The Other Art Fair 2017

Art fairs and children are not natural companions. The thought of wilfully taking little legs into a room of very expensive, smashable things no doubt fills you with horror, whilst sticky fingers on canvases and bored whining seem inevitable.

Well, friends, good news! The Other Art Fair arrives in Bristol to take up residency in the Arnolfini from 1-3 September and they want families to join them!

As well as giving you the opportunity to discover 80 of the best UK based emerging artists, there will be loads of family friendly events. One of the highlights is Cardboard Castle, an Arts Council England supported project, where you and your nippers are encouraged to decorate huge cardboard and willow structures. Fair Manager, Jessica Chow says, ‘It’s going to be really fun seeing children and parents get involved in the castle and watching it grow throughout the weekend.’

You can also look forward to The Print Wagon, where artist Aidan Saunders will be offering an interactive print experience that will teach you linocut’s rich history of activism and protest. Expect messages of love, hope and a little fear!

And there’s also ‘I, the Poet. You, the Poet.’ where you’re invited to create poetry and imagery in response to the person before you. Like a Consequences style poetry mash up, everyone’s entries will then be included in a short film from the 3 days.

This is also where you’ll be able to see all the #ColoursofBristol entries that Bristolians have been submitting via Instagram. A rainbow showcasing our city in all it’s glory!

Under 16s go free, but we’ve teamed with The Other Art Fair to give you grown ups free tickets too. Just visit the website and enter the code BARTSMONSTER to nab yourself free entry on 2-3 September.

‘Parents can bring children without worrying that they will get bored! It’s important for us to also encourage children to get involved – the artists we work with are so creative and inspiring.’ JESSICA CHOW, FAIR MANAGER

We hope you enjoy The Other Art Fair!

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Summer Guide 2017

Summer is here! As much fun as it is spending endless hours kicking your heels in the playground, you’ll be pleased to hear that Bristol has absolutely nailed it with family arts events.  Here are some that have caught our eye, including fun for little legs, teenagers and you grown ups too.

Krik Krak Festival: Family Fun
Thu 3 Aug
11:00 – 15:00
Free (donations welcome)
Explore Haitian culture through arts, crafts, music, dancing, story telling and much more. This one sounds like an amazing experience for curious little art lovers.

We Are Family
18 – 28 Aug
Various times
Free (donations welcome)
Experiment with giant props, miniature sets and green screens to create experimental films. Led by artist Karanjit Panesar, these drop-in sessions are free and there are also early openings on 23 & 25 Aug for families who prefer to visit at quiet times (booking required).

BEDMINSTER (& beyond!)
29 – 31 July
Various times
Free (some paid workshops)
The jewel in Bristol’s festival crown, this year is set to be bigger and better than ever with the addition of Ashton Gate Stadium as a venue. 300 of the world’s best street artists, music and some wonderful kid’s workshops. Find out more about what’s on offer for families in our interview with founder, Steve Hayles.

Drag Queen Storytime
Mon 31 July
11:00 – 12:00
Exactly what it sounds like – head to the new library on Gloucester Road for a fabulous story time! For more details ring 0117 3576220.

Giant’s Fairy Door Trail
Wed 26 July
11:00 – 15:00
Pay What You Think
Pretend to be a giant on this trail to find hidden messages and join in with some craft fun in the gardens. There are also more events throughout the summer and Goram Fair on 9 Sept.

Make Your Own Hot Air Balloon
4 – 5 Aug
11:00- 15:00
Get ready for the Balloon Fiesta in style by making your very own hot air balloon with Let’s Make Art. You can then stage your own Night Glow if the weather scuppers other plans!

National Stitch Day 2017
Sat 5 Aug
Various times
Free (donations welcome)
Make your own stitched bird with the help of Bristol Embroiderers’ Guild and bring it to life with ribbons and beads. There are also more events throughout the summer.

Jungle Book
27 – 29 July
Various times
Tickets from £10
Kipling’s classic tale gets an urban make over in this exciting production. Street dance and circus are used to tell the story of Mowgli and her companions.

Summer Workshops
Various dates
Various times
Tickets from £5
Everyone’s favourite house of junk have taken inspiration from around the world to create a plethora of inventive workshops this summer.

Play Me, I’m Yours
17 Aug – 7 Sept
24 hours
The city will be filled with the sound of tinkling ivories as Luke Jerram’s Street Pianos return to Bristol at long last. Decorated by local artists, they’ll be popping up all over the city providing the perfect opportunity for your nippers to have a go on the old Joanna! There’s also the chance to see some of the pianos being painted live in the Bear Pit and the Galleries 22-23 July and again at the Galleries the following weekend.

Bristol Play Day
Wed 2 Aug
12:00 – 16:00
This outdoor community event will have different zones to explore including sensory, den building and sports. Organised by Bristol Council, Scrapstore and others, it’s bound to be a wonderful afternoon with lots of opportunity to make new friends as you play!

