After two years of paired back summer fun, Bristol’s festivals are returning with a bang. As hot air balloons take to the skies and boats arrive for the 50th Harbour Festival, there will be plenty of music, laughter and fun to be had across the city this summer.
Here’s our pick of the city’s upcoming family-friendly events:
22 to 27 June: Bristol Sounds 2022. Kick-starting the festivities this week is Bristol Sounds 2022, returning with an electrifying line-up playing to crowds at Bristol’s harbourside amphitheatre. There are some big names on the list including Indie classic Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Scottish singer/song-writer Paolo Nutini and Swedish duo First Aid Kit all headlining. Tickets are available at See Tickets.
- 22 June: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds supported by Confidence Man.
- 23 June: Paolo Nutini supported by Brooke Combe.
- 24 June: Elbow supported by The Magic Numbers and Jesca Hoop.
- 25 June: Jungle supported by Kelly Lee Owens, Ibibio Sound Machine, Joel Culpepper, Porij and Ujima Radio DJs.
- 26 June: First Aid Kit supported by Katy J Pearson and Bess Atwell.
- 27 June: The War on Drugs supported by Soccer Mommy.
22 June to 2 July: St Pauls Carnival presents… Back a Yard. For over 50 years, Bristol has celebrated African and Caribbean culture each July at the annual St Pauls Carnival. While organisers continue to fundraise and plan for the Carnival’s full return in 2023, this year will be a bit different, with a programme of low-key ‘Back a Yard’ events that will celebrate 60 years of Jamaican independence.
- 22 June: Marking Windrush Day, the Carnival Library event is a chance to hear amazing stories from the Windrush generation at the Kuumba Centre in St Pauls.
- 25 June: Families are invited to a Community Picnic at Portland Square to enjoy carnival food, storytelling and arts activities, as well as performances from local schools, Afrikan drumming and the Rainbow Steel Band.
- 2 July: With performances from Headley Park Primary, St Mary Redcliffe Primary and St Werbergh’s Primary, the Community Celebration will include mask making, calypso workshops and a children’s parade. Afterwards, reggae artist Horace Andy will headline at the St Pauls Carnival takeover at Lost Horizon.
25 June to 9 July: Bristol Pride. There are events going on across the city to celebrate Pride 2022, including film, exhibitions, boat tours and theatre celebrating LGBT+ people and culture. Not only will the event celebrate its return after a two-year break, but this year marks 50 years since the UK’s first Pride marches took place. The annual Pride March will take place on 9 July, gathering at Castle Park from 10am and taking a 2-mile route through Bristol’s streets to the amphitheatre.
Meanwhile, the Downs will play host to one of the UK’s largest free Pride events, with 14 performers making their way to the main stage, headlined by Carly Rae Jepsen in the evening. As well as great music, the event will include food, stalls and plenty of entertainment, with a family area that includes the Super Pirates, School of Drag fancy dress and the well-renowned Drag Queen Story Time to keep little ones entertained. Find out more about the activities taking place at Bristol Pride.
13 to 15 July: Bristol Beacon presents… Musical beats will be heard on Bristol’s harbourside throughout the summer as the Bristol Beacon brings a range of well-loved artists to perform much-awaited, rescheduled gigs at the amphitheatre this summer.
- 13 and 14 July: Rescheduled twice since 2020, Bristol will finally get to groove with musical legend Niles Rodgers and his band CHIC.
- 15 July: Backdropped by Bristol Harbour, toe-tapping favourites Belle and Sebastian will be supported by Django Django on their much-anticipated return to the city.
Tickets are on sale at the Bristol Beacon.
15 to 17 July: Bristol Harbour Festival. It’s back, and ready to celebrate its 50th year! And the theme for Bristol’s Harbour Festival Ebb and Flow. Showcasing the various communities and cultures that make up our vibrant city, visitors will get a glimpse into how the harbour has changed and transformed over the last 5 decades.
As ever, boats of all shapes and sizes will descend on Bristol’s waterways, with installations around the harbour that reflect the diverse communities that make Bristol what it is today. All the details of this year’s festival can be found at Bristol Harbour Festival.
11 to 14 August: Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. It’s a Bristol staple, and this year’s Balloon Fiesta promises to be bigger and better than ever. All the Fiesta favourites will return after a two-year hiatus, including daily mass ascents, the evening nightglows and lots of fairground fun up at Ashton Court.
Not to be outdone by covid restrictions, the organisers behind the Balloon Fiesta came up with its own unique way to continue celebrating Europe’s largest hot air balloon event last year, launching balloons from secret locations around the city. Following the huge success of doing this in 2021, the fiesta is asking Bristol locals to nominate locations they’d like to see balloons take off from to launch this year’s celebrations. Nominations are now live on the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, with final locations being announced nearer the time.
Bristol Sounds photo: (c) Paul Box