Culture of Bristol

Bristol is a city in South West England. As the largest city in the region it is a centre for the arts and sport. The region has a distinct West Country dialect.


Se Fire on the Main Stage at the Ashton Court Festival

In summer the grounds of Ashton Court to the west of the city play host to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, a major event for hot air ballooning in Britain. The Fiesta draws a substantial crowd even for the early morning lift that typically begins at about 6.30 am. Events and a fairground entertain the crowds during the day. A second mass ascent is then made in the early evening, again taking advantage of lower wind speeds.

The annual Bristol International Festival of Kites and Air Creations,[1] featuring kite makers and flyers from around the world, takes place in September at Ashton Court.

From 1974 until 2007, Ashton Court also played host to the Ashton Court festival each summer, an outdoors music festival which used to be known as the Bristol Community Festival. Torrential rain during the 2007 festival and mounting costs incurred as a result of the Licensing Act 2003 led to the dissolution of the not-for-profit company which organised the event.[2]

The annual Bristol Harbour Festival features displays of tall ships and musical performances. The St Pauls Carnival takes place in Bristol during the summer and features a procession and late night music.[3]

The Bristol Slapstick Silent Comedy Festival celebrates silent film comedy every spring and the organisation also promotes screenings throughout the year.[4] In November the Encounters Short Film Festival offers a platform for new short films.[5] The biennial Wildscreen Festival showcases wildlife filmmaking in the city that is home to the BBC Natural History Unit.[6]

The Great Reading Adventure was introduced in 2003 as part of Bristol's bid to be European Capital of Culture 2008. It was inspired by an equivalent scheme in Chicago, where they were reading Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. In its first year in excess of 15,000 people read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson as part of the scheme.[7] The Bristol Art Library (TBAL) is an art performance project created in 1998 by British artist Annabel Other. It consists of handmade books in a library the size of a suitcase.[8]

The Bristol Festival of Ideas is an annual programme of debates and other events, which aims "to stimulate people’s minds and passions with an inspiring programme of discussion and debate".[9] It was first set up in 2005 as part of the city's ultimately unsuccessful bid to become the European Capital of Culture for 2008, and awards an annual book prize, worth £10,000, to a book which "presents new, important and challenging ideas, which is rigorously argued, and which is engaging and accessible".[10][11]

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