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Bristol’s BIG Green Week full Festival Programme

by Paul Rainger

05 June 2014

BGW-World-Logo-2014 - smallBristol is gearing up for its annual BIG Green Week (the UK’s biggest festival of eco ideas, art and entertainment) starting next Saturday 14th June. And the full festival programme online is Bristol’s biggest ever, with over 150 events, as the city kicks off  18 months of celebrations of winning European Green Capital 2015 - the first ever UK city to win this award.

Bristol’s BIG Green Week 2014 features over 150 events across Bristol from Saturday 14th to Sunday 22nd June, over half of which are free! You can work your way through the massive  full Festival Programme here, or plan your Festival visit with the handy ’at a glance’ event summary diary here, and see the 54 festival venues right across Bristol here.

Over 50,000 visitors are expected to once again enjoy two weekends of free family entertainment, and nine days of inspiring talks, workshops, art, music, poetry, comedy and films.

Big Green Week has become a hugely important event in Bristol’s environmental calendar and, of course, this year it becomes a vital stepping stone to our European Green Capital year.” says George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol.

Highlights of the 2014 programme include:

The BIG Beautiful World Weekend (14/15 June) which unleashes the city’s wild side, including the Festival of Nature taking over the Harbourside, Colourscape on College Green and the Earthed environmental art Weekender at the Create Centre.

Comedian Tony Hawks returns to the Festival (18 June) for “An evening of Sane Economics” where he’ll join other high-profile speakers to tell us just what’s gone wrong with money.

The politicians battle it out for the environmental vote in a General Election Debate (20 June) chaired by Jonathon Porritt, who earlier that same day will offer his own unique insight into what life in the future might look like.

FareFashion, the festival’s gala event, returns to Bristol City Hall (21 June), hosted by Observer columnist and BBC’s ‘The One Show’ presenter, Lucy Siegle. The gala includes an ethical pop-up shopping village and a fantastic banquet cooked by FareShare South West’s ‘Surplus Supper Club’ award winning chefs using food that would have been wasted by the food industry!

Bristol’s Biggest Bike Ride (22 June) sees over eight thousand cyclists to join the largest non-competitive bike events in the UK, before spectators can watch the Atmosphere Electric Bikes World Championship races up Park Street or relax in front of the pedal-powered bicycle cinema on College Green.

And throughout the Festival, families can explore Bristol’s historic harbour in the BIG Green Treasure Hunt, and if you solve all the clues you could win fantastic piratey prizes. Or visit Embercombe’s Dutch sailing barge, the Volharding, moored outside the Arnolfini for a series of workshops and events throughout the week, including Green Crafts & Family Fun.


BIG Green Week discount tickets and t-shirts

by Paul Rainger

03 June 2014

BGW-Green-Capital-Tshirts-low-resOrganisers of Bristol’s BIG Green Week Festival in June have just released a final set of discount ticket bundles on sale here.

Four different ticket bundle offers are available, see below. There is also a free glass of wine special offer with all tickets purchased for the Green Fire poetry evening. But hurry as only very limited numbers of the discount deals are available.

All these final BIG Green Week ticket bundles come with a limited edition festival t-shirt and wristband, and for the first time these special limited edition BIG Green Week t-shirts are also on general sale, to celebrate Bristol winning the European Green Capital award for 2015! Limited in number these white unisex cut t-shirts are now available to buy online here and are earth positive Climate Neutral shirts in 100% organic cotton.

Bundle Offer 1: The BGW Cultural Tour – save over £12

The BIG Green Week Cultural Tour bundle takes you round the festival’s cultural highlights with tickets to the comedy night on Sat 14th June, the poetry evening on Thurs 19th June (including a free glass of wine), and finishes off with the lunchtime music of Three Cane Whale on Sat 21st June.

Bundle Offer 2: The Wednesday Day Visitor – save over £10

The Wednesday Day Visitor bundle gives you discounted tickets to both the lunchtime “NASA Faked the Moon Landing” talk and the evening “Make Billionaires History” talks in the Arnolfini on Wed 18th June.

Bundle Offer 3: The Friday Day Visitor – save over £10

The Friday Day Visitor bundle gives you discounted tickets to both the lunchtime “Jonathon Porritt” talk and the evening “General Election” debate in the Arnolfini on Fri 20th June.

