Bristol famously celebrates anything and everything! Here are some of the festivals that take place in and around the city. Dates are approximate, so follow the links to the festival web sites for accurate information.

Links pages

Bristol City Council’s events database is a categorised database of a large number of Bristol events, both one-off and regular.

January

Bristol Slapstick Festival. Back to the old-skool: a festival celebrating old (and some new) silent films, featuring Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and many other greats from the silent film era. The event includes live music improvised to silent films, talks and interviews.

The Footman James Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, Somerset. The show regularly attracts around 15,000 classic car enthusiasts who come ready to see and buy from the various manufacturers, suppliers, service companies and dealers exhibiting at the show.

February

Bath Literature Festival. This festival is part of Bath Festivals Trust’s mission to “Enrich people’s lives through participation in the arts”. A large variety of events take place over several days around the city.

March

Bath Half-Marathon. Lots of people running around Bath - if it’s your thing, then join in!

April

Animated Encounters is a four-day festival of animated films, based at Bristol’s Watershed Media Centre.

Bath and West motorbike show. A show for motorcycling fans of all kinds from around the country.

May

Spike Island Open Studio. Spike Island is a large building in Bristol, full of dozens of artists’ studios. For one weekend, all the studios are open to the public and you can see and buy a bewildering variety of art, and talk to the artists. There is also a programme of music, and a café.

Southville Arts Trail. This weekend event lets you into the homes of real artists, working in inner-city Bristol. You’ll be amazed how many there are!

Bristol Affordable Art Faire.A vast art mart, with no art costing more than £3000, and lots for a good bit cheaper. Start saving your pennies now.

Bristol Mini day. A show dedicated to the Leyland Mini car.

North Somerset Show. An agricultural show for working farmers and townies alike.

Bath Fringe Festival is the oldest-running independent festival in England, with approaching 200 events in dozens of venues around the city.

Bristol Acoustic Music Festival. A small two-day event based in the wonderful non-smoking Folk House. This event is to help raise money for the Summer’s Ashton Court Festival.

Bath Spring Flower Show. A show of beautiful flowers, as well as information and advice about flowers and their associated industries.

Bath International Music Festival. A festival of classical music, taking place over several days in a number of locations in the city.

Badminton Horse Trials. A festival of competitive horse-riding over several days. Badminton is near Bristol.

June

Bristol Festival of Nature. Weekend event with talks, workshops, films and stalls all about nature and conservation.

Bristol Bike Fest. Mountain bicycle racing, stalls, DJs and stuff, Ashton Court.

Bristol’s biggest bike ride. Bristol, despite its hills, has many cyclists. This event gets several thousand of them all cycling together around a variety of routes in the city. Has to be seen to be believed!

Venn Festival. Three day music festival in various Bristol city venues.

World on your Doorstep. Festival celebrating inner-city cultural diversity in Easton, Bristol.

bristolive! is an international music festival for amateur ensembles. The chief purpose of the festival is to provide bands, choirs, orchestras and ensembles of all kinds the opportunity to participate in a non-competitive international music event.

Royal Bath and West Show. An agricultural show with lots of entertainment for all sorts: parades, displays and some farming stuff too.

July

Music in the Park is a one-day event of mostly Bristol bands, performing in St Andrew’s park.

Keynsham Music Festival. A festival of local bands, arts and creative workshops, on the outskirts of Bristol. I think it’s being organise by staff from The Folk House.

Ashton Court Festival, Bristol’s big two-day music festival. No camping, just a walk (or bus - don’t go by car unless you don’t mind queuing) to and from Bristol each day. A lot of local bands, plus some more nationally famous ones too. Takes place amongst the grass and trees of Ashton Court. Paddy may be performing there too!

Bristol Harbour Festival: A mixture of bands, boats, fireworks, dance, stalls, hot-air balloons… It has to be Bristol! This one happens right in the city centre, so prepare for tight crowds and heat, and hang on to your stuff.

August

Bath International Guitar Festival. A two-week guitar music festival of workshops and performances based in Bath city venues. One week concentrates on classical music, the other on contemporary rock and pop.

Bristol Flower Show. Bath and West showground flower show that’s been going on for ever.

Tribe of Doris. Strangely named glastonbury-style music, arts and environmental festival in Somerset.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. If you want a big hot-air balloon fiesta, the is the one. As well as dozens after dozens of balloons launching (as long as the weather doesn’t play up), there are shops, rides, displays, information, food, and zillions of people at Ashton Court for this event. If you drive, you’ll be queuing for a long time; it feels like the whole of Bristol is there! But watching so many balloons of all shapes and sizes is worth doing at least once!

hot air balloons in the sky
Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Bristol bike show. Bristol’s show for motorcyclists. For one day, a historical market street in the city centre is filled with a variety of bikes (and bikers), trade stands, and maybe even a bicycle or two.

September

National Amateur Garden Show. A show for all sorts of amateur gardeners, at the Bath and West Showground.

Bristol international festival of kites and air creations. Bristol kite festival, at Ashton Court, is not as big as the Balloon Fiesta or the Ashton Court Music Festival, but it attracts a fair number of Bristolians to look into the skies at a programme of giant kites, high kites, fighting kites, dangerous-sports kites and strange and beuatiful flying creations. Plenty of kites on sale, as well as food. The programme pretty much repeats itself over the two days but if the weather’s nice and you’ve got a bottle and a few friends…

kites in the sky
Bristol Kite Festival

October

Bristol Half-Marathon. Lots of people running around Bristol in the cold and wet. If it’s your thing, then join in.

You’ll need to search for marathons on this site - they keep moving the relevant page!

Organic Food Festival. Very busy Bristol city-based event, with crowds of SUV-owning buggy-pushing middle-classers seeking out rare ingredients for Observer Food Magazine recipés. But a good place to get free samples of rather nice things, and maybe buy a few, often at a discount. And maybe find out how to do some good for the environment with what you buy. But be prepared to be squashed or barged a few times!

Dairy Show at the Bath and West Showground. Concentrating on dairy cattle and milk, so not for vegans.

November

Brief Encounters. Bristol’s short film festival, based at the Watershed Media Centre. Films from famous and up-and-coming film-makers from around the world.