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Bristol’s Festival Scene: Unmissable Events Guide

Bristol, a vibrant and eclectic city in South West England, is renowned for its thriving festival culture. From music and arts to food and culture, the city hosts an array of exciting and immersive festivals and events throughout the year.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

9th – 11th August

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is a no-cost, three-day celebration honoring the city’s history of hot air ballooning.

From August 9th (Friday) to 11th (Sunday), Ashton Court’s rolling hills outside Bristol transform into a temporary entertainment wonderland, hosting over 100 hot air balloons ready for launch.

This renowned event has been a cornerstone of the UK’s event schedule for over forty years, with Bristol serving as an ideal host due to its status as the birthplace of European ballooning and the global capital of the sport.

Bristol Harbour Festival

19th – 21st July

This free festival takes place over three days in July and celebrates Bristol’s maritime heritage. Enjoy live music, street performances, food stalls, and a grand fireworks display over the iconic harbour.

The Bristol Harbour Festival is set to return in 2024, promising a weekend of vibrant festivities along the historic waterfront of this dynamic city. This eagerly anticipated event, known for its lively atmosphere and diverse programming, celebrates Bristol’s rich cultural heritage, music scene, and maritime traditions.

A highlight of the Bristol Harbour Festival is its eclectic music lineup, featuring a mix of local talent and renowned performers. From indie bands to world music acts, and jazz ensembles to electronic DJs, the festival’s stages showcase a diverse range of musical styles, ensuring there’s something to suit every taste.

Bristol Pride

29th June – 14th July

Bristol Pride is a distinctive and significant event honouring the LGBTQ+ community, and facilitating connections among individuals.

Beyond exhibiting the extraordinary diversity of the community, Pride aims to vanquish prejudice, hatred, and isolation, demonstrating to LGBTQ+ individuals that they are not isolated.

Bristol Pride 2023 was an extraordinary celebration, with Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears headlining Pride Day, international icon Natalie Imbruglia leading the Afternoon Legends slot, and over 100 acts performing across five stages.

Bristol Comedy Garden

12th – 16th June

Prepare yourself for the southwest’s most anticipated comedy extravaganza as the Bristol Comedy Garden descends upon Queen Square. This year’s lineup boasts an unparalleled roster of the funniest comics on the circuit.

Witness the brilliance of STEWART LEE, HARRY HILL, JOSH WIDDICOMBE, SARA PASCOE, DARA O BRIAIN, FERN BRADY, DYLAN MORAN, SIMON AMSTELL, and SINDHU VEE, along with an array of other exceptional acts.

Indulge in a series of unmissable mixed-bill shows under the iconic Big Top, complemented by a curated selection of drinks and delectable street food from culinary masters.

Secure your tickets now and become part of the comedy sensation that is the Bristol Comedy Garden.

Planning Your Festival Experience

  • Check the festival schedules:** Visit the Visit Bristol website for up-to-date information on festival dates and times.
  • Book accommodation early:** Festivals can draw large crowds, so it’s advisable to secure accommodation in advance, especially if visiting during peak season.
  • Consider public transportation:** Bristol has excellent public transportation options, making it easy to get around the city during festivals.
  • Pack for the weather:** Bristol’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack layers of clothing and comfortable shoes.
  • Bring your camera:** Festivals offer plenty of photo opportunities, so don’t forget your camera to capture the memories.

Bristol’s festival scene promises an unforgettable experience for all. Whether you’re a music lover, art enthusiast, or simply seeking a vibrant atmosphere, there’s a festival waiting to capture your imagination.

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