Art / Upfest

Upfest returns for 2020

By steve wright, Thursday Nov 14, 2019

Upfest, Bristol’s world-renowned graffti and street art festival, returns at full strength next year after a quieter 2019.

The 2020 festival will take place from May 30 to June 1 – and it will take over Bedminster’s Greville Smyth Park for its first ever ‘green field’ festival, in addition to The Tobacco Factory, the original Upfest venue.

The boards and canvases previously found across a multitude of South Bristol venues will be brought together for a huge weekend-long celebration of street art in the park.

The huge walls and murals traditionally painted during the festival weekend, will be created in the fortnight leading up to it, giving more people the chance to witness Upfest’s spectacular creations first hand. The murals will be completed for viewing while over 250 artists paint live alongside music stages and food and drink experiences.

Upfest will take over Greville Smyth Park when it returns in May 2020. Pics: Paul Box

Europe’s largest street art festival, Upfest has been entertaining crowds for well over a decade, attracting an international audience of artists and art lovers to the streets of south Bristol. Over the years, the festival has seen the creation of some spectacular moments which have been photographed, shared and covered all over the world, confirming’s Bristol’s place – held ever since Banksy’s surge in popularity – at the centre of the global street art scene.

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Upfest founder and gallery owner, Stephen Hayles explains: “After a break in 2019, we’re ready to bring Upfest back with huge new energy. This is a massive celebration bringing together the international street art community, but we realised it had outgrown its space just on the streets and we needed to create a new environment for festival goers to explore the artwork.”

Greville Smyth Park will also play host to a pop-up art gallery during the festival weekend, including a special Thursday night preview – giving Upfest fans and art lovers the chance to get their hands on exclusive festival prints and originals.

Greville Smyth Park will also host a pop-up art gallery during the festival weekend

“We are a volunteer-led, independent platform for independent artists,” Stephen continues. “This is what Upfest is about at its very heart: it’s a place for artists and art lovers to come together in celebration of what they love most.

“This new format means that the huge murals on the streets will be completed just ahead of the festival so these artists can head down and join the party in Greville Smyth Park. Visitors can view and photograph completed works with the scaffolding removed and our volunteers have a contained space to look after rather than 20 venues spread across miles of Bedminster. We’re hoping to grow our visitor numbers and be able to home even more artists for the world’s largest paint jam.”

Artist registration will officially open on December 1 via the Upfest website. Artists of all experiences and across all disciplines, from graffiti writers to fine artists, muralists, abstract and beyond, are invited to apply.

Upfest 2020, crafted with Posca May 30-June 1, Greville Smyth Park and Tobacco Factory. For more information, visit www.upfest.co.uk or follow the festival @Upfest.Bristol on Facebook and @upfest on Twitter and Instagram.

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