Helping to prove Bristol’s street art scene is more than just Banksy, the annual graffiti festival Upfest in Bedminster has become one of the key dates in Bristol’s cultural calendar. Since the first festival in 2008, the free-to-register/free-to-attend event has transformed Bedminster into an open-air art gallery, filled with street art murals from some of the greatest local and international graffiti artists.
Sadly last year’s festival was cancelled due to rising costs, with organisers deciding to switch to a biannual mode. But as promised, Europe’s largest street art festival is returning for 2024. It just might look a little different – with an 18-day cultural programme (May 18 to June 2) taking over BS3 for Upfest Presents…
What will Upfest 2024 look like?
The last Upfest in 2022 saw a new format for the main festival weekend. Taking place at Greville Smyth Park in Bedminster, Upfest saw 400 artists paint temporary and purpose-built installations for 50,000 visitors, alongside children’s activities, food stalls and a music stage. But organisers are switching things up again for Upfest Presents…
In place of its weekend festival, Upfest will return in 2024 in a new guise, with many new artworks painted across the two weeks. Upfest Presents will pop up at multiple venues across Bedminster and wider BS3 with free-to-attend workshops, live painting, artist talks, art activities, panel discussions, theatre, comedy and tours exploring the area.
Artists will be invited to paint large-scale murals on buildings throughout the area, with a schedule available for visitors to pop by and see their progress. They will also take part in mini paint-jams, talks and panel discussions about their work and visitors and artists alike will be invited to curated events at venues in Bedminster and beyond. With over 100 artist spots, registration is now open until Sunday, February 25 here.
“Upfest Presents… represents a new incarnation for the festival this year, more focussed on programming the mural creation with a huge spectrum of other activities across a 2 week period,” said festival co-founder, Stephen Hayles. “This means we won’t have a festival in the park but means we can spread the joy of Upfest across 17 days including 3 weekends.”
“There will be tons for artists, art lovers and families to get involved in, while you can pop down and see murals being created throughout the whole period. Huge thanks to Arts Council England for giving us the opportunity to create the event this year and we’re looking forward to supporting local artists as well as welcoming artists from all over the world to Bristol.”
An Upfest Presents crowdfunder now is up and running to raise £10,000 to support all the activities, which can donate to here.