Hoo-Ha! 2017
15 – 17 Aug
Various times
Various prices with lots of free events
Popular children’s festival Hoo-Ha! is back for a third year and they’ve pulled out all the stops. Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, Moomins, DJ Cheeba and Andy Day make up the ticketed events line-up, while in the foyer there’ll be kid’s discos, story telling, art workshops, planetarium fun and much more to enjoy for free!

Arty Fun Day
Sat 26 Aug
11:00 – 14:00
Head over to Withywood for a day of free arts activities inspired by famous artists and live music from local musicians. There are lots of other creative activities here over the holidays, make sure you check them out!

Music Club Taster Day
Sat 29 July
9:00 – 11:00
Tickets £26
If you have a little music lover on your hands but they don’t which instrument they’d like to learn, this taster session will allow them to have a go at violin, guitar, drums and piano. Perfect way to try them all out before committing to regular lessons!

These Two Hands Craft Workshops
Weekday afternoons throughout the Summer
15:00 – 16:30
Tickets £8
Pop art leaf printing, tote bag designing and printing, CD art and notebook making are all on offer in these regular sessions. Price includes all materials, squash and biscuits. Parents welcome to join in too.

Storybox 2017
15 July – 13 Aug
Various times
The Cabot Circus store will play host to a number of story telling sessions and workshops as part of this celebration of children’s and YA literature. Beasts, pirates, space dogs and much more for kids and young adults alike.

Family Fun Raiser
Sat 22 July
14:00 – late
Tickets £3
More fun that you can shake a stick at and all in aid of the wonderful Aid Box Community. Featuring DJ Cheeba’s Lo Fi Funky Space Quest, games, stalls and much more.

Bristol Harbour Festival
21-23 July
Various times
Free (ish)
Weekend celebrating Bristol’s diverse culture. With music from Roots Manuva (sold out), circus from Cirque Bijou and… boats!

Morph: Still Naughty at 40!
Until 5 Sept
Various times
Free (donations welcome)
This exhibition celebrating the little guy’s birthday is a must visit for the summer holidays. Make your own Morph, create some animations, mess about with a green screen and watch some classic episodes. Fun for everyone and all in aid of The Grand Appeal.

Written in Bone: Creative Writing Workshop
2 Aug
10:30 – 15:00
Tickets £20
This creative workshop is aimed at 14 – 17 year olds and will give them the opportunity to explore poetry, flash fiction and twitter blogs using the stories of 12 human skeletons as inspiration. A unique experience for young writers. There is also a one-day stage school for would be thesps on 16 Aug.

Summertime Family Festival
21 – 26 Aug
Various times
Various prices including some free events
Space adventures, science experiments, craft mornings and more to get involved with at Old Market Assembly. Check out DJ Cheeba’s Lo-Fi Funky Space Quest, create bubbling experiments and yummy sweets with Sublime Science or take part in one of the craft sessions. Check out the website for prices and booking.

Bubble Art Workshop
Wed 2 Aug
10:30 – 12:30
Free with exhibition entry
Artist Jemma Grundon will be running this workshop where you’ll be helping to create a large scale artwork and bubbles are the medium of choice!

Scribble & Sketch
5 & 19 Aug
10:30 – 12:30
You’ll do as much as creating as your nippers in these lovely sessions where a variety of informal art and drawing activities are there for you all to experiment with.

I Am Making Art: Cyanotype Silhouette Hangings
Sat 5 Aug
14:00 – 18:00
Free (donations welcome)
Learn about the magical world of cyanotypes with artist Charlotte Biszewski and create beautiful blue silhouettes with objects of your choice. There is also a walking and drawing tour of the area around Spike Island on 22 July. Booking is advised for both.

Victorian Summer Circus
22 July – 3 Sept
Various times
Normal admission / Free
Cirque Bijou will be bringing some circus flair to the SS Great Britain this summer, drawing inspiration from the ceremonies sailors performed when crossing the equator for the first time. This wonderful performance is part of your admission ticket but there’s also free circus workshops outside in Brunel Sq that are free to everyone (no admission needed).

Redfest 2017
4 – 6 Aug
Various times
Redfest has changed format this year and will now take place in 16 venues around Church Road. Look forward to DJs, live music, cabaret, family activities, film screenings and a dose of Alfresco Disco.

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out
Sat 29 July
11:00 & 15:00
Tickets from £6
Join the wonderful Polarbear for an interactive story telling performance where kids are encouraged to shout out ideas from their wildest imaginations! Suitable for ages 8+.

Summer Music Sessions
23 – 24 Aug
11:00 – 16:00
Free but need to book
Free performances, workshops and talks from industry professionals covering Grime Production, Song & Rap Lyric Writing, Drum & Vocal Tuition, Junk Percussion and more. Excellent opportunity for young people interested in knowing more about the music industry.

King Kong Workshop
Sat 29 July
10:30 -11:30
Make your own King Kong mask in the Watershed Cafe. Drop in session and if you want to make a day of it you can buy tickets for the screening of the original 1923 King Kong film at 11:30.

Insect Vinyl Making Workshop
18 Aug
10:00 – 12:00
Inspired by a season of films celebrating creepy crawlies, Let’s Make Art will be creating beautiful, colourful mini beasts with your nippers.

