When did you move to Bristol?
I first moved to Bristol in 2003, coming down here from London. I must admit that I didn’t really know much about Bristol before coming here – in fact I am not sure I’d even heard of it – but I never looked back. I was really lucky to (eventually) secure a secondment to the BBC in Bristol from London after my then-partner took a job here. After hellish commutes on the Victoria Line, a five-minute walk to the BBC on Whiteladies Road was bliss.
In London you could often feel trapped in a pocket; the city is so big that even seeing friends could mean a good 45 minute trip on a busy tube. Bristol has so much going on but you can, on the whole, get to places easily. There’s lots going here too so I never felt I was missing out. It’s certainly been a much friendlier city too!
Who’s your top Bristol artist at the moment?
We have a lot of amazing artists here in Bristol. I’m terribly uncool with my music tastes, being very much 80s and 90s, so the Bananarama homecoming gig last year was a sheer delight for me. However, if we want Bristol sounds we don’t have to look much further than Dr Meaker. You can’t help but feel happy and want to get up and move, which is probably why they are such a hit at Pride year on year.
What are your go-to places to eat and drink?
I’m really lucky to have the Lazy Dog pub as my local, great food and a fantastic selection of drinks in stumbling distance is a win for me. Bristol of course has a fantastic food scene and Pasta Ripiena has been one of the best meals I have had recently. I always jump at the chance of a lunchtime meeting near Wapping Wharf, just so I can head to Pickled Brisket after for their incredible salt-beef Reuben. Beer gardens and other outside spaces are a win for me, so for drinks it’s often The Phoenix by Cabot Circus or aboard Under The Stars.
What’s the perfect way to spend a day here?
It has to be making the most of the Harbourside there’s a great selection of food and bars, and always live music going on somewhere. It’s a lovely walk to start at Arnolfini, head over to the Broken Dock, then take a ferry over the water and meander down to The Cottage Inn. It’s a great place to have a drink and people-watch, seeing all the bodyboarders and rowing teams coming in and out.
What’s your favourite thing about the city?
We have so much to shout about here in Bristol. Such diversity, a buzzing food and music scene and incredible green spaces. There’s always something going on, you could fill every weekend in Bristol with a festival or event. That said, if you want to just chill and hide we’ve got incredible spaces like Brandon Hill and The Downs. There is never a chance to get bored in Bristol.
And your least favourite?
It’s so boring to say traffic and transport isn’t it, but that’s my biggest moan. As someone who needs to be at a lot of places all over the city, it’s often challenging and frustrating. I’m one of those people who’s always running late because of a call or update, so adding traffic to that is annoying when you’re trying to make a gig or film or sponsorship meeting! With my Pride hat on I’d also flag that as a city we need to do more to tackle hate crime and prejudice. As a society we need to be better, kinder.
Any top venues?
I love Thekla for everything from live gigs to cheesy clubnights. Who doesn’t love a party on a boat?
Tell us more about Bristol Pride 2019.
After welcoming 36,000 people through the gates of Pride last year, this time we’re moving to The Downs! For several years we’ve been at capacity early on in the day and this means we can add an extra 10,000 people to the festival with new areas and stages. Be sure to check out our new DIVA stage which celebrates all women in music, and our new Circus Tent in partnership with Bassline Circus. They have some incredible artists planned for the stage, including a roller-skating hula hoop act and incredible aerial acrobatic performances.
Though it’s costing us a lot of money to move the festival, this year marks our tenth anniversary and this step will secure the future of Pride, with the new site allowing us the chance to keep on growing and developing the festival for years to come. Our hands have been tied for many years due to lack of space so I’m really excited to see what the future will bring! We were named in the Top50 world pride events last year so we’re eager to show people exactly why.
As an organisation that works all year ‘round we are also keen to keep on expanding our work to combat hate crime, to work with local businesses to keep on making sure our workplaces here in the city are inclusive and we are paying particular attention to local schools, looking at how we can ensure LGBT+ and all equalities remain something that young people are taught. Creating a better society for all starts with our future generation.
In addition to Pride Festival, expect a fortnight of events across the city, July 1-14th. For more: bristolpride.co.uk