Bundle Offer 4: The Second Saturday Day Visitor – save over £15

The Saturday Day Visitor bundle for 21st June gives you discounted tickets to the lunchtime music event with Three Cane Whale, the afternoon Journey of the Universe film screening, and tops it off with the Festival’s evening FareFashion gala meal and show in City Hall.


Let BIG Green Week’s free family events entertain you!

by Paul Rainger

28 May 2014

EarthedBristol’s annual BIG Green Week festival is nearly here again. Packed with loads of free family events, in this week’s Bristol Post we looked at four top tips for parents for ideas to keep the children happy at the festival over the next four weeks.

Staring out this school half-term week, parents can fill a whole sunny day on the Treasure Island Trail’s BIG Green Treasure Hunt around the harbour. This is a new free App from Bristol’s Long John Silver Trust highlighting the city’s role in the Treasure Island story, home port of the Hispaniola. And to celebrate the launch, the App comes with a Treasure Hunt around the harbour that runs until the end of the BIG Green Week festival on 22 June. There’s a free gift for the first thousand children who solve all the clues to complete the Hunt, and parents will be entered into a draw to win fantastic piratey prizes too.

On the following weekend of 7th and 8th June its BIG Green Week’s annual Get Growing Trail as Bristol’s secret fruit and veg growers open their garden gates to the public. There are few activities that inspire children’s love of nature more than the wonder of growing a flower or vegetable of their own. The Get Growing Trail has a range of activities on offer to inspire your children with wormery demonstrations, snail racing, goat-walking, pond-dipping, seed-sowing and more, plus of course lots of opportunity for tea and cake for weary parents.

The Earthed Weekender at the Create Centre helps kick off the first full weekend of the BIG Green Week festival on 14th and 15th June, with an exciting range of hands-on environmental art activities for children and parents. Their BIG Dig will be peeling back the turf and digging down to reveal the hidden layers of earth and time beneath the surface of Ashton Meadows. Plus their Make and Mow competition could see your child’s design for a large-scale piece of grass art mown into the Meadows at the end of the Festival. What could be better for Father’s Day on Sunday 15th than Dad and the kids getting dirty together making Earth Graffiti, at a practical river-inspired mud graffiti art workshop!

Then it’s BIG Bike Day on the final Sunday of this year’s BIG Green Week festival on 22nd June. A fiesta of cycling and free family entertainment centred on College Green, all kicked off in the morning by Bristol’s Biggest Bike Ride. You can join thousands of families on the morning ride before cheering on the Electric Bikes Races up Park Street in the afternoon, and children take over from 3pm for the annual Park Street Playground.

Paul Rainger is director of Bristol’s BIG Green Week Festival in June.


Bristol is European Green Capital 2015: and it all (sort of) starts here…

by Paul Rainger

24 April 2014

EU Green Capital logoOur latest Sustainable Bristol column in the Bristol Post looks forward to a series of exciting spring events on Park Street and June’s BIG Green Week Festival marking the start, more or less, of the build up to Bristol 2015.

The first warm sunny days at this time of year always get me thinking about the summer of festivals and free events Bristol has to offer. They play a big part in what makes Bristol the best place to live in the UK.

Personally, I feel our festival summer has truly arrived by mid-May when the Southbank Arts Trail happens – coming on the weekend of the 17th and 18th May this year.

For the large swath of environmentally minded folk of Bristol, there is the added anticipation this year of the arrival of Bristol 2015, when our city will officially be European Green Capital for the year. Bristol is the first ever UK city to win this European award, so it’s quite a feather in the cap for Mayor George Ferguson.

‘So what?’, you might ask. Of course you can expect to enjoy loads of amazing events and free family entertainment across Bristol next year. But the serious work behind the fun is all about jobs and investment in our City.

Bristol is already a leading city in the UK for the so called green jobs sector, and we want a lot more of them. So being the showcase for the whole of Europe in 2015 as the place to come and see cutting edge environmental technologies, and to do green business, is really important in the long term for Bristol.

A small team has been working away on the plans for Bristol 2015 for a few months now. It’s high pressure stuff, with an awful lot to try and do in very little time. But details will start to emerge over the next few months now and into the autumn.

