainment for the family at St Stephen’s Church garden, ‘Old City Acoustics’ at St Nick’s Market is the final bumper day of its Summer of Busking series, and St Nicholas Street will play host to classical and nu-wave musicians and vocalists in the ‘Old City Eclectic’ area.

Bristol Photo Festival have matched photographers and communities in Dreamlines, to produce a series of public exhibitions in early September along four of Bristol’s priority high streets: Filton Avenue, Shirehampton High Street, Stapleton Road, and Two Mile Hill. The exhibitions are the result of leading photographers and writers working with local residents across Bristol’s nine priority high streets to explore and celebrate the places they live, to make connections and to create a sense of place and identity.

The city centre and community markets continue to support traders, attract visitors and bring communities together:

A person is pictured, smiling, with a clay model of Gromit from Aardman's 'Wallace and Gromit'
Aardman’s free clay model making workshop