Kid Carpet & the Noisy Animals present… Noisy Holiday
29 Aug – 3 Sept
Various times
Tickets £8 (under 3s go free)
The Bristol legend returns with his noisy pals and this time they’re going on holiday. But will they have a nice relaxing time or will it all get a bit noisy? Expect big beat songs, animation, puppetry and wonderful mayhem from Kid Carpet and his crew.

And finally some fun things happening outside Bristol…

Brutalist Playground
Until 9 Sept
Tue – Sat 10:00 – 16:00
If you haven’t made it over to this wonderful exhibition yet, it’s definitely worth a trip out of town. Leave all memories of soft play behind as you fall in love with the lines and imagery while the kids go wild in the squishy tunnels and platforms. Parking, for us at least, was indeed brutal but we hear it’s not always bad and it was absolutely worth it!

Summer Storytelling in the Radić Pavilion
Every Friday until 25 Aug
Free, drop-in sessions
Escape to the countryside for these weekly storytelling sessions in the spaceship (as our little legs call it). Perfect opportunity to explore this beautiful art gallery and gardens while keeping the little ones happy. You can also enjoy afternoon music as part of their Summer Sunday sessions. And we can highly recommend nearby pub The Three Horses in Batcombe which has a lovely garden, buckets of chalks for drawing all over said garden and a nearby playground.

Walala X Play
Until 24 Sept
Various times
If you’re heading to the big smoke over the summer then you need to make time for this wonderful exhibition. Design hero Camille Walala has created an interactive installation and immersive maze full of patterns and colour. It is utterly brilliant and one of those rare art experiences that the kids will love as much as you.

Here Be Dragons
22 July – 8 Oct
Various times
Tickets £4 (under 16s free)
Expect dragons of all shapes and sizes and artwork from Axel Scheffler, Quentin Blake, Cressida Cowell and many more. There are also a whole host of dragon themed events throughout the summer including mask making, printing, puppetry and giant lego building.

Apologies if it goes a bit quiet on the blog while we enjoy the summer. We hope you all have a wonderful time enjoying yours!

💥 BAM 💥

As always, please check details with organisers before attending. This is a guide and none of the events are affiliated with BAM. If you think we’ve missed something fabulous, drop us a line.

BAM meets Upfest

Sometimes it feels like Bristol welcomes another festival every weekend over the summer. Recently we’ve seen nature, music and BBQ all celebrated in true Bristol style.

But in a few week’s time Bristol’s unique art scene will be in the spotlight at Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival. For one weekend, Bedminster will play host to 300 of the world’s best street artists and many of the resulting artworks will stay with us for the whole year.

Upfest 2017 is set to be bigger and better than ever as the festival expands to Ashton Court Stadium, where you’ll be able to watch as 50 artists and their paints are set loose over 200m of wall. Families will definitely want to check it out as it’s also where many of the children’s workshops will be taking place.

We caught up with Steve Hayles, founder of the festival, to find out more about what families can expect this year.

Only a few weeks to go before the return of Upfest! What’s the biggest challenge you face in the final run up to the event?
Well the planning has been taking place for eight months now and our production schedule has 280 items to complete in the next three weeks. So, I guess the biggest challenge is keeping on track to deliver an amazing event for both the artists that come from across the globe under their own steam as well as the thousands of visitors. 

Some people might think of Upfest as an adult event, but you guys make a real effort to make families feel welcome too. Why do you think it’s important to get kids involved? 
Not only do kids enhance the vibe of the festival, our festival ethos has always been about inclusion. Unlike some other art forms, street art has a magic way of engaging audiences of all ages. Since the festival started we’ve helped raise funds and awareness for NACOA (National Association for Children of Alcoholics), so it’s always been a priority to make an inclusive event for kids as well as die-hard street art fans. 

What can families attending Upfest look forward to this year?
We have some great workshops for kids this year. To celebrate Morph’s 40th birthday, Aardman Animations will be running model making workshops. The Nacoa Kids Zone will definitely be worth checking out with badge making, giant painting, biscuit decorating and much more. Let’s Make Art will be bringing amazing laser cut guitars that kids can customise with glitter, pens and stickers and the Royal Society of Chemistry will be running some paint experiments. Posca Pens will also be returning to encourage little street artists to get involved and there’ll be lots more as well.

You can see a full list of workshops here.

What’s the best thing about running the festival?
The day after the festival finishes and looking back on what’s been created. The build up is a series of small and big tasks so it’s not until after the festival that you properly get an overview of how everything has come together. Personally I’m always humbled by the number of volunteers that come together to pull off such a huge event and the artists who travel from around the world to our festival in Bemmie… 

Who is your personal art throb?
Dip-low Matic 😉 

Ha ha, fair enough! What is your favourite piece of public art in Bristol?
That’s another unfair question, our city is a tapestry of colour changing everyday but, if I have to choose, the artwork by PichiAvo which has adorned the wall of the Masonic pub, North Street for the the past 12 months is absolutely outstanding.