And it all unofficially kicks off with my own BIG Green Week festival in June. The full programme for this year’s BIG Green Week has just gone up on the website. It’s grown by nearly a third, to over 150 events, as community groups right across Bristol prepare for the big Bristol 2015 year. Once again well over half the events are free, including two big weekends of free family fun on city streets on 14/15 June and 21/22 June, so check out the website for details.

June’s BIG Green Week might be the start of Bristol 2015, but the next couple of months belong firmly to Park Street. Post readers cannot have failed to read all about Luke Jerram’s waterslide down Park Street on 4th May, which officially launches the Mayor’s 2014 season of the popular Make Sunday Special events.

Then on 1st June the Park Street traders will themselves be turning the street into a giant pop-up Park with family fun and games all day. And on 22nd June BIG Green Week will be on Park Street again for our annual Atmosphere Electric Bikes World Championship races. So grab your sunglasses and head down to Park Street!

Paul Rainger is director of Bristol’s BIG Green Week Festival in June.


Join the Uphill Beach clean in Weston on Thursday 24th April

by Paul Rainger

16 April 2014

Beach Clean PicMarks & Spencer (M&S) in Weston-Super-Mare has put the call out for volunteers to descend on Uphill Beach on Thursday 24th April to free it from litter as part of this year’s Big Beach Clean-up.

Interested volunteers should turn up from 10am  to join employees from M&S in Weston for the Big Beach Clean-up hosted in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

What’s more, volunteers taking part will be treated to a beach-side BBQ and live entertainment. Customers that register for the event in advance at www.mcsuk.org/foreverfish will also receive a money-off M&S voucher on the day of their beach clean (£5 off a £30 spend on food and drink at M&S – terms and conditions apply).

Kara Lofthouse, Store Manager at M&S Weston-super-Mare, says, “We’re calling upon as many local people as possible to help us rid Uphill beach of litter. This is a fun initiative that will bring the local community together to help our local environment and protect our precious marine life. Plus, after all the hard work is done everyone will be rewarded with a delicious BBQ and live music”

Volunteers across 95 beaches and 45 canals in the UK will this year join forces with the aim of clearing more than last year’s massive haul of 30 tonnes of litter – the equivalent weight of two double decker buses. Most of the litter collected on Uphill beach will be common waste items such as fishing nets, ropes and bottles tops. However last year M&S beach and canal cleaners found an array of unusual items including a bath, coffee maker, HM Prison Service toothbrush and a Freeview box!

The M&S Big Beach Clean-up is part of M&S’ Forever Fish campaign which is funded by the profits from the 5p carrier bag charge in M&S foodhalls.

So if you are interested in a rewarding day out after Easter, get on down to Uphill Beach on the 24th.

Beach Clean Poster


New Friendly Garden Share project for Bristol

by Paul Rainger

03 April 2014

Friendly Garden ShareA new Friendly Garden Share project is starting up in Bristol, and is looking for neighbourhood co-ordinators across the city.

The Friendly Garden Share project puts owners of underused gardens who would like to share their space in touch with local growers who need a garden. In return the gardener shares a proportion of the produce.

The idea is based on the same project by Lou Brown in Totnes who set up a garden share scheme there that has been running for over four years now. She says, “All I can say is that the experience has been profoundly positive and there have honestly been no drawbacks. All the gardeners and the many garden owners have worked and shared their spaces with respect and commitment.”

You can find more information about the Bristol scheme here, and if you are interested in being a co-ordinator, or generally getting involved in this growing project, just contact Bristol project co-ordinator Chris.


Permaculture Two Day Course

by Paul Rainger

26 March 2014

permacultureFind yourself burgeoning with curiosity about all things permaculture? Brimming with ebullient enthusiasm for ecological and sustainable ideas?

Then this Introduction to Permaculture course in Bristol over the weekend of 5th and 6th April at Hamilton House by Permanent Cultures might be for you.

Permaculture is a regenerative, ethical design approach that replicates natural systems, to tread lightly on the Earth. Whether designing a community garden, or your urban window ledge, the principles of permaculture can guide you in your journey to a truly sustainable lifestyle.

More details about this latest course and booking details can be found here.

