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.

New Look Redfest 2017!

Exciting new format for 2017

This year Redfest will be taking a break from the day event in St George Park to curate a weekend long, multi-venue festival on and around Church Road. We’re looking to work with local venues, community organisations, businesses, traders and artists of all disciplines from Redfield and the surrounding areas. We’ll have a wider variety of platforms to showcase local artists and a curated trail will challenge people to explore their neighbourhood and discover venues they may not have known before. We want to highlight Church Road and the surrounding area in its best possible light, introduce people to everything that’s great about our area and increase community cohesion and pride.

In the Community:

Since Redfest first launched in 2008 it has evolved from a small, week-long event showcasing local artistic talent into a huge event in St George Park. Since the first Redfest in St George Park in 2012, we have seen unprecedented growth in visitor numbers with an estimated 20,000 people attending in 2016. In 2017, Redfest will be taking a break from running a one day event in the park and going back to its roots as a multi-venue, community festival and we’re really excited about the event!

By the Community:

We’ll be curating a weekend long series of events at a range of venues on Church Road and we want to work with local venues, community organisations, businesses, traders and artists of all disciplines from Redfield and the surrounding areas. Redfest is a festival which is put on by and for the people of East Bristol and we encourage all local businesses and artists to get involved in the new look Redfest!

For the Community:

The mission of Redfest is to enrich the local community through the arts and the new format for Redfest will re-focus the festival on the local community. We’ll have a wider variety of platforms to showcase local artists and the curated trail will challenge people to explore their neighbourhood and discover venues they may not have known before. We want to highlight Church Road and the surrounding area in its best possible light, introduce people to everything that’s great about our area and increase community cohesion and pride.

Get involved

We’re calling out to all local artists and venues to get involved in Redfest 2017. We’ll have two open application processes running in parallel:

  • Artists – we’ll be open to artists of all disciplines showcasing their work. Musicians, DJs, visual artists, performing artists, entertainers and performers of all kinds.
  • Venues – whether it’s a pub, cafe, shop, hall or anything else, we want to hear from anyone with a space who is interested in hosting festival content. Whether it’s art, photography, film, music, theatre, dance, or an installation, we want to show art in all its forms in new places to give it a new context.


We’ll then sprinkle a bit of Redfest magic by pairing venues with content, carefully curating a trail along Church Road. This year’s Redfest will enable the community to see the road in its best possible light, and maybe even explore some spaces they haven’t visited before. If a venue has a specific idea of what they want to do, we’d be happy to work with them to help them make the most of this opportunity too.


  • Stalls – We’ll also be looking to provide space within Redfest for a number of stalls for local artisans and traders to sell their wares to the local community.


Redfest will take place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August 2017. Applications are now open!


Join the Redfest 2016 crew!

We’re now taking volunteer registrations for stewards, decor makers, build and breakdown crew, and many more roles at Redfest 2016. Lend us your skills and learn new ones, make new friends and feel part of a fantastic community event – everyone is welcome!

In return for your time you’ll get a free t shirt, treatment in the Wellbeing Area, drinks tokens (for alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks), water and snacks and a free meal from our crew caterers.

Click here to register as a volunteer

Audio Sushi Fundraiser

The fundraiser gigs are coming fast as lightning! Next up, it’s a night of reggae, drum&bass, disco, dubstep, rap (and lots more things beginning with D and R) on Saturday 26 March, 8pm till late at The Old Stillage in Church Road, the lovely local pub that is also a longtime headline sponsor of the festival.

DJs Mistri and Treat (Ujima Radio/The Remix) and Red Tom (Redfest) plus very special guests will be in charge of the tunes and there’ll also be BLINGO – like bingo, but with added bling!

Suggested donation of £3 on the door – all money will go to this year’s festival. See you there!

It blew me away

To be honest, I am in awe of Redfest.

True that I started it, nurtured it along its journey and put a lot of work into it. But so many people work really hard on now and it really, really shows.

This year was exceptional. Surely the best yet?

Beyond the great music and activities and food and markets, it’s amazing to see so many people having a great time. For me, putting on a good party is as good a social policy as anything else!

When I look back on the Redfest journey, it’s really come so far. From 30 people in Grounded for nightly events to 5,000 people in a park!

Back in the mists of time it was a week long series of arts events – in Cafe Grounded mainly, as well as Bethesda.

We had Studio Ghibli film screenings, short animation night (aided by then local resident Dance Borthwick from The Bolex Brothers), experimental music night (I Am The Mighty Jungulator), as well as music and kids’ events. It all culminated in a music all-dayer at Grounded in the garden with acts like My Two Toms and Katie Brooks as well as local trumpeter  David Mowat. And now it’s grown to include big names like Laid Blak.

One of the big things I’ve learnt is having the right people on board. That personalities that are different complement each other often, and need each other. It’s a collaboration of ideas and skills.

