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The Big Tent Ideas Festival, being held on 11 June, Queen Square, Bristol, will be the perfect opportunity for local talent to show-case themselves on a national and even international stage. From food-trucks to filmographers, from local community TV to arts performances, from the best businesses to social enterprises and not for profits, Bristol-based organisations will be supporting the festival atmosphere. And the stories behind them reflect both the city’s diversity and Big Tent’s drive to leave a legacy.

With a mission to empower communities through the arts, Trinity Community Arts are well-placed to lead on two sessions which will explore the role culture can play in driving regeneration in a city. Alternating panel discussions with live performances, these sessions include local poets, Angie Belcher, Caleb Parkin and Edson Burton, dance from Hype Dance and Lottie Ball and street performances from Desperate Men. Meanwhile, street performers Loz James and Darryl J Carrington will be providing walkabout circus acts in between sessions to entertain the crowds. Bristol is home to a thriving and cooperative arts scene, leaders of which will be talking about culture has affected health, the economy and social change.

Babbasa, Bristol-based social enterprise organisation, supports young people aged 16-25 from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds. With Babbasa TV, it produces online programmes for and by young people from ethnic minority and lower socio-economic background – giving a voice to those not often heard. A live version of its discussion programme Let’s Talk will be broadcast from the festival, focusing on those who get left behind in a region’s regeneration.

Festival-goers will spot – and be spotted by – Ryan Francis, a Bristol film-maker recording the event. Francis, from an under-represented background himself, has created Latent Pictures to train and mentor those who would not otherwise receive opportunities with the TV and film sector.

Other local organisations to watch out for are:

  • Food and drink stalls selling snacks, meals, beverages and alcoholic drinks include Melt Productions, Fawn Coffee, The Stubborn Rhino, Chef Guru and Gopal’s Curry Shack. Fat Dad’s Kitchen is the commercial face of Fat Dad’s Community Kitchen, which provides free meals to the homeless among other activities aimed at helping the most vulnerable. 91 Ways, named after the 91 languages spoken in Bristol is a community-focused social enterprise, aiming to build and connect a global city through food.
  • At the Art Wall, local artist Rose Popay will be encouraging festival-goers to leave their mark, helping their designs and slogans
  • At the Community Fayre, local charities, voluntary organisations and social entrepreneurs will be sharing information about their work
  • In the bookshop where local independent bookseller Storysmiths will be selling copies of books written by speakers at the Festival and will be holding signing sessions throughout the day, and
  • Throughout the day, in the many panel discussions, are representatives of Bristol’s businesses, political organisations and civil society.

“It’s fantastic to have so many local based organisations involved,” comments Ben Rich, CEO of Radix Big Tent. “And the fact that so many are social enterprises really chimes with the values of the Big Tent festival. A theme of the festival is community action, local-centred regeneration – and with Babbasa, 91 ways and Trinity Arts, among so many others, we can show how that works in practice.”

Ben Rich, CEO, Radix Big Tent

The full festival programme can be found here.

Tickets for the festival are available here and are priced at £15 (£10 conc, U18 free); 2 for 1 tickets available.

Big Tent Ideas Festival

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