Permaculture course April 2014 poster


Your Money and Your Life

by Paul Rainger

11 March 2014

An interesting local community event in Bristol this Saturday afternoon (15th March) at St. Michael’s Hall on Gloucester Road.

Your Money and Your Life is showcasing for a number of projects that help people think and act differently around money, community and values. The aim is to inform local people and encourage them to actively engage with projects and innovations that help them do money in line with their values, and includes the Happy City Project and the Bristol Pound.

In the spirit of holistic learning, the organisers hope that the event will include more than just stalls and information, and plan to have a kids area, and some interactive and art based installations around the broad topic of money, community, values.

There’s more background on the event here, and if your project wants to take part contact Tim Malnick: tim@differentspace.co.uk

Money and Life

 


Bristol’s Open Energy Data Challenge

by Paul Rainger

07 March 2014

energy challenge logoBristol’s open energy data challenge is on, and you could win £40,000!

But hurry, you need to register your interest in the competition by the 16th March – full details here.

The winners get the cash to use open data to develop services that support communities to buy cheaper energy, use it more efficiently, or potentially to make their own.

The Bristol challenge invites teams including businesses, startups, social enterprises, community groups, academics, students and special interest groups to collaborate and compete with each other to use open data to build these energy services that support communities.

The UK faces huge challenges in the area of energy: the costs of energy in our homes and businesses are increasing, we are struggling to limit our greenhouse gas emissions and we are reliant on energy from abroad which ultimately raises questions about our energy security. At the same time we now have access to more data than before on the nature of our energy consumption and other factors which affect our energy use, much of this being available as open data. In response to this the Open Data Institute and Nesta are running this open data challenge with Bristol City Council around the theme of energy and the environment, to help catalyse new organisations to use the open data available to develop products and services that tackle these issues.


Cameron, our new King Canute

by Paul Rainger

18 February 2014

King CanuteIn case you’ve missed it, Britain is now officially at war. Here’s our news from the home front, published last week in the Bristol Post.

Every Prime Minster needs a good war. Mrs Thatcher had the Falklands. Tony Blair had a dodgy dossier on Iraq. On the 30th January David Cameron called the army into Somerset. Like a modern day King Canute, Cameron has declared war on water.

News from the front so far has not been good. The marines lost the battle of Moorland, their mortars and tanks presumably proving less effective than the high volume water pumps of the Environment Agency and Fire Brigade already deployed.

The Mayor of Bristol was soon in action too, using the City’s emergency flood barrier for the first time, and the Council Reservists held back the storm surge’s high tide.

But a surprise attack by rising sea levels at Dawlish washed away the train line, prompting Boris Johnson to call again on Parliament to declare all trains and tubes ‘national infrastructure’ thereby solving any such future problems by simply making the whole thing illegal!

Of course behind every flooded home and business at the moment is a story of personal heartbreak and tragedy. But when the current storms have abated, we all will be left with serious questions we must address as a nation.

Because in ten or twenty years time we will look back on this as just the start. We will get more and more extremes of weather created by climate change. Last week the Government’s own Chief Scientific Adviser was in Bristol warning us of just this.

But once again our current short-term politicians are showing themselves incapable of grasping these long-term global problems. The Government’s crisis knee-jerk response is to talk of dredging and how much flood defence concrete you can pour.

To hell with the science that shows water sinks into the soil under trees at 67 times the rate of soil under grass. We’ll continue to promote intensive farming and pay farmers to cut down the trees and scrub that absorb the water. We’ll ignore the expert advice of river mangers that dredging can speed up flow and increase the risk of flooding downstream. And we will certainly ignore the advice of the Environment Agency not to build housing estates in flood plains.

For now, King Cameron Canute is at war. We shall fight on the eroding beaches. We shall fight on the land where we have removed the natural drainage, and we shall fight in the housing estates we have built on the flood plains.

Although David Cameron might want to take note. Professor Simon Keynes of Cambridge University says everyone gets the Canute story wrong. The king had his chair carried down to the shore and ordered the waves not to break upon his land. When his orders were ignored, he pronounced: “Let all the world know that the power of kings is empty and worthless”. 

Paul Rainger is director of Bristol’s BIG Green Week Festival in June.


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