Old City Sounds

Free-to-attend one-day event will take over King Street, St Stephen's Church, St Nicholas Street and St Nicks Market in a musical celebration for those young and young at heart.


Old City Sounds, a new for summer 2023 family-friendly music event will take over Bristol’s Old City in a celebration of the city’s songful soul on the last Saturday of the school holidays and the late August Bank Holiday Weekend.  

Created by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), the inaugural outdoor event will be free to attend. With musical fun for all the family on offer, all genres will be celebrated throughout four melodic zones, as the event takes over the streets of the Old City between 12 – 6pm on Saturday 26 August. 

The iconic annual Old Duke Jazz Festival will spearhead the ‘Old City Jazz’’ zone on King Street, which will host live jazz talent from near and far in a symphonic celebration of all things folk, funk and swing.  

To keep the children entertained on their last few days of no school or homework, St Stephen’s Church garden will play host to the ‘Old City Kids’ area. Young ones can enjoy storytelling by the team at Stanfords; one of Bristol’s oldest independent bookshops, bubble artists, face painting, circus performers, jugglers and giant garden games from the team at Play Wooden – ethical wooden games designed to nurture curiosity and experimental exploration.   

Live versions of all-time favourite children’s classics from local Bristol musicians will also be on hand as St Stephen’s Street will be pedestrianised so parents can relax and enjoy the soundtrack. Interactive musical renditions of children’s stories and plays can also be enjoyed with Little Music Makers. 

Bristol’s maze of stalls and pop-up restaurants, St Nicks, will also see a bumper edition of its summer busking series take place as part of Old City Sounds. Welcoming local musicians from the Bristol Institute of Music Management (BIMM), the ‘Old City Acoustics’ zone will see a series of talented buskers perform for visitors as part of the event, which intertwines shopping, eating and music. The acousticians will fill the market with both well-loved covers as well as original material. On nearby Corn Street, the Bristol Indies’ Market will also be taking place, selling an array of locally-crafted gifts, vintage clothing and other treasures.  

Adding ever further to the soulful Saturday event, St Nicholas Street will also play host to musicians and vocalists from the city and beyond – in the ‘Old City Eclectic’ area, welcoming both classical and nu-wave players from across multiple genres of music including virtuoso flamenco guitarist Flamenco Thief, and the new soul vocals of China Bowles. The area is sure to paint a smile on the faces of all who visit, as it provides one last hurrah for kids (and parents!) before the new school year starts. 

Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID

Events such as Old City Sounds hugely boost footfall and spending in our city centre as well as morale for residents, tourists and businesses alike. It’s a joy to be part of the team that creates these new and innovative takeovers that both support local businesses and celebrate the musical talent we are lucky to have here in our city

Old City Sounds is being delivered by Bristol City Centre BID, supported by Bristol’s City Centre & High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, which is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England’s Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project, with the aim of supporting the recovery of Bristol’s priority high streets.



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