Upfest is taking place 29-31 July and you can download your festival map now. A highlight in the Bristol calendar, it’s always a true celebration of what makes Bristol unique. We’ll see you down there!

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Bristol Father’s Day Fun

Well, obviously none of us had forgotten that it’s Father’s Day this weekend (ahem) so it will come as no surprise that there’s loads of great events going on. Here’s some that caught our eye…

Sock Puppet Workshop
Sat 17 June
13:00 – 16:00
Tickets £3.50
What dad doesn’t dream of waking up to a hand made sock puppet on Father’s Day? Join the dreamy Let’s Make Art down at the Harbourside for this afternoon workshop and take your friendly fella home with you afterwards.

Ball Mania
16 – 18 June
Various times
Tickets £8.25
If you’ve ever watched your kids have all the fun in the ball pit or sneaked in but spent the whole time terrified about squashing a toddler, look this way. Perhaps not the best name but ditch the kids for half an hour and go wild in the adults-only ball pit!

Open Studios 2017
16 – 18 June
Various times
There is a mind-boggling array of talent at Jamaica Street, making their Open Studios one of the highlights of the Bristol calendar. Explore the studios of 30 artists working in paint, print, film, illustration, photography, textiles and much more. Not to be missed!

Festival of Nature
Sun 18 June
11:00 – 17:00
After hitting up the Harbourside last weekend, The Festival of Nature heads to Keynsham where you can expect guided nature walks, a bio-blitz to find as many species as possible, a campervan cinema and live street theatre from Desperate Men.

Songhoy Blues Live
Sat 17 June
Early evening gig from the phenomenal Malian band as they release their new album ‘Resistance’. Brilliant way to introduce young uns to live music and a chance to stock up on your vinyl at the same time. Live gigs at Rise feature in our guide to free artsy activities in Bristol.

Retroville Street Market
Sun 18 June
10:00 – 14:30
Have a gander at the goodies on offer at the market than never fails to delight. Vintage & retro clothing, furniture and records as well as art, craft and delicious food.

Big Fish Little Fish
Sun 18 June
13:30 – 16:30
Tickets £7.50
Indulge in a bit of dad dancing and get back to your Drum & Bass roots at this Father’s Day family rave. Expect a multi sensory dance floor and craft table among other activities.

Father’s Day Classics
17 – 18 June
10:00 – 16:00 each day
Free with admission
Get stuck into some classic car spotting at Tyntesfield this weekend. Can’t think of a better way to hang out with your dad! There’s also spoon carving on offer if you go down there on Sunday.

Big high fives to all the dads, step-dads, grand-dads and single-mums! Hope you all have a great weekend!

💥 BAM 💥

As always, please check times and availability before setting out. The events in this guide are in no way affiliated with BAM. If you think we’ve missed anything then let us know!

BAM meets The Time Seekers

If any of you joined Alph, Betty and Gammo on their previous adventure through space, you’ll know that it was a wonderfully silly and lots of fun. You may have decided which planet to visit and helped find one of the glowing plasma orbs needed to fix the Bristol Space Station.

Next week, the gang are setting off on a new journey through time and they need adventurers like you to join them! We caught up with the three explorers to ask them some very important questions…

Hi Alph, Betty & Gammo! What have you been up to since we journeyed through space?
Hi there! Since our space adventure we’ve been learning all about TIME as we are busy working at Bristol Time Station. Our boss, Professor Professor, has just finished her latest invention… a time machine! It allows people to travel forwards and backwards through time! We are also planning for Gammo’s birthday which is tomorrow, he’s having a party and you’re all invited!

Yes! We love a party! Where are you going next and will you need any helpers?
We’ve just found out that the clock which keeps time moving forwards has broken and that the clock pieces have been scattered through time. They could be anywhere – in the past, present or future! We’re going to need the help of lots of brave Time Seekers to help us find where the clock pieces might be, otherwise time will stop and Gammo’s birthday will never happen! We can’t wait for the time adventure – maybe we’ll meet a dinosaur, visit Ancient Egypt or even hear what music sounds like in the future!

Sounds great! Will you be taking any snacks with you?
Alph loooooves food and always packs a big bag of snacks to take with him. He especially likes sandwiches!

Us too. Bristol Arts Monster would like to know who your art throbs are?
Lara Hawthorne, Harriet Lee-Merion, Laurie Stansfield, Hannah Broadway, Pirrip Press, and Lina Lofstrand – all wonderful women making beautiful artwork in Bristol!

They all sound ace! What are your favourite pieces of public art in Bristol?
Alph likes the big bear sculpture in the bear pit at the bottom of Stokes Croft – we hope we don’t bump into any of those on our adventures! Betty likes the big colourful rings outside the Children’s Hospital because they she wants to launch her space rocket through them! Gammo likes the bunnies outside The Little Shop, drawn by Alex Lucas

Thanks guys! Can’t wait to see you at Wardrobe Theatre!

The Time Seekers is at Wardrobe Theatre 29th May – 4th June with several shows per day. Tickets are £8 and under 3s are free. For more information on the show visit The Wardrobe Theatre website.

