Bristol what’s on this weekend May 13-15: Crime conundrums, historical walks, film festival and more

There’s loads to choose from this weekend in Bristol

<p>Still from the Mayfest trailer.</p>

Still from the Mayfest trailer.

With the weekend set to be a scorcher and the feeling that summer is well and truly on its way, it’s always nice to see your social diary jam packed with events.

There’s loads to choose from this weekend in Bristol, with festivals brimming from every corner of the city.

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Whether you fancy music and theatre, or want to kick back and enjoy some films at the Forbidden Worlds Film Festival, or perhaps you fancy a bit of beer-fuelled political debate - whatever, you’ve got it all!

Let’s take a look at what we can expect...


The highly regarded and ​​trailblazing festival of international contemporary theatre, Mayfest, is back from May 13th-29th. Their first edition in four years, it’s set to be bigger than ever and a huge event for the performing arts scene in Bristol.

Produced by MAYK, one of the country’s leading live performance producing organisations, the festival is a city-wide programme of performances, installations, events and screenings.

The opening performance is on Friday at the Bristol Old Vic, where they will be showcasing Birthmarked, a new show by Bristol performer Brook Tate. Struggling a little this month? What’s great is that every show in the Mayfest programme is priced on a Pay What You Can basis to allow the event to be as accessible as possible.

Bristol Transformed

Bristol Transformed Festival is a grassroots, volunteer-run annual festival of socialist politics, arts and culture. Billed the “hottest political event in town”, it brings together activists, trade unionists and leading figures on the left.

The Festival is focused on creating the space to discuss the most important issues facing us, equipping us with the skills and knowledge to transform Bristol and the world for our collective future.

Expect it to be a full weekend of games, debates, art shows, music and parties in various venues around St Pauls and the Centre such as The Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft, Strange Brew and Malcolm X Community Centre.

Bridging Town and Country Walk

As part of Bristol Walk Fest that is taking place throughout the month in various forms across the city, one event that looks set to be a popular one is the Bridging Town and Country Walk.

The Bridging Town and Country walk starts at the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Organised by The Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, the guided 3-mile walk takes you on a trip of engineering marvels, deep woodland and riverside. You must book on to take part, though, by calling 01179 744 664 or emailing [email protected].


This internationally renowned crime fiction convention is coming to Bristol this weekend from 12th-15th May. The festival is for those who like to read an occasional crime novel as well as for die-hard fanatics.

Andrew Child (pictured), Martin Edwards and Robert Goddard are among authors featuring at CrimeFest.

Drawing top crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world, it gives all delegates the opportunity to celebrate the genre in a friendly, informal and inclusive atmosphere. So, what can you expect? The programme consists of a variety of interviews with particular authors, over 40 panels with other authors to sit in on and watch, as well as awards dinners and a few little surprises for ticket holders, too.

Sounds like your kind of thing? You should probably get your tickets sharpish. Crimefest was created following the successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. The British hosts were encouraged to continue with a similar annual event and, as a result, the first Crimefest was organised in June 2008. The convention has grown to become not only one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, but also one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar.

Directors’ Festival

One of the most exciting dates in the calendar when it comes to showcasing new and exciting talent from the world of Bristol theatre, the Directors’ Festival will be held at The Wardrobe Theatre this weekend.

It’s made up of a programme of contemporary theatre which will be presented by the eight graduating MA Drama Directing students from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School but also feature work by the acting, design and production students, too.

Now in its 16th year, the Festival has massively built up a reputation for showcasing the emerging talent in the UK arts scene, and you should get tickets fast because it’s a huge part of Bristol’s fringe theatre landscape.

Ukraine Benefit Event

Bristol Beacon is presenting a one-off Benefit Event on 14th May, created by Bozarts Band, in support of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. It will be a guided exploration through music and verse, and is aiming to allow you as the audience to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Stand in solidarity with Ukraine this weekend.

Bozarts Band is a collective of Bristol’s leading musicians and instrumentalists, who will be joined for a uniquely immersive, three-part performance by actress Patrycja Kujawska (Kneehigh Theatre), soprano Katy Garden and special guest, pianist with Ukrainian roots, Veronika Shoot.

The event starts at 5pm and is free to attend but donations are encouraged. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

Forbidden Worlds Film Festival

Particularly exciting for film enthusiasts, the Forbidden Worlds Film Festival arrives this weekend and will be taking over the unused old IMAX cinema in Bristol Aquarium for the first time since it closed years ago.

Originally opened in 2000, this venue has tiered seating for 315 persons and is site to an impressive 19m x 15m screen – truly a big screen experience!

Not only that, but it’s also a brand new event, too! To celebrate 20th Century Flicks turning 40, Forbidden Worlds will be a three-day event, dedicated to genre cinema with a particular focus on some of the classics and curios that emerged in 1982.