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September 5th, 2020
With most of 2020’s festival season effectively cancelled as a result of coronavirus, six festivals have found a way to keep the celebrations, explorations and entertainment alive. From online activities to enjoy at home, to outdoor strolling and an actual real-life event with live music and people (!), here are the best autumn festivals in Bristol, Bath and beyond this year.
Due to the global pandemic of Covid-19, Bristol Pride 2020 will go online as a series of Pride favourites and much-loved events, including virtual theatre, a virtual comedy night and a virtual parade, culminating in virtual Pride Day plus after party with incredible DJs.
Pride Day will stream on 12 September, with over 40 acts from across all their festival stages. Expect new at-home performances as well as some never before released archive footage of performances. Drag Queens and Kings, dancers, local LGBT+ talent and acts from the Main Stage, including the chance to see Mel C performing with Sink The Pink from Pride 2019.
Bristol Craft Beer Festival, Lloyd’s Amphitheatre (11-13 September)
Bristol Craft Beer Festival is back at the Harbourside with a handsome array of world-class beers from the best local (think Wiper and True, Arbor Ales and the like) and international breweries (like Northern Monk, Øl etc). Swig a pint while you listen to live music and tuck into scrummy food from Bristol food outlets.
The festival will feature a number of enhanced safety procedures - click here to find out more.
Bristol Open Doors 11-13 September
Explore the city in a series of outdoor digital audio walking tours, guided by Bristol experts - all you need is a smartphone and headphones. Choose from Vibrant Bristol - street art and the painted city, Historic Bristol - through time and temple or Hidden Harbour - stories of a radical city (created by Vanessa Kisuule). Listen as local legends guide you on your journey, revealing tales of ship captains, famous vessels, iconic bridges, graffiti artists, hidden caves and craft brewers!
Lots of early time slots on the tours are now booked up - but there are still plenty of places available for afternoons and evenings.
Heritage Open Days, Weston-super-Mare (11-20 September)
Culture Weston and Theatre Orchard are bringing free entertainment and unique experiences to the streets and shoreline of Weston-super-Mare. In keeping with the ‘Hidden Nature’ theme of this year’s Heritage Open Days, the Weston events will showcase natural beauty spots and reveal stories and history to celebrate the town’s rich heritage.
Look out for ‘Susann, the Social Distancing Robot’ on the High Street, providing ‘Cat and Mouse’ type Theatre that is perfect for our times (12 & 19 September).
‘Carboot Disco Bingo’ (19 December, 1pm & 3pm) will bring together two popular family activities, bingo and disco dancing, featuring feel good pop tracks from the 60s and 70s.On 19 September (11.30am & 2pm)
‘A Ballad of Anchor Head Cove’ (a small beach spot between Knightstone Island and Birnbeck Pier), a series of stories exploring the coast’s past heritage will unfold in a new, sound work led by Weston-based artists Sam Francis and Phil Owen.
Encounters Film Festival digital edition (18 September-11 October)
2020’s Encounters Film festival - known for being a gateway to the world’s leading film awards including The Oscars®, BAFTAs and The European Film Awards - will be a fully digital affair.
Featuring over 250 short films and animations from around the world, directed by some of the world’s best new and emerging filmmakers, there will be a diverse range of guest programmes from partner festivals including Accra Animation Film Festival, Bristol Palestinian Film Festival, Queer Vision, Oska Bright and many more!
Look out for live Q&As with competition filmmakers where you can ask them any burning questions you may have about their films and get involved in a range of talks, workshops and masterclasses from key members of the industry.
A £10 Digital Festival Pass will give you access to the festival programme for the entire 3-week duration of the festival. Buy your digital festival pass here
Virtually Upfest, Bristol (25-27 September)
This year’s world famous street art festival will take place with a Tron-style vibe and feature Bristol-based artists, Zoe Power, Silent Hobo, Lucas Antics and Andy Council. The virtual world, created by Bristol-based augmented reality studio Zubr, will run from the Upfest gallery to the Tobacco Factory, with over 30 specially commissioned new pieces of work to discover. People will be able to enjoy the festival from the comfort or their own home or on the move, through their mobiles.
Reading is Magic, Bath (27 September - 2 October)
Step into a world of creativity with the Reading is Magic Festival this autumn - six days of free, inclusive and engaging digital events for schools and families.
Following the cancellation of the Bath Children’s Literature Festival, the team behind it’s production has collaborated with other amazing UK and international book festivals to bring you an amazing, free schools and family programme.
Beginning with a special public event curated by Borders Book Festival, a week-long schedule of daily events will follow with author Cressida Cowell joined by an all-star line-up of leading authors and illustrators along with a learning programme. Online materials and resources will support each event with book-buying opportunities promoted via local independent bookshops.