Here’s to more collaboration and creation, and to different skills!

Awesome, Just AWESOME.

A crowd of people sit on the grass and watch the show. There are many families. Behind are trees and tennis courts.
What Redfest looked like in 2011
What Redfest looked like in 2015
What Redfest looked like in 2015

Redfest 2015 by Black Iris

All photos in this gallery are by Redfest partner Black Iris Photography, a family-run company based in St George, Bristol.

Kids learn about recycling at puppet workshop

As part of the run-up to the festival, Redfester Kirsty has been leading art workshops in local schools. Sticking with the environmental theme of Redfest we devised a workshop turning household items into puppets. Working with the year threes and fours in Bannerman Road Academy, we created some weird and wonderful characters from kitchen sponges and then created small performances. We wanted to show how easy it is to transform normal everyday objects into something new – encouraging the idea of recycling and the endless possibilities of the mundane.

Here are Sonia, Zainab and Ellouise with their funny puppets!

Three young girls proudly hold puppets made of recycled household items up to the camera. The puppets are furry and have wiggly legs.

A week of celebrating our volunteers

NC839 Volunteers Week Logo_square_colour

It’s national Volunteers’ Week and of course we couldn’t miss the opportunity to give some love to our wonderful Redfest volunteers!

All week we’ll be celebrating the amazing volunteers who make Redfest happen and showcasing some of the different roles that they do.

The festival literally could not happen without this brilliant team of people. We haven’t got space to include everybody sadly, but we love you all, and there is truly no way to express how grateful we are for the time and enthusiasm you give us!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and check back here to see everyone that we feature during the week. If you’re already a Redfest volunteer you might see yourself… and if you’re not, and you fancy joining in, why not click here and join the team!

Friday’s featured volunteers are…

The Core Team

Core team meeting June 2015

Who are they? The lovely people that organise the festival. Some of it is glamorous – like listening to demos and deciding which bands get to play – and some of it is hard graft on funding applications and supplier contracts. But all of it is worthwhile when the party comes together and the park is full of happy, smiling people having fun.

It’s an ideal job for you if… You have event organising experience; you have helped out at Redfest before and want to get more involved; you have a lot of time to commit year-round; you reckon you can make big things happen for zero budget.

(PS: Everyone in this photo, plus the others who didn’t happen to be at the meeting when the photo was taken, deserves a really massive thank you, and in particular, the festival’s Project Manager Dom (far left) and Artistic Director Simon (at the back in a black hoodie) who lead the whole wild ride with boundless energy and copious spreadsheets. Thank you everyone!)

And don’t forget these from earlier in the week…

The Kids Team

kids team

Who are they? We have a whole area dedicated to fun for the littluns at Redfest, and it’s the Kids Team that keep the activities going and the kiddies entertained and happy (with their grown-ups, of course).

It’s an ideal job for you if… You love working with children.

(PS: On the left of this pic is Naomi who runs JollyTots music and singing workshops – if you have under-5s and haven’t been to one of her fundraising events you are missing out on loads of fun! And when she’s not doing that she works tirelessly to run Redfest’s marketing and social media. Thank you Naomi!)

Public engagement

fundraising crew

What is it? It’s a fancy way of saying “chatting to random partygoers”! You might be shaking a bucket or collecting tin for donations, doing a survey about sustainability, selling t shirts, answering queries, generally being a friendly face to represent the festival, or all of these at once and more!

It’s an ideal job for you if… You love meeting people, making new friends, and feeling part of the community; you’d like to use, or develop, your sales and customer service skills; you want to see the show while you work.

(PS: If you have really sharp eyes you might spot Meg and Frankie in this photo, who did marketing and fundraising for Redfest 2013. Thank you Meg and Frankie!)

The Decor Fairies

A path through the park is lit by sunshine. Red bunting hangs across the path and there are giant flags on either side.

Who are they? A festival’s not a festival without bunting, flags and lots and lots of shiny stuff, and it’s the decor crew that make that happen. They are there from early in the morning doing magic stuff with cable ties and staple guns, ready for when the party starts.

It’s an ideal job for you if… You’re a bit creative; you like working hard to a deadline; you’d rather be working before the festival than during it.

The Info Tent Team

redfest info tentWho are they? The info tent team answer questions from the public – from “where are the toilets?” to “what time is my favourite band playing?” – and look after lost property. They sell programmes and t shirts to bring in an important source of funding for the festival. They’re also a hub for the steward team, making sure everyone’s signed in, gets their free t shirt, and has everything they need.

It’s an ideal job for you if: you’re sociable; you’re well organised; you want to make new friends; you like to keep busy; you want to be sitting down.

(PS: the dapper chap in the sunglasses in this pic is Redfest’s head steward Dermot. He’s a key member of the team all year round and gives us so much time and expertise for absolutely nada in return. Thank you Dermot!)