If The Star Seekers is anything to go by, it will be a show that you and your little legs will remember for a long time!

For more excellent half term ideas, check out the BAM Summer Half Term Round Up.

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Summer Half Term Round Up 2017

Another half term, another bewildering array of events on offer for Bristol families who want to get stuck into the arts. We are so lucky! Here are the ones that have caught our eye…

Second Look’s Photomarathon 2017
Sat 3 June
10:00 – 17:00 (cameras must be collected by 13:00)
Tickets from £12 per group
We love a photomarathon! Each group will be given a disposable camera and a list of topics which must be taken in the order they’re provided. A really fun way to get creative with your family and an excellent opportunity to make the most of your kids’ imaginations! Pick up the cameras from the Touch exhibition where you are encouraged to touch, interact and make.

Stomping Story: Pirates Love Underpants
Wed 31 May
11:00 – 11:45
Tickets £5 (only children pay)
Hop aboard the Black Bloomer for a walk sail in search of the glittering pants of gold! This story goes down a storm in the BAM household so we’re sure your little legs will enjoy this stomping story too.

Free Outdoor Screening: The Jungle Book (1967)
Thu 1 June
12:00 – 13:30
Grab a picnic and enjoy this screening of the original Disney animation The Jungle Book in Millennium Square. Expecting a full on sing-a-long!

Half Term at The Hub
Tues 30 May & Thu 1 June
13:00 – 15:00
Tickets £3.50
Let’s Make Art are coming to your rescue this half term! They’re going to be entertaining your littles for two hours, giving you the chance to settle down with a book, your work, your laptop… whatever! Your kids will enjoy some popcorn and film and then they’ll be exploring robot themed printmaking, collage and sculpture.

Treasure Island Story Walk
27 May – 4 June
14:00 & 16:00 daily
Tickets from £5 (suitable for ages 8+)
Join Show of Strength Theatre for a tour of the harbour that will take in secret spy holes and the dirty deeds of Bristol’s most notorious buccaneers. Oh, and expect some top quality pirate gags along the way!

Easton Arts Trail
3 – 4 June
11:00 – 18:00
Head to BS5 and enjoy snooping around houses admiring the work of local artists! There’ll be a range of art and food events and the artists showing represent a huge range of mediums. Definitely worth a trundle round the neighbourhood.

Holiday Stay & Play
30 May – 3 June
Various times
Drop In / Tickets from £5
Everyone’s favourite junk haus is the place to be this half term! As well as their regular Under 5s Messy Play and Super Saturday sessions, there are one off workshops with different themes including print making, tunnels and mazes and space robots. Something for everyone!

Half Term Workshops
27 May – 4 June
Various times
FREE – £6 depending on event
A lovely range of workshops on offer including Improvisation, Mask Making and Film in a Day, as well as a theatre performance of award winning Alf and the Highway Man. The prices range from free or donations to just £6 so really good value too. An excellent opportunity to check out this new creative space!

Let’s Make Art: B O X HE A D S
27 – 28 May
Tickets from £49.50
If you’re heading to Eastville Park with your little legs to see the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Little Dragon, Shy FX, Kate Tempest and Sherwood & Pinch, you’ll be pleased to hear that Let’s Make Art will be there to keep them entertained with their amazing Boxhead workshop. Without a shadow of doubt, one of the highlights of our 2016, you’d be a fool to not have a go!

Holiday Family Fun
Tues 30 May
11:00 – 15:00
Pay What You Think
Explore the collections and exhibitions through hands on activities led by Children’s Scrapstore. Also at Blaise Castle Museum on Weds 31 May.

Seussical: The Musical
31 May – 3 June
Tickets £13.50
Join the Cat in the Hat for a musical extravaganza that will take in all your Dr Seuss favourites. Full of colourful characters and enchanted lands, this sounds like a hoot! Despite the later performance time, this is a family show.

Pop Art Workshop
Wed 31 May
10:30 – 12:30
FREE with entry to exhibition
Join Let’s Make Art for a pop art extavanganza where you’ll be drawing on acetate over collage. Drop in session so no need to book.

Summer Fair 2017
Sat 3 June
12:00 – 19:30
An absolute highlight of the Bristol calendar, there’ll be a live music, food and craft stalls, workshops and much more. Best of all, you’re supporting the farm in all the great work they do throughout the year.

Much Ado About Puffin
30 – 31 May
11:00 & 14:00 daily
Tickets £9
This non-verbal family show from Open Attic will use puppetry and music to tell a funny tale of a man alone and a puffin. This show has received great reviews around the country and will teach littles about new friendships and stepping out into the unknown!

Family Woodworking 2017
Sun 28 May
Various times
Led by the Somerset Bodgers, you’ll use traditional hand tools and wood from the Tyntesfield Estate to create your very own pencil, whistle or small animal.

The Time Seekers
29 May – 4 June
Various times
Tickets £8 (under 3s FREE)
If you saw The Star Seekers, you’ll no doubt already be pretty excited about the next adventures of Alph, Betty & Gamma.  If not, buckle up and get ready to travel through time and find out what a Diplodocus’s favourite bedtime story is. And don’t forget to read our interview with the three explorers here.

