Back at the end of February FoodCycle Bristol teamed up with the fantastic Bearpit Improvement Group to bring an action packed event to the heart of the city.
The area known lovingly as the Bearpit is a public space in the center of town that had for many years been left to a gradual process of urban decay, despite its location right on the crossroads between the commercial and cultural heartlands of Bristol, being one of the first landmarks new visitors to the city see as they arrive, and operating as an important daily thoroughfare for a diverse range of people.
In recent months the Bearpit Improvement Group has been doing some brilliant things to change all that and transform the space into a hub of community and creative activity; from vegetable growing workshops in the flower beds where the cider cans used to be, to outdoor art exhibitions, putting a permanent table tennis table in there, hosting farmer’s market stalls, screening films and running free live music concerts.
Now the mission is to install an 24/7 open access stage complete with permanent sound equipment that anyone can come down and plug into, a geo-dome sheltering roof and concave acoustic backing to amplify non-electric instruments. Designed to provide local musicians and artists with access to a free platform to express themselves and open the arts up to the general public. The stage will be partly funded with money raised through crowd-sourcing platform Spacehive, who FoodCycle Bristol alumni Maddie Yuille is now employed by! Have a look here to find out more about them and for more details on the stage.
In collaboration with FoodCycle Bristol, the Bearpit Improvement Group put on an event to gage interest and raise enthusiasm around this project. Setting up in two empty shop-fronts at the bottom of Park Street, one of the main shopping high-streets in Bristol city center, with musicians, poets, dancers, jugglers, beatboxers, performers and DJs all filling up the program that went right from 12pm-12am. There was something happening every minute of the day, a true testament to the richness of the creative community in Bristol and the talent ready to make use of the Bearpit stage.
FoodCycle decked out the space with tables, chairs and homemade lamps from recycled scrap-store materials and ran a soup and bread kitchen throughout the afternoon, helping to bring people off the busy sunny high-street into the space to engage in the activities that were going on.
We sold soup at £1 a bowl and raised over £80, with all the leftovers in the evening going down to the STAR (Student Action for Refugees) sleep-out that was going on down the road.
We also helped generate interest and collect over 300 submissions to the market research carried out on the day into what the general public wanted to see happen to the Bearpit space. The data collected shows a massively positive response to the plan of installing a stage , which means that any applications for further funding in the future will be backed up by plenty of public support.
Check out a few photos of the event bellow!