Justin Talbot

In the vibrant Bristol Downs, Forwards Festival 2023 took over for 2 days, bringing together a diverse tapestry of creativity, culture, and innovation. This annual event has become a much-anticipated highlight on the cultural calendar, and this year's edition did not disappoint. From the moment I stepped onto the festival grounds, I was swept away by a whirlwind of artistry, music, and community spirit.

Incredible Art Installations

The festival grounds were adorned with a breath-taking array of art installations that challenged conventional boundaries. The highlight being immersive interactive installations that played with light and sound, every corner of the festival was a canvas for creative expression.

A Symphony of Sound

Music enthusiasts were treated to an eclectic line-up that catered to every taste. The festival featured both established and up-and-coming artists across a spectrum of genres, from indie rock to electronic dance music. The main stage lit up with electrifying performances from headliners like the Primal Scream and Aphex Twin. The smaller stage also held its own with more intimate settings for acts like Arlo Parks and Leftfield.

Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion

Forwards Festival has always been committed to inclusivity, and this year was no exception. The event celebrated the rich blend of communities, welcoming people of all backgrounds, orientations, and abilities. The Information panels, discussions and talks fostered important conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts. It was also great to hear ‘Team Love’ talk about how festivals can be a force for good.

Culinary Delights

Food stalls lined the festival, offering a global gastronomic journey that mirrored the diversity of the event. From mouth-watering street tacos to vegan delights, there was something to satisfy every palate. Local food vendors served up delicious dishes that showcased the region's culinary talent, and the communal dining areas fostered a sense of togetherness as festival-goers shared meals and stories.

Sustainability and Eco-consciousness

Forwards Festival has been at the forefront of promoting sustainability and eco-consciousness in the festival scene, and this year was no different. The organizers made a concerted effort to reduce waste by providing reusable water stations, encouraging attendees to bring their own refillable bottles, and implementing a "leave no trace" policy. HVO biofuel generators provided a significant portion of the festival's power needs and they also implemented some BMW electric cars for artist transport.

A Resounding Success

As the festival drew to a close, I couldn't help but feel a sense of gratitude for the remarkable experience I had just been a part of. Forwards Festival 2023 was a testament to the power of creativity, community, and inclusivity. It left a lasting impression on all who attended, reminding us that the forward march of art and culture knows no bounds. I eagerly anticipate what next year's festival will bring, and I have no doubt it will continue to push the boundaries of creativity and inspiration.

In the end, Forwards Festival 2023 was not just an event; it was a celebration of the human spirit's boundless capacity for innovation and expression. This festival left me with a renewed sense of hope and a profound appreciation for the incredible talent and diversity of our community. Until next year, when we gather once again to move forward, create, and celebrate.