Family Craft Workshop
Fri 2 June
10:00 – 12:00
A morning of swashbuckling fun awaits any little pirates wanting to make pirate badges, costumes and maps. You’ll be guided by local artists and you can stay for the 13:00 screening of Aardman’s Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (a firm BAM family favourite!) afterwards if you wish.

Have a great time everyone!

💥 BAM 💥

This round up is purely intended as a guide and none of the events are affiliated with BAM. If you think we’re missing something amazing, please feel free to email us.

#BAMArtChat Tweet Chat Guide


BAM Family Art Chat (#BAMArtChat)

Join us for our first tweet chat all about getting creative with your family!

We’ll be joined by @letsmakeartkids who will be there to answer any creative dilemmas you might have and everyone’s welcome! It’s not all about Bristol so if you’re from out of town, please do join in. You might have some brilliant ideas to share with us!

How will it work?
Firstly, you will need to search for #BAMArtChat in Twitter. This will bring up the chat stream. You may want to change it so it’s ordered Latest rather than Top, that way you’ll see what everyone is saying.

The chat will take place on Tuesday 9th May from 20:30-21:30. We will tweet out five questions over the course of the chat. Each question will be numbered Q1, Q2, Q3 etc. To answer simply begin your tweet with the relevant number: A1, A2, A3 etc.

So, for example…
Q1 Who is your absolute art throb? #BAMArtChat
A1 Picasso, can’t wait for the @tate Modern exhibition next year #BAMArtChat

To join the conversation simply use the hashtag #BAMArtChat and your tweets will show in the stream. You’ll be able to see everyone else’s comments there too.

Top Tips
Share your tips, problems, success stories, photos… whatever! We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Remember to use the hashtag #BAMArtChat in every tweet so we don’t miss it. It might be handy to copy and paste it so you don’t have to type it out each time.

And don’t just chat with us, chat with each other. We’re all about sharing tips and stories so we can inspire each other to be more creative with our kids.

What we’ll be chatting about
We’ll be talking about the different ways we can be creative with our kids and the hurdles we sometimes face, great family arts experiences, the importance of taking our children to museums, galleries, theatres etc and much more.

Really looking forward to chatting with you at the first #BAMArtChat!

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Family Festival Guide 2017

Pre-kids, music festivals were hands down the highlight of our year. From getting GCSE results at Reading Festival, to badge making stalls at Secret Garden Party, not a summer has gone by where we haven’t bust out the tent and sparkles and braved the mud / dust / torrential rain / blazing sunshine.

Nowadays it can seem like a daunting prospect but that urge to stomp around a field hasn’t left us so we’ve put together a little guide to festivals within easy reach of Bristol. Limited to a 1.5 hour drive from town, these are all family friendly festivals that are close enough to Bristol so that, if the weather’s shocking, pegging it home and returning the next day are always an option.

If you haven’t been to a festival with kids before, take a look at This is Ladyland’s fantastic guide to packing for a festival with kids.

So, in date order…

19-20 May 2017
Featuring: Molotov Jukebox, DJ Cheeba, Circe’s Diner
Blackborough, Devon
1 hour 30 mins from Bristol
This ‘little festival with a big heart’ showcases local talent alongside national acts and promises lots for the kids including a forest school, story telling, graffiti workshops and craft workshops. Arrive Friday lunch and head off after breakfast on Sunday – the perfect length for anyone with younger nippers. Adults £30, Kids £10, under 2s FREE (tent pitch £30)

25 – 28 May 2017
Featuring: Skunk Anansie, Seasick Steve & Madness
Catton Hall, South Derbyshire
2 hours from Bristol
Yes, this one is just outside our 1.5 hour zone but as Winner of Best Family Festival at UK Festival Awards 2016, we had to include it! As well as an actual school so the kids aren’t bunking off, there’s a village green area with puppet shows, ukulele jams, family yoga, sing-a-longs, DJ workshops, art workshops, a craft tent and a baby area. This year’s theme is also one of the best we’ve come across… Mobsters & Lobsters! Worth that extra little schlep! Adults £110, Teens £60, Kids £25, under 7s FREE

2 – 4 June 2017
Featuring: Buzzcocks, Levellers, Billy Bragg
Cheltenham Racecourse
50 mins from Bristol
As well as entertainment such as magic, puppets, there are a dazzling array of workshops on offer including screen printing, junk percussion, knitting, willow, craft and experimental music! Adult £165, Teen £70, Kid £27.50, under 5s FREE

29 June – 2 July 2017
Featuring: Tom Odell, James Vincent McMorrow
Over, Gloucester
40 mins from Bristol
This small festival is located on a farm so children can get up close to all the animals including ostriches. The music is the main event here but there are also lots of food and craft stalls. Adult £110, under 10s FREE

27 – 30 July 2017
Featuring: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Benjamin Zephaniah & The Revolutionary Minds, Goat
Charlton Park, Wiltshire
45 mins from Bristol
Circus area, puppet making, story telling, a musical playground, climbing wall and other adventure activities are just some of the family friendly WOMAD offerings. Adults £175, Teens, £85, under 14s FREE

