Annual Events in Bristol

Bristol’s beloved annual events celebrate everything from the city’s maritime heritage to its vibrant cultural scene, diversity, award-winning food and drink, and love of ballooning!

Whether you want to brighten up your winter with a colourful light festival, marvel at stunning street art from the finest graffiti artists in Banksy’s hometown, witness hundreds of balloons fill the city skies, or watch thrilling jetpack performances on the harbour, Bristol has it all and more.

Music lovers are in for a treat, with major events spanning multiple genres throughout the year. Groove to music from acclaimed jazz and blues artists at the Bristol Jazz Festival, experience a love-filled weekend of pop perfection at Love Saves The Day, and enjoy an eclectic blend of acts at Bristol Sounds and FORWARDS. Be sure to keep an eye out for touring artists visiting Ashton Gate Stadium each summer too - previous performers have included Elton John, Arctic Monkeys, Spice Girls, The Killers, and Bon Jovi!

Comedy fans will love Slapstick Festival, a week-long celebration of all things slapstick each February, featuring a lineup of special celebrity guests paying tribute to the genre at venues across the city. Further down the calendar in June, there’s a chance to see some of your favourite stand-up comedians perform at the ever-popular Bristol Comedy Garden, including some of Bristol’s very own homegrown talent.

Cinephiles will also feel at home in Bristol, with a range of film festivals taking place across the city every year. Bristol Film Festival screens popular and classic flicks in unusual locations around the city throughout the year; Forbidden Worlds Film Festival brings lesser-known fantasy, action, science-fiction and horror films to the big screen; and Watershed’s Cinema Rediscovered hosts screenings of remastered classics as well as rarities from across the world.

It’s not all about celebrating pictures from the past: Encounters Film Festival showcases emerging talent in the world of short film, and the biennial Wildscreen Festival spotlights leading voices in natural world storytelling on screen. If this piques your interest, then you’re also sure to love the Festival of Nature, the UK’s largest free celebration of the natural world.

Take a look through our suggestions below, and start planning your Bristol experience!

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Experience two award-winning gay villages, world-class LGBTQ+ festivals and thriving LGBTQ+ nightlife.