ORGAN: Upfest 2023 is off, they say they’ll be back in 2024 Though. That weekend in Bristol is a massive highlight of any art year, what a big hole there will be, we love going to Upfest…

Well, not the kind of news you want on a cold December Friday morning, Upfest, one of the highest of highlights of any art year, is off, the good news is the organisers say they’ll be back in 2024 but that’s one big dent put in 2023, 2022 was a brilliant weekend. The full statement is further down the page. Let’s hope thery make it back for 2024, the feeling in the park this year and around Bristo itself was brilliant, far far far more than just a street art thing (where’s the Art Council when you need them? Upfest is an event that really connect people and art in a very real way – ORGAN THING: Upfest, It was just cheering, the whole thing, the whole weekend in the Bristol sunshine, the people, the art, the positive feeling around Bedminster for Upfest 2022…

Here’s the Twitter announcement that kicked Friday morning in the teeth…. and psssst, there is an Upfest “secret” Xmas party happening today, more down the page….

The statement on the Upfest website reads….

“Europe’s largest street art festival, Upfest, will move to a biannual model, taking a break in 2023, following the rise in infrastructure costs.

Organisers have made the tough decision to not hold the festival in 2023 as they focus attention into planning ahead for 2024 with another stellar line-up of artists.

Upfest is a highly anticipated event on Bristol’s cultural calendar which attracts over 50,000 visitors to the festival across the weekend and thousands more to Bedminsters streets throughout the year. As one of the city’s largest free-to-attend festivals, it is important to the Upfest team that it remains a free festival for everyone to attend. Previous editions have brought phenomenal, large-scale murals to Bedminster including Kobra’s iconic John Lennon mural & Insane51’s 3D piece featuring Greek Goddess NYX.

Due to the increasing costs related to putting on such a large-scale event, bringing world-class street artists from across the globe to the city of Bristol, festival organisers need to raise at least £180,000 to stage the free event in 2024.

The Upfest team will focus on other projects and interventions throughout 2023 including artist exhibitions at their North Street Gallery, as well as getting a head start on 2024 planning.

Steve Hayles, Upfest co-founder said: “After such an incredible festival in 2022, we’re gutted to not be putting on the festival in 2023 but the risk to the organisation is just too great. We know our visitors love the festival and it has played a big part in making Bedminster a street art hub for the city and has become known internationality for it. With rising infrastructure costs, site fees and without funding, we won’t be able to raise the funds we need in 2023 to keep the festival free, so instead we will turn our attention to 2024. Anyone who would like to support or sponsor the festival in 2024 would be very welcome and please do get in touch.”

On the Upside, the “Secret” Upfest Xmas party is happening tonight, the Upfest website will probably tell you more, I assume it isn’t that much of a secret?

And can I be a little bit naughty here and mention that there is a limited edition 30cm x 38cm high quality print version of the piece I painted live at Upfest this year currently available via this weekend’s online Art Car Boot Fair or via the Cultivate online shop… Yeah, I know, that was a little out of order, but hey, I enjoyed painting that piece and meeting so many people last year, the bus rides to Upminster from Bristol city centre will never be forgotten!

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