People / My Bristol Favourites

My Bristol Favourites: John Blakeley

By bristol247, Saturday Jun 24, 2017

John Blakeley is a musician and music programmer for The Canteen, No.1 Harbourside, and the Old Market Assembly and Wardrobe Theatre. He also programmes the music for Valley Fest, taking place from August 4 to 6 and featuring a music lineup including Jose Gonzalez, DJ Yoda and The Fantasy Orchestra.

Here are John’s top-five Bristol favourites:

Narroways and St Werburgh’s Hill

“This is where I go escape the hustle and bustle, stick on some headphones and listen to tunes overlooking the city. When programming for a festival it’s nice to listen to music out in the open air as it helps to imagine what something will be like in an outdoor setting. The return journey passes The Miner’s Arms which hosts some cracking ales!”

Boat venues

On board the Thekla – photo by Mike Evans

“Not only do we have a huge selection of fantastic live music venues in Bristol but there are a surprising amount on boats. The Thekla has always been an enchanting place to watch music. There are also many memorable nights to be had aboard the hull of a packed swaying Grain Barge, and if you are lucky a rare local gig aboard the John Sebastian light ship or shanties atop of The Matthew. I’ve always thought the rusting cargo hull at the bow of the ss Great Britain would be perfect setting for an orchestra.”

The Wardrobe Theatre

The Wardrobe Theatre – photo by Paul Blakemore

The Wardrobe Theatre is an amazing intimate spot to watch incredible theatre and the occasional folk gig where the wooden panelling made from old doors and the steep raked seating draws you right into the performance taking place on the floor right in front of you.”

Bristol & Bath Railway Path

The Bristol start of the Bristol & Bath Railway Path – photo by Georgina Gillespie

“From what other city can you ride door to door on a perfectly flat straight disused railway path, vehicle free in unspoilt tranquil countryside to reach another stunning city? The Bristol & Bath Railway Path is great for peddling at leisure, kids’ bike rides, and even when commuting you’ll still reach Bath quicker than sitting in rush hour traffic. There are also a decent few pubs and swim spots en route!”

Valley Fest and The Community Farm

“The community-owned social enterprise The Community Farm on the banks of Chew Valley Lake is surely one of the environmentally richest pieces of countryside in the Bristol suburbs. The organic farm is the perfect home for Bristol’s first greenfield camping festival, Valley Fest, where music, organic food and nature and good times bring people together in this idyllic setting.”


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