News, events and schools' information for families across Bristol

Funky, family-friendly music event set to take over Bristol’s Old City on August Bank Holiday Weekend, Old City Sounds, has today announced its full line-up. The free event is a celebration of the city’s songful soul on the last Saturday of the school holidays, where the city’s music-lovers can look forward to buskers, circus acts and everything in between. 

From 12-6pm on Saturday 26th August, the inaugural free outdoor event – created by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) – will take over the old city, filling King Street, St Stephen’s Church, St Nicholas Street and St Nick’s Market with an eclectic mix of live music. Four melodic zones will be home to all genres of music, including jazz, flamenco, acoustic and much more, to suit all musical tastes. Here’s a look at what to expect: 

Old City Kids zone
Old City Kids Zone will be the height of family fun at St Stephen’s Church Garden and St Stephen’s Avenue, offering activities and shows for children of all ages and personalities. Children will be invited to explore the Seven Seas with Little Music Makers, featuring Captain Rob-Beard and Bosun Ali. For those looking to immerse their little ones in something less traditional, music with Maya: Jazzy Babies is the immersive live concert experience that says goodbye to nursery rhymes and hello to sweet jazz.

Lindsey Cole, mermaid and children’s author

If you’re looking for something quieter and more reflective, reading corner offers interactive renditions of children’s stories for children of all ages, from hosts such as Lindsey ColeKatherine O’Shea and Stanfords

Old City Eclectic

China Bowls

Old City Eclectic will see classical and nu-wave artists from all genres strutting their funky stuff on St Nicholas Street. Virtuoso flamenco guitarist, Craig Sutton – also known as The Flamenco Thief – will be kicking off the area at 12pm, delighting crowds with an infusion of Spanish acoustic, Latin rumba and bossa nova with hip-hop and electronica. Also performing is the soulful emerging talent, China Bowls at 2pm, who combines poetic lyricism with neo soul, blues and hip hop to create an unforgettable musical experience.

The Cake Ladies

For the rock lovers out there, Bristol-based band The 45swill be bringing the Motown, soul, rock and blues, with their own signature edge at 4pm. Dancing among these artists until 4.30pm will be Cake Ladies, a nine foot tall strawberry cream cake and a sour cherry tart, who are an unmissable spectacle – literally! 

Old City Acoustics
If you’ve missed the summer busking series at St Nick’s Market this summer, Old City Acoustics is offering a bumper edition of this at the event, featuring local musicians from BIMM performing from 12-4pm. Bristol-based Shan Tilley will also be busking, bringing her original, in-depth indie-pop songs and graceful harmonies to the stage. Following the busking delights, you can wander through the eclectic mix of quirky stalls and delicious street food on offer in St Nick’s indoor market, Bristol Flea Market and Bristol Indies’ Market. 

Old City Jazz
For jazz fans, Old City Jazz will be taking over King Street, in collaboration with Old Duke Jazz Festival. Live jazz talent from near and far will be entertaining residents from midday until late, including Jump Street with their New Orleans flavour of funk, soul and pop. Keep your eyes out for Cheeky Monkeys too, as they roam the streets to showcase mind-blowing acrobatics and juggling skills. 

Vicky Lee, head of Bristol City Centre BID, said, “With the summer holidays coming to an end, we wanted to give families something free that they can attend together to celebrate the incredible musical talent we have here in Bristol. Music is integral to Bristol culture and we want to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together to enjoy this in one of the city’s oldest and most beautiful areas.

“We’re so proud of the talent in Bristol, and we are delighted to share the full line-up for this event as we know that events like these are essential to boosting morale for residents and increasing footfall to support local businesses.”

Old City Sounds is being delivered by Bristol City Centre BID, supported by Bristol’s City Centre & High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, which is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England’s Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project, with the aim of supporting the recovery of Bristol’s priority high streets.