Bristol is regarded as the most musical city in the UK. Sure, Liverpool had The Beatles, Manchester had Oasis and London had The Rolling Stones, but in terms of musical talent per head of population Bristol trumped them all in a survey by the Performing Rights Society. That might explain why the annual Bristol Festival of Song has become a major fixture in the Bristol cultural calendar. Now in its fifth year the festival has grown to encompass the whole city, with a variety of free and ticketed events running across Bristol from the 10th to the 19th of October.
Image courtesy of University of Salford Press Office
There’s a huge range of events on during the festival but here are some recommendations to help you make the most of this wonderful 10-day celebration of the power of the human voice.
1. Get Stuck In
You don’t have to be the next Pavarotti or Marvin Gaye to enjoy singing. Everyone has the ability to sing, it just takes practice and effort. You might not be able to pack out the Royal Albert Hall, but you can definitely hold a note, and there are a range of workshops during the festival to help you improve your voice. Generation Sing’s workshop is open to all ages and abilities and will have you belting out tunes in no time in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. If you enjoy listening to male voice choirs or barber shop quartets, then the award-winning Great Western Chorus’ workshop on close harmony is for you.
2. Experience A Song Raid
Inspired by the modern ‘flash mob’ sensation, you’ll find impromptu song raids happening across the city on a variety of planned routes. Get to one of the many locations and wait for some of Bristol’s finest a cappella artists to serenade you with a quick and intimate mini-concert.
3. Follow The Song Trail
During the festival you can walk around the city and drop into a variety of rehearsal spaces where you’ll find local singing groups practising or putting on a show. You can sit and listen, or if you’re feeling brave you just might get a chance to join in.
4. Catch A Concert At Colston Hall
It’s only right that the Bristol Festival of Song should feature Bristol’s most iconic music venue. There will be a series of free concerts held in the Colston Hall foyer every day of the festival. From traditional choral music, to jazz and modern pop and rock there’s something for everyone to enjoy at these events.
5. Watch The Pros
Alongside the various free events and concerts you can also take in some of the best professional vocalists during the festival. There are a variety of ticketed events, none of which will break the bank and all of which will offer a fantastic experience. Be sure to catch Charlie Dore on the 18th. Charlie’s captivating performances and powerful songs have made her a popular performer on the UK and international circuit.