Upfest 2022: Everything you need to know about this year's festival

Upfest 2022: Everything you need to know about this year's festival

Posted on: 05 May 2022

Europe's biggest street art festival is returning to the streets of South Bristol this month.


The time has come! Today (Thursday 5 May) marks the official launch of Upfest 2022, with the internationally-renowned street art festival's street painting sessions taking place throughout the coming weeks, leading up to the full festival weekend on 28 & 29 May.


Having been forced online in 2020 and scaled back last time out due to the coronavirus pandemic, the much-loved, free-to-attend annual event is making a triumphant return this month, to the delight of locals as well as the raft of visitors that make the journey every year.


The Upfest team caused a slight panic in March when they launched a crowdfunding campaign to secure the festival's future but, unsurprisingly, they received an outpouring of support and successfully raised more than £30,000 in just ten days.


With the festival's eagerly-awaited comeback on the horizon, read on for a quick rundown of what it's about, who's taking part and what you can expect to find at Upfest 2022.



What's New (and where has Upfest been for the last two years?)


Fans and South Bristol locals can expect to see an array of incredible murals painted as part of Upfest 2022, with three weeks of street painting kicking off on Thursday 5 May.


Throughout the next few weeks, hundreds of pieces will be produced as part of the festival, including the flagship weekend which will span two main hubs at Tobacco Factory and Ashton Gate Stadium, as well as Upfest's new venue Greville Smyth Park and more than a few hidden corners of BS3.


In 2020, Upfest made the leap into the digital realm with Virtually Upfest, an online version of the festival which allowed fans to experience over 30 new pieces of art from home while Covid restrictions prevented us from getting together in person.


Then, last year, the 75 Walls project saw Upfest artists paint 75 new murals in 75 days across Bedminster, adding even more colour and character to what was already one of the most visually-striking parts of the city.


Provided there aren't any major last-minute disruptions - and we all know, after the last two years, that there absolutely could be - Upfest's long-awaited return will be cause for relief and celebration among street art fans across Bristol.



Who's involved this year?


Upfest manages to draw attendees from all corners of the globe to South Bristol, thanks in part to its expertly-curated artist lineups, featuring talent from across Bristol, up and down the UK and around the world. 


2022 is no different, as a cast of well over 400 artists prepare to set up shop in the Westcountry this month.


International artists confirmed for this year's festival include Dodici, Kyros and Philaico, arriving from Italy (via the Netherlands), Iran (via Austria) and Brazil respectively.


As always, Bristol's world-renowned street art scene will be well-represented at Upfest 2022, with Lucas Antics, Sepr, Inkie, Ijits, Andy Council, HazardOne, Dave Bain, RTiiiKA and Rob Wheeler among the extensive lineup of hometown artists featuring in this year's programme.


Browse a full lineup of Upfest 2022 artists and find links to their previous work here.



Where can we find the art?


Upfest's 2022 festival weekend will be taking place across three core venues: Greville Smyth Park, Tobacco Factory and Ashton Gate Stadium. The chosen locations are within a short walk of each other, leaving plenty of time for visitors to explore everything on offer.


Aside from its core venues, however, in typical Upfest style, the painting sessions during the buildup to this year's festival will be popping up across BS3. 


We encourage everyone, if you've got the time to spare, to have a stroll around Bedminster either just before the full festival or on the festival weekend itself, to see first-hand the glorious collection of artworks adorning walls and spaces of all shapes and sizes.

North Street's Six Sisters mural is just one example of the vibrant Upfest projects on display throughout Bedminster.North Street's Six Sisters mural is just one example of the vibrant Upfest projects on display throughout Bedminster.


What can we expect from the festival weekend?


Upfest's two-day festival weekend is the culmination and focal point of its programme, taking place this year from 11:00 to 20:00 on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May.


Alongside an array of eye-catching live art sessions, Upfest's flagship weekend will be home to a broad selection of local food and drink vendors, independent traders, book stalls, pop-up salons and more.


Fast Fiive will be serving up hearty, nutrition-boosting fresh smoothies, vintage clothing specialists Vibra will have some of their very best apparel up for grabs, and Gingerbeard's Preserves will be on hand with a delicious range of homemade craft condiments.


Not only that, attendees can expect a wide range of genres and styles across this year's musical offering - a full lineup is still to be announced for now, but you can check back on the festival's Twitter page for news and updates.


As for facilities, lost property (including misplaced kids), community guidelines and any other questions or queries you might have, Upfest have set up a dedicated FAQs page over on their website.



How can I support Upfest?


At its core, Upfest is a community event and initiative, relying on the generosity and support of the local area to remain free, accessible and open to all. 


Europe's biggest street art festival is a jewel in Bristol's dazzling cultural crown, and a vital part of the city's internationally-renowned summer festival calendar.


It's vital that the local community gets behind Upfest, and there are plenty of ways to do so, from buying something from its North Street HQ or online store to volunteering at the festival itself.


Volunteering roles range from board and wall prep to artist liaison, stewarding, programme selling, festival build assistants and more, and there are still spaces available this year - find out more and apply for your chosen position here.



With Upfest 2022's street painting sessions launching imminently, and just a matter of weeks to go before the main festival weekend on 28 & 29 May, we invite anyone and everyone in Bristol to take a walk through Bedminster this month and discover some incredible new artworks.


The festival team are still on the lookout for volunteers, and have a handful of trade spaces left for the festival weekend - find all the info and get in touch via the Upfest website.


Alternatively, as artists start to arrive in Bristol and painting sessions get underway, you can find Upfest on Twitter and Instagram for news and updates over the coming weeks.

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Article by:

Matt Robson


Editor - 365Bristol.com & LOUD Magazine

Matt is a Journalism graduate and writer, passionate about supporting Bristol music, art and independent business. Get in touch via email at matt@365bristol.com.