Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 130 Hot Air Balloons from across the world. Tens of thousands of visitors from across the country and beyond come to celebrate this spectacular event. It is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018 and will be bigger and better than ever before. The Fiesta truly is a sight that can only be seen in Bristol. The Fiesta is held over four days in August every year, at Ashton Court Estate. There is so much more to keep you busy during the day including entertainment, fairground rides, food stalls and fantastic trade stands. It’s also a great opportunity to have a ride in a balloon.
The night glow is also one to see, the hot-air balloons light up their burners in time to music. Night glows are usually on the Thursday and Saturday from 9pm and followed with a firework finale. Entry to the Fiesta is free.
Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN
Bristol Harbour Festival
The Bristol Harbour Festival is a festival held annually and which celebrates the city’s maritime heritage and the importance of Bristol’s docks and harbour. Most of the activities, including live music, street performances, dance acts, interactive theatre, international circus acts, fireworks and a variety of other live entertainments, are held on or near the waterfront of Bristol Harbour. Venues include Queen Square, Lloyds Amphitheatre, Millennium Square and Castle Park, with seagoing vessels moored nearby. The liveliest part of the festival is quayside, but the main attractions are entertainment designed to engage all the communities of Bristol, as well as entertain the thousands of visitors to the city.
The city has hosted the festival since 1971, when it was started as part of an, ultimately successful, attempt to save the docks from being filled in. In 2012, the festival attracted over 300,000 visitors, its highest ever attendance, with the Irene and the Matthew being two of the tall ships to attend that year. The festival is held in July over a weekend and many of the bar and restaurants put on extra entertainment to keep visitors happy during the late evenings. In 2018 visitors will be able to watch for the first time, the Power8 rowing sprints battle it out on the water, as teams from eight cities compete to be the best.
The festival is free and located at the Harbourside and surrounding areas.
Love Saves the Day
Based in Eastville Park just 15 minutes from the holiday home Love Saves the Day started from humble beginnings as a one-day event and has now expanded into an eclectic weekend festival. In 2018 new stages in will be showcasing a diverse range of genres and music styles as Love Saves the Day continues with its aims to combine the best of Bristol’s thriving underground scene with pioneering artists across the globe in one buzzing, open space.
The emphasis is on great music but a following from all of the creativity and live entertainment that occurs throughout the festival, expect the spectacular. Over 300 acts performing across 12 stages, Love Saves the Day’s music line-up is second to none, but the festival has much more to offer, roller skating, ball pits, face painting/ jewelling, circus acts, fairground rides, displays and food stalls. Love Saves the Day is in May and gets bigger and better every year.
Love Save the Day, Muller Road, Eastville Park BS5 6Q
St Pauls Carnival
St Pauls Carnival make its triumphant return to the city on July 7th 2018 – 12 noon – 10pm for its 50th anniversary. Attracting over 40,000 people this iconic event started back in 1968 bringing people from around the world to the streets of St Pauls, as you will expect, it’s going to be the most colourful of celebrations. The Carnival is traditionally a participatory event for local people and this year it’s going back to its roots celebrating African Caribbean culture. It truly represents the immense vibrancy, creativity and diversity that enriches the city.
The event includes a masquerade procession with beautiful, colourful costumes and floats from local and neighbouring schools and cultural associations, a stage for professional performers, sound systems all across the area and a range of stalls selling delicious food from a wide range of cultures as well as authentic Caribbean food including Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat, Rice and Peas. It’s an inclusive event for all ages, with plenty of things to do for the younger carnival goers.
The procession is always a highlight and worth watching the colourful sea of costumes and floats which makes its way through the streets. If you are taking children and there will be plenty of good vantage points along the route where you can soak up the sensory delights of the carnival. It starts on Wilson Street and finishes at St Pauls Sports Centre. Children can also enjoy a family activity zone, where they will be able to enjoy a wide range of fun and themed craft activities.
There’s always a lot of fantastic music to enjoy with a large number of official PA systems on various streets, together with two main stages in parks and open spaces playing host to renowned DJ’s. This event has historically predominantly featured Jamaican sounds with offerings of dub and reggae, this year you can also expect to hear an array of different sounds from other genres too including Soca, Salsa, Dancehall and drum & bass.
See the “Our Bristol Guide” for more information.
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