Redfest 2017: Why are we changing the format of Redfest this year?

Instead of being a day event in St George Park this year, Redfest will be a multi-venue event taking place across 5th and 6th August. When we’ve been telling people about the plans for this year we’ve received some positive feedback about the new format and some negative feedback about the lack of a day event in the park. It means a lot to us that people have such strong feelings about Redfest and so we wanted to take the time to explain some of the reasons we’re taking a break from the usual format.

  1. The festival is getting too big

Last year’s Redfest attendance was estimated at 20,000. That’s grown from 1,000 5 years ago when we first had an event in the park, and is double the 2015 attendance of 10,000. With the reputation of the festival growing there’s no reason to believe that the attendance wouldn’t increase again this year if we have the event in the park again.

  1. We’re worried its becoming less of a community festival

We’re seeing an increasing number of attendees from outside the local community. We’re happy to host people from everywhere, but ultimately we are here for our local community and the growth in numbers from elsewhere is putting pressure on the festival’s viability.

  1. The cost is too high

The cost of last year’s festival, without any fencing or ticketing, was over £31,000. We were just able to cover this cost in 2016 but we estimate the cost this year could be as high as £45,000 if we continue with the park format.

  1. Our funds are being cut

Community and arts based grants are under attack at the moment. In 2015, we had over £10,000 in grants for Redfest. That was down nearly 30% to £7,113 last year. This coming year Neighbourhood Partnership Wellbeing Funds have been paused and may be discontinued and we anticipate cuts to council arts funding as well.

  1. The volunteer team are under too much pressure

Aside from the funding required to pay for the festival, the other equally important resource that Redfest runs on is volunteer time. The team who run the festival are entirely made up of volunteers who work on supporting the festival in their spare time – often around a full time job and family commitments. We estimate that over 2,250 hours were worked by the Redfest team in 2016, which is more than someone working full time on the festival all year long!

  1. We think the 2017 format will be an exciting experience

We’re genuinely excited about the format of a multi-venue weekend festival and the opportunity it provides to support our aims of increasing the profile of arts in Redfield and the surrounding area, providing a platform for local artists to showcase their talents and encouraging the local community to see and take part in something new. We want to highlight the best of what the area’s commercial and community spaces have to offer and we’ll be working with local venues and event organisers to try and ensure that Redfest 2017 provides a diverse range of events and activities for everyone in our community.


We’re glad so many people enjoy Redfest and want to see it continue in the park, but we hope you’ll get involved and enjoy the new format as well! If you want to keep supporting Redfest then please make a donation or consider volunteering your time for one of the positions we’re currently recruiting for.

Bristol’s No.1 grassroots arts festival Redfest ‘Goes Green’, announcing headliners Laid Blak and new website for 2015

It’s not easy being green. Or so sang a certain influential frog. Redfest – the free arts festival for East Bristol – begs to differ. It has grabbed the sustainability bull by its horns this year, with a Green theme that encompasses solar powered stages, reusable drinks cups and alternative fuel.

On Saturday 1 August the beauty spot of St George Park will dance to a greener beat with two stages of great music, jaw-dropping cabaret, tons of kids’ activities, a market with 40-plus traders, topped off with art installations and street theatre. With bands spanning reggae, funk and ska, to rock, soul and afrobeat, Redfest punches well above its weight as a community festival.

Music director Sol Curry said, “We are lucky to have such great talent here in Bristol, and this year we are thrilled to announce our headliners Laid Blak. They have great energy live and their positive message, their blend of reggae, R&B dance will get everyone dancing.”

With a dozen bands over two stages, this year’s line-up continues the emphasis on quality local acts. Makala Cheung headlines the Market Stage, blending RnB, soul, electronica with Oriental influences. Blak Flamez bring uptempo ska to the table; Mankala take inspiration from the joyous sounds of Soukous and Township, and there’s also soulful southern fried rock from Temple Kings.

International contemporary artist Kathy Hinde will be unveiling a specially commissioned bike-powered sound sculpture funded by the Arts Council, and there will be laughter with Bramble FM – the spoof local radio outdoor broadcast perform from a caravan and walkabout street theatre .

“Sustainability is a continued theme for everyone in Bristol, particularly with Bristol being the European Green Capital,” explains Redfest’s organiser Dominik Ljubic, “so we wanted to use it to springboard the future of Redfest. We have worked hard on our sustainability policies and actions to make the Festival as ‘green’ as possible, in the hope that we inspire others to do the same.”

Russ Spollin, sustainability manager, continues, “We are really excited about our solar powered stages at this year’s Redfest. We are pioneering the use of reusable cups which will reduce our plastic waste and we hope it will soon become the norm for all Bristol festivals. We want the local community to join in with our green theme by walking or cycling to Redfest.”

Originally created as a week-long festival for the arts in local cafe Grounded, as a way to help put Redfield on the cultural map, Redfest is now a well-attended and respected event over a one day, with a few extra fringe events. It’s organised entirely voluntarily by local residents with a passion for the area, while businesses such as Grounded and The Old Stillage help fund it.

This year, fringe events include a Buster Keaton silent film with a live piano soundtrack -now a tradition to open the festival – and an after-party at The Old Stillage with DJ Bunjy from Laid Blak.

“It’s come a long way from where we started,” explains creative director and founder Simon Webb, “from events attended by 20 or 30 people to this artistic smorgasbord which attracted around 5,000 people last year.”

Redfest’s new website goes live on 21 May at

Join the festival fun on Sat 1 August 11-9pm St George Park.

Further information

To arrange an interview or request more information or hi-res images please email

Key info

Redfest takes place 11am – 9pm, 1 August, St George Park, Redfield, Bristol.

Redfest is a not for profit event, organised entirely by volunteers.

Redfest relies on donations and sponsorship and is always looking for donations. The public can donate directly online at

Redfest is always on the look-out for sponsors. Businesses should contact or download a sponsorship pack from our Friends of Redfest page.

Our key funders are

  • Bristol City Council
  • The Arts Council
  • St George Neighbourhood Partnership
  • Bristol 2015 Green Capital.

There is a full list of funders, partners and sponsors on our Friends of Redfest 2015 page.