Festival of culture
Summer is a magical time of year to visit the beautiful South West and, this year, Bridport launches The Festival of Culture – a dazzling two week extravaganza showcasing everything that’s brilliant about Bridport. A dynamic town renowned for its thriving arts and cultural scene, stunning scenery, wonderfully fresh local food and unique community of artists, musicians, traders and townspeople, the Spirit of Bridport Festival of Culture is a celebration of all this and more. There’ll be something for everyone - a veritable smorgasbord of visual arts, music, film, food, theatre, fringe, heritage, sport, dance, exhibitions, demonstrations and, above all, fun!
VISUAL ARTS: Often billed as ‘the new St Ives’, Bridport has long enjoyed a brilliant, thriving art scene. Take a fascinating glimpse into the creative lives of local artists with Bridport and West Dorset Open Studios or enjoy the many pop up exhibitions, interventions and installations at a range of venues throughout town. There will also be photography exhibitions and workshops run by locally and internationally recognised photographers.
FOOD: With its thriving local food scene, farmers’ markets, celebrity chefs and a nationally recognised Food Festival, Bridport is truly a foodie’s paradise. You will be able to enjoy al fresco dining at our seafood, Indian, Italian, Caribbean and Greek food courts in the historic town square and frolic at our locally reared meat and cider night. You’ll also be treated to an array of delicious slow, organic and locally produced food with Slow Food culinary workshops, fresh food markets and pop up cafes. To sample the very finest Dorset produce, a mini food festival on the town's Millenium Green will be hosted by award-winning Denhay Farms. On top of all this, you can savour a meal at one of our many award-winning pubs and restaurants, including West Bay’s Riverside and the Bull Hotel. All you’ll need is a very, very hearty
FILM, LITERATURE & PERFORMING ARTS: Bridport is home to the acclaimed ‘From Page to Screen ‘ film festival and Festival of Culture will run its own fantastic mini film festival, screening an acclaimed selection of films. You can chill out in the free cinema lounge, engage in film chat events and workshops, dress up for our Mafia and Dr Who nights, as well as enjoy a range of thrilling open air theatre events and street performers.
MUSIC: A veritable feast for music lovers. Celebrate Bridport’s vibrant and innovative music scene with indoor and outdoor gigs from both local and national bands spanning folk, rock, world music, jazz, blues, alternative, reggae and much more. There will be DJ sets and dancing in the streets, jazz cafes, buskers galore, youth music events and continuous revelry on offer at the town’s ten live music pubs. Something for everyone!
FRINGE: To complement The Festival of Culture’s core programme, the streets of Bridport will be buzzing all day (and night!) with an eclectic mix of weird and wonderful fringe events - from open air theatre, busking, juggling and street art to open mics, performance poetry, installations, puppet making, story-telling and comedy cafes.
CARNIVAL: A major highlight featuring live outdoor stages, the Bridport Carnival and stunning Torchlight Procession will cover the middle weekend of the Festival, featuring an enactment of the Olympic torch
celebrations with choreographed dancers entering the sea amidst an explosion of fireworks illuminating the spectacular 300ft Jurassic cliffs at West Bay.
HERITAGE: Traditionally a rope and net-making town, Bridport’s unique industrial heritage is reflected in its architecture, with a medieval charter and Georgian town centre. There will be myriad opportunities to
explore its rich history and heritage – an exhibition at the newly refurbished Town Hall, Robert Golden’s community photographic project ‘HOME’, the Art and Artisan’s Quarter, street and vintage markets, special exhibitions at the refurbished Salt House and demonstrations of rural crafts and traditional skills, including morris dancing and cider-making. And let’s not forget Bridport’s natural heritage. The town is surrounded by stunning countryside and is a stone’s throw from the spectacular Jurassic Coast. Too special not to share!
SPORT: From Wimbledon to the World Cup, Bridport is proud of its national sporting heritage and the Festival of Culture will offer a range of fun-filled sporting activities for all ages, including a mini sports festival.
Festival Director Tamsin Chandler and the Spirit of Bridport team are coordinating this unique and inspirational summer festival with a wide range of partners including Bridport Arts Centre, the Electric Palace, the Lyric Theatre, the Bull Hotel, Eype Church for the Arts, Sladers Yard, the Pierrepoint Gallery, the Salt House West Bay, MarshBarn, Chapel in the Garden and St Michael’s Studios.
The Festival of Culture is a true example of collaboration and celebration, involving the entire community of Bridport.