Upfest Bristol: Europe's biggest street art festival reveals plans for 2024 return

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It has attracted around 50,000 people to south Bristol in the past

Europe’s biggest street art festival is making a Bristol comeback this year, according to its organisers.

Upfest was cancelled last year due to increasing costs with a move to a biannual model but it will return in 2024 in a new guise.

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The free event usually takes place in Bedminster with artists painting huge murals on local buildings, as well as live music. It has attracted more than 50,000 people in the past and took place at Greville Smyth Park in 2021.

This year, Upfest will be an 18-day cultural programme from May 18 to June 2, supported by Arts Council England.

In place of its weekend festival, Upfest will return in 2024 with many new artworks being painted across two weeks. 

Upfest Presents will pop-up at multiple venues across Bedminster and the wider BS3 area with free to attend workshops, live painting, artist talks, arts activities, panel discussions, theatre, comedy and tours exploring the area.

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Upfest attracts thousands of people to the streets of Bedminster and Southville (photo: Paul Box)Upfest attracts thousands of people to the streets of Bedminster and Southville (photo: Paul Box)
Upfest attracts thousands of people to the streets of Bedminster and Southville (photo: Paul Box) | Paul Box

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, registrations are now open to attend and paint the walls of Bedminster, mentor, showcase artwork, live paint and collaborate with other artists throughout the event. Applications will be taken until Sunday February 25 via https://www.upfest.co.uk/page/upfest-registration-is-now-open. The Upfest Presents crowdfunder is up and running with the aim to raise £10,000 to support all the activities. The more money raised, the more events, murals and activities for all the family will be created as part of the programme. Visit https://www.fundsurfer.com/crowdfund/make-upfest24-happen to donate.

Festival co-founder Stephen Hayles said: “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 two-week period. 

“This means we won't have a festival in the park but means we can spread the joy of Upfest across 17 days including three 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.”

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