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Guide to Bristol Kite Festival 2013

The 2013 Bristol Kite Festival takes place from Aug 31-Sept 1 at Ashton Court Estate

Bristol Kite Festival (By Myk Garton)

Bristol Kite Festival (By Myk Garton)

2013 is the 27th anniversary of the Bristol Kite Festival. The Kite Festival is one of the largest kite events in Europe featuring giant 3D creatures, action-packed aerial battles, breathtaking synchronised stunt routines, awesome power kites and amazing ground-based air creations.

The 2013 festival will be held over the weekend at Ashton Court Estate. This year features the World’s Largest Kite with the Al Farsi team from Kuwait and a fantastic array of guests from all over the world!
The Kite Festival was named by the Guardian as one of its top ’50 Family Freebies for the Summer Holidays’ (at number 6 in fact!).

Bristol Kite festival was the brainchild of three friends, Martin Lester, John Peyton, and Avril Baker. Lester and Peyton were designers and kite enthusiasts who had worked together at Bower Ashton College of Art & Design, in Bristol. Avril Jones, as she was then, was working in public relations and marketing. Following a successful flying display they put on for a local Council event the three decided to stage a proper kite festival.  ??With a budget of just £300, and the goodwill of the City Council, the first Bristol Kite Festival was born. Thanks to the support of friends and fellow flyers the first festival was a great success and the seeds were sown for an ongoing annual event.

In the first few years, Bristol Kite festival rapidly grew to be a major public attraction and an important date on the (then small) international circuit.  The organisers were keen to put on a showcase of the best in kites and kite flying for the public together with an enjoyable event for the flyers themselves. All with a lot of goodwill and virtually no budget ??During the 1990s the festival secured its place as one of the world’s most respected and popular events amongst both flyers and the public alike.

Highlights have included staging national and international sport kite competitions, hosting the world’s largest kite, Peter Lynn’s Megabyte which broke the Guinness World Record at the festival, pioneering the concept of themed arena displays such as the ‘festival of the sea spectacular’ and while still running crowd favourites such as rokkaku kite fighting battles, parachuting teddy bears and children’s workshops
So what can you expect to see at this year’s Festival?

On the ground look out for some amazing air sculptures, artistic banners and flags.  See Michel Boucard’s rolling wave banners, walk through forests of flowing flags and banners by Roy Broadley and Karl Longbottom, listen to a wind orchestra and marvel at inflatable works of art by Designs in Air.

Enjoy the continuous array of colourful kites of all shapes and sizes flown by invited guest flyers and designers from around the world. There will be spectacular special shapes with swirling giant octopi, manta rays, flying fish, bears, tigers, monkeys and other mega beasts jostling for position with crowd favourites such as flying angels, jogging legs, spirit kites and butterflies.

Look out for your favourite comic strip characters with Chaos Kiters’ Asterix and friends, Robert van Weers Dr Zeuss ‘Cat in the Hat’ and Marco Casadio’s Angry birds as well as trains of comical animal faces and flying cars from Jan van Leeuwen. Artistic kites will also feature with Kelvin Woods’ portraits of the stars, colourful designs stitched together to form a patchwork of colours like flying stained glass windows with flowing tails.

The Bristol International Kite Festival supports the Great Western Air Ambulance. Entrance to the Festival is free of charge. Parking can be booked in advance. More info here.

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