There used to be days I frequently travelled abroad for gigs and music festivals, but nowadays I tend to plan my trips around street art. Today marks the last day of two epic street art festivals: Nuart Aberdeen in Scotland and The Crystal Ship in Ostend, Belgium, both fairly new festivals that have attracted dozens of artists and numerous art enthusiasts. But these events are just the start of many more paint jams and street art festivals to come over the next months. Come see graffiti writers and street artists at work at these following events!
1. Meeting of Styles: London, UK 26 – 28 May
Organised by Endoftheline, the 9th edition of this grand paint jam takes place in the heart of Shoreditch, the epicentre of London’s street art scene. Make your way to the Nomadic Community Gardens (1 Fleet Street Hill, E2 6EE), just off Brick Lane to catch artists spray painting, create installations and more.
Website: Meeting of Styles
2. Brockley Street Art Festival: London, UK 1-9 June
Travel to the south of London and admire the great murals being painted here over the first week of June. The past editions included artists such as Dan Kitchener, Louis Masai and Mr Cenz.
Website: Brockley Street Art Festival
3. M.I.A.U.: Fanzara, Spain 5-8 July
This is a classic example of how art could unite people. After a political disagreement divided the approx. 350 residents of the town of Fanzara in the Valencian region of Spain, the local council came up with a brilliant idea. In 2014 they invited a street artist to create a huge mural with the residents. This project has not only improved the relationships between the locals, but has also transformed the town and put it on the international street art map. The town now counts over a hundred murals which have attracted thousands of visitors over the years and last year over 200 artists applied to take part in the Museo Inacabado de Arte Urbano (MIAU) (Unfinished Museum of Urban Art)!
Website: M.I.A.U. Faranza
4. Upfest: Bristol, UK 28-30 July
Known as Europe’s largest free street art and graffiti festival, Upfest started as a modest festival in 2008 with only 20 artists. In just a few years time it grew into a large-scale and world-famous street art event. This year will mark the festival’s 10th anniversary so I’m expecting exciting stuff to happen. 1000 artists have registered so there will be no escaping the sound of rattling spray cans and fumes when you visit, I can’t wait!
[Addition January 2019]
I finally made it to Upfest last year! In this post you can see photos of my favourite murals painted in 2018 (and before). My Personal Highlights of Bristol Upfest 2018, Europe’s Largest Street Art and Graffiti Festival
5. BLOOP: Ibiza, Spain 23 August – 3 September
I’ve never been to Ibiza, but the idea of a street art festival in this bohemian destination seems to make perfect sense to me. The 8th edition of this ‘international proactive art’ festival will be taking place from late August till early September. This year’s theme is ‘Hope’, something we all need in today’s political climate.
Website: BLOOP Ibiza
6. Artscape: Sweden
Going strong since 2014, Artscape’s mission is to ‘transform Sweden through murals and installations – bringing art to the public!’ (source). In the last years the festival has transformed the streets of Mälmo, Gothenburg and different municipalities in the county of Värmland. I’m not sure when or where this year’s edition is going to take place, but make sure to keep an eye out on their website and social media as this seems like a really cool event.
Amendment: after posting this article it has come to my attention that there will NOT be big event happening in Sweden this year. However, the organisation is currently working on a number of big events in 2019 so make sure to follow them on social media for updates!
7. iBug: Chemnitz, Germany 24-26 August / 31 August-2 September
I like the idea of exploring a city one wouldn’t normally go by following the trail of local street artworks. Chemnitz is an independent city in Saxony, eastern Germany. This year marks the 13th edition of the festival and over two weekends at the end of August the city will welcome over 130 artists to create murals, graffiti pieces, art installations, and more, in some fantastic derelict and industrial buildings.
8. Nuart Festival: Stavanger, Norway 6-9 September
While the second edition of Nuart Aberdeen in Scotland is coming to an end today, its big sister Nuart Stavanger will be hosting street artists at its world-renowned street art festival that first started in 2001. Surrounded by fjords, a stunning mountainscape and white beaches, this sounds like a magical setting for a street art festival!
9. Festival LaBel Valette: Pressigny-les-Pins, France 7-9 September
Located in a 19th-century castle, this street art festival sounds truly grand. Offering 10,000m2 of wall space, the festival hosts 100 street artists. Other events include talks, performances and exhibitions.
Website: Festival LaBel Valette
10. Tizarte 3D Street Art Festival, Antwerp, Belgium 14 September
On 14 September Antwerp’s neighbourhood of Kattendijkdