AUGUST 2022: News from Mayor Marvin Rees

July 25 2022

Taking Pride in Bristol

It has been wonderful to see people being able to gather together again for the festivals and celebrations that make Bristol such an amazing place to live in and visit in summer. It has been wonderful to see such flagship events as the Harbour Festival, St Paul’s Carnival and the Bristol Balloon Fiesta back in action after the pandemic. 

And I write this month’s column the day after the city enjoyed fabulous weather for Bristol Pride.

Once again, Pride provided an opportunity for the city to celebrate and to secure LGBTQ+ people’s hard-fought rights. I want to send again my thanks to the organisers for two weeks of brilliant events – culminating in the Pride Parade and the festival on The Downs. It was a fantastic day, with tens of thousands of people marching, visiting the organisations represented at the community tent, and enjoying entertainment across five stages in the sunshine.

At the festival, just before Carly Rae Jepsen took to the stage, I announced another opportunity for Bristol to come together again.

Despite winning the Eurovision Song Contest in May, incredibly sadly, Ukraine won’t host the contest in 2023. The BBC have been asked to take on Eurovision next year. And as a global and diverse City of Sanctuary that has for many years extended the hand of welcome to those fleeing conflict, Bristol can be the caretaker of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. 

We’re working in partnership with YTL Arena Bristol on a bid to bring Eurovision to the Brabazon Hangers. We have the perfect site, where we can custom-build the perfect Eurovision Song Contest, with sustainability, inclusion and legacy at its core. 

We know that the city and region’s tourism and hospitality sector would benefit from such a huge event, as we know how important events and festivals like these are to Bristol’s economy. To give just one example, the Bristol Light Festival brought a £3.4 million benefit to local businesses in the city. Across the region, Bristol’s visitor economy is worth more than £2.33 billion, and supports over 45,000 jobs.

As a city, we have a phenomenal track record on putting on events that celebrate Bristol’s history and our diverse communities. We put on shows that attract people from all over the world to our city, and leave them with life-long memories of their time in Bristol. I know that if we’re given the opportunity, we can do the same with the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.

I hope you all get to enjoy a brilliant summer of events – from family gatherings and smaller community-based festivities to the many major events planned across the city.