Bristolians have a big reputation for being music obsessives. The only thing they are perhaps known better for is their political activism. So why not bring the two together? Well that’s exactly what a new music festival, Forwards Festival, has done. Taking to Clifton Down on September 3 and 4, it will bring together a stellar line-up of musicians with an engaging, ‘changemaker’ programme of activist discussions on issues affecting Bristol.
Forwards Festival is not the first to add political panels to its line-up. Everyone from Shambala to Glastonbury has done it. But the volunteer-run festival has taken special care to emphasize these talks. So that it never feels out of step with the party. In addition to two main music stages, it has established The Information: a space for activism, with a focus on Bristol issues and opening the door for young people.
It’s not all lip service either. This activist attitude is at the very heart of the festival’s organisation too. Forwards is helping young people – who have historically been excluded from the festival and events industries – by offering work experience, shadowing and paid placements across the festival. The festival team will also collect data and create a three-year strategy on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at future events.
When it comes to the music, there are also a lot of familiar faces to get buzzed about too. Jamie xx and The Chemical Brothers will be headlining the Saturday and Sunday respectively. While the likes of Charli XCX, Little Simz, Caribou, Sleaford Mods, Róisín Murphy, Floating Points, and many more, will also be playing across the weekend.
In terms of talks being hosted, panel discussions will focus on topics that range from making Bristol a sex-positive city, to tackling Bristol’s housing crisis and breaking the class-ceiling in creative industries. On top of these, climate change, changing yourself, and approaching drugs in the night-time economy will also be discussed.
Bristol-based Team Love and AEP Presents are the people behind Futures Festival. They are previously responsible for Simple Things and Love Saves The Day, so they know a thing or two about throwing party for locals. Based on the success of these previous events, we have plenty of confidence this new venture will be another banger. More details about the festival can be found here.