28-29 July 2017
Featuring: Roots Manuva, DJ Yoda, Melt Yourself Down, Nightmares on Wax
Gilcombe Farm, Bruton, Somerset
1 hour 5 mins from Bristol
Farmfest is a lovely small festival that packs a lot in! Located in beautiful Bruton there are some top acts playing as well as lots for the littles including kung fu classes, hat making, botanical print workshop, graffiti workshop with Graft, kid’s yoga, magic show, craft sessions, story telling, dance classes and more. Another Friday lunchtime – Sunday morning affair, this is a great shout for Bristol families. Adult £85, Teen £63, under 13s FREE

2 – 6 August 2017
Barton Hill Farm, Monnow Valley
1 hour 20 mins from Bristol
This one is a bit different! Forest school, den buidling, art workshops, adult fitness fun, animal orienteering, family raves, fancy dress discos, live music from Boudica Boogaloo, a talent show, woodland playground and, best of all, our pals Let’s Make Art will be doing art workshops. Starry Skies aims to give a family holiday experience that doesn’t leave the parents needing another holiday to recover! Adults £130, Kids £40, under 5s FREE.

3 – 6 August 2017
Featuring: Grace Jones, Bonobo, Toots & the Metals
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
1 hour 20 mins from Bristol
Part music festival, part food fair, Wilderness is the definition of boutique family festival! Cricket matches, story telling, theatre, craft sessions, floristry workshops, yoga, cartooning and our personal highlight ‘Pimp Your Pineapple’! There’s even a nannying service so you can go off and enjoy the festival and pretend you’re in your 20s and child free for a few hours! Adults £180, Teens £120, Junior £40, Child £7

Valleyfest is idyllic. Not only is it completely beautiful up there, the festival is arranged in such a way that you feel as if it’s enclosing you and your family in a huge circle of fun and togetherness. Considering it’s a bus ride from Bristol, it’d be a great shame to miss out! – The Bristol Parent

4-6 August 2017
Featuring: This Is The Kit, Smerins Anti-Social Club
Chew Valley Lake
31 mins from Bristol
Just a hop away from Bristol, Valley Fest is somewhere the kids can run wild. No firm details at the moment but there is lots promised. And with a glowing recommendation from none other that The Bristol Parent, it must be good! Adult £110, Teen £40, Kids £20, under 5s FREE

17-20 August 2017
Featuring: PJ Harvey, Roni Size, Future Islands, Kate Tempest
Brecon Beacons, Wales
1 hour 10 mins from Bristol
One of the bigger ones on the list but so much for families to look forward to. Again, family line up is still to be confirmed but the kids area caters for little adventurers as well as older kids and there’ll be a cosmic parade! Adult £180, Kids £20, under 5s FREE

31 August – 3 September 2017
Featuring: Father John Misty, Romare, Mac DeMarco
Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
1 hour 30 mins from Bristol
Again, information on kids activities not yet announced but previous years have included painting, drawing and animation classes alongside circus tricks, songwriting sessions, yoga and origami. Adult £189, Teen £145, Kids £70, Toddler £40, under 2s FREE

Happy festival season!

💥 BAM 💥

This guide is intended purely as recommendations and the events aren’t affiliated with us. If you think there are others we should include, please get in touch!

BAM meets Jane Porter of Bring Your Baby

When was the last time you went to an exhibition with little legs in tow and felt like you really got it? These days it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to peruse all the blurbs and insights at your leisure so it’s easy to feel like you’ve missed out a bit.

Enter Jane Porter and Bring Your Baby – relaxed, friendly tours of Bristol’s best exhibitions. Taking inspiration from the success of baby friendly tours at other museums such as the British Museum, Whitechapel and the Whitney in New York, Jane approached Bristol galleries with an idea to start something similar. A few tried it but had little success so, a year later, Jane decided to offer to lead the tours herself.

With her background in arts and connections with other parents, her tours quickly gained in popularity and now regularly sell out. The effort she puts in to researching the exhibitions and artists is very evident and her talks are peppered with interesting facts and insights, as well as her own thoughts on the artwork.  We decided to learn a little bit more about what the tours mean to her.

Why did you start Bring Your Baby?
So many reasons! 

I found it really hard to go to art events when I had my first baby. After working as a production manager for artist films, I was used to seeing people at openings and events. Yes, you can go during the day with your baby, but it’s nice to see people too. When I went back to work I felt really out the loop. 

I had a friend who did baby tours at the British Museum and I knew that I would have loved to have that when I was on maternity leave and it would have helped me feel more in touch. So I met with her, Whitechapel and emailed the Whitney in New York because they do them too. I picked up some tips and approached some galleries in Bristol, suggesting they add this to their programme. 

When you meet people through having kids, sometimes that is all you have in common, which can be hard. A big part of BYB is that you might meet people with similar interests, or at least spark a conversation about something new. 

How important do you think it is to get parents into museums and galleries?
It’s integral to my reasons for starting BYB. 

