Celebrate home of graffiti
E urope's largest free urban paint festival, Upfest, is set to take over Bristol for the fourth year running this weekend, welcoming more than 250 artists and DJs to its cultural home.
Upfest was originally conceived by a group of 20 like- minded artists who arranged to get together for a day of painting here in Bristol. However, the first gathering quickly grew in numbers and the festival is now firmly established as the main event for graffiti in Europe.
The two-day explosion of events, which include exhibitions, DJ sets, human beatboxers, live painting and some very special collaborations, attracts urban artists from all over the world who flock to The Tobacco Factory, the festival's birthplace, as well as a number of south-of-the-river locations.
New home-grown talents Cheo, Jody and Lokey will take their place alongside big names in graffiti culture, including Don, Spqr, and acclaimed artist Inkie.
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Inkie has been a dominant force on the urban art scene for over 20 years. Originally from Bristol and now residing in London, Inkie has painted alongside 3D and Banksy.
He came second in the 1989 World Street Art Championships and was famously arrested as the head of 72 other writers in the UK's largest ever Graffiti bust, Operation Anderson. He has since moved on to design for SEGA, Xbox and is currently an in-house designer for Jade Jagger.
Upfest partner Stephen Hayles explains why the festival has become such an integral part of the urban art scene.
"Bristol is established as the home of graffiti in the UK; the whole country and now even the world has attributed this to the city," he says.
"We are proud to be a part of this movement and will continue to provide a platform for brand new artists to break on to the UK urban art scene.
"The fact that it's free just makes it all even more exciting."
The festival helps raise funds and, more importantly, awareness for the Bristol- based charity NACOA, which works to address the problems children have growing up in families where one or both parents suffer from alcoholism.
Upfest is a completely volunteer-led festival and has so far raised £15,000 for NACOA.
Venues participating this weekend include the Tobacco Factory, View Art Gallery, Upfest Gallery, Vector Seating Car Park, The Spotted Cow and The Hen & Chicken.
Upfest takes place on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. For more information, visit www.upfest.co.uk