When I started back at work after my first baby a friend told me about a project by two artists Kim Dhillon and Andrea Francke. They had published a book – The Invisible Spaces of Parenthood. It was amazing! It was about all sorts of aspects of feminism, being an artist and having kids and how childcare could be set up and types of creative play. But one thing that stood out for me was in one of the essays where it talked about visibility of parents in art schools and galleries. It talked about the importance of the presence of parents in these places so that other people / artists would see them and think ‘if I have kids that is what I can do.’ Rather than ‘if I have kids I don’t see myself coming here.’ This allows artists to imagine becoming parents and not seeing the two choices as either or.

I found that super inspiring. This is the reason I always do the talks when the gallery is open, if possible. Some places do it before the public comes in, but I prefer the group to be visible. 

What’s the best thing about running them?
For me personally the best thing is that I get to spend time researching artists and their work. It’s been such a long time since I could give an exhibition this amount of attention and it’s reminding me of how I felt about art to begin with. 

But my favourite thing overall is how the audience responds. I get so many thank yous and kind comments about how glad people are that it’s happening. People seem genuinely grateful and happy to be at something that is for them, not just their baby. 

Who is your personal art throb? 
I’ve had a few. I loved Simon Starling when I was at college. But that was a while back.

What’s your favourite piece of public art in Bristol?
Obviously the Whitchurch and Hengrove Community Orchard! It’s planted in the shape of a Cathedral on Whitchurch Green. I produce the engagement programme for it so naturally I think it’s brilliant! 

When chatting with Jane, one of the aspects that really stuck with me was the idea of visibility that she mentions and the importance of taking our children into these environments so that others see us and think, ‘When I have kids, I’ll bring them to exhibitions too’. If we help to break down that idea of museums being an adult-only environment where children are unwelcome, we’ll be on our way to bringing up a generation of little art lovers.

After all, in the words of Bob & Roberta Smith…

©️Bob & Roberta Smith

Bring Your Baby is at the Arnolfini’s Basim Magdy exhibition on Tuesday 6th June and the Whitchurch and Hengrove Community Orchard on Saturday 13th May, where everyone is invited to bring a picnic and learn more about the Orchard Arts Projects. A wonderful way to take in some art and meet like minded parents!

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Bank Holiday highlights

There’s so much going on this weekend, we thought we’d put together a really quick little guide for you. As always, by no means exhaustive but here are some family arts events that have caught our eye, including some out of town day trips!

We Are Family
Saturday 29 April
13:00 – 16:00
FREE (Donations welcome)
Experiment with film in this workshop inspired by the current Basim Magdy exhibition (also, well worth a look with kids) and see your creations projected onto the wall.  Aimed at 5+ but younger children welcome. We are really looking forward to this!

BEDMINSTER (various venues)
Breakfast in Bedminster
Saturday 29 April
08:00 – 12:00
Roll over to Bedminster in your PJs and take part in this celebration of the most important meal of the day! With special menus from around 20 different cultures and special screenings of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Breakfast Club, this is the perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday morning.

Vintage & Decorative Antiques Market
Sunday 30 April
08:30 – 16:00
A little further afield but there’s something special about nosing around a big vintage market and gawping at the weird and wonderful objects. We like to take photos and use them to make collages at home.

Djordje Ozbolt and Elisabeth Frink exhibitions
Open Daily
10:00 – 17:00
FREE (Donations welcome)
We love Bristol but sometimes you just need to escape the city! And there’s nowhere better to escape than this beautiful gallery in Bruton, only an hours drive from the city centre. You could even learn more about Frink’s work by listening to this podcast on your drive over there! And if you go on before Sunday you can also catch the Gavin Turk exhibition at the nearby Bruton Art Factory.

Spike Island Open 2017
28 April – 1 May
Various times
One of the highlights of the Bristol arts calendar, this is your chance to go behind the scenes and see how printmakers, writers, designers, animators and photographers work. There’s also performances, talks, installations and film screenings. Oh, and some of Bristol’s best street food traders will be joining the Spike Island Cafe to keep you fed and watered! Not to be missed.

World Pinhole Day camera workshops
Sunday 30 April
Various times
Tickets from £5 per group
We could get very evangelical about the wonders of pinhole photography but we’ll spare you and, instead, just strongly urge you take part in one of these great workshops. Take your own pinhole selfie and learn more about the process. A lovely way to introduce your kids to analogue photography.

Graffiti Nation
28 April – 12 May
Check times
If July and the return of the mighty Upfest seem a long way off, scratch that street art itch at this exhibition featuring some of the finest including Inkie, Cheo, Voyder, 45RPM and Sepr. (And if you’re a fan of street art, make sure you follow us on Instagram where we often feature some of our favourites!)

Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show for Kids
Sunday 30 April
Tickets from £5
Magical silliness comes to town and promises to entertain kids and childish grown-ups alike. After selling out London’s Southbank, this one sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday!

As always, please check time and event details with the venue before setting out – we, like you, are sleep deprived parents and not above making mistakes! And do let us know if you think we’ve missed anything out.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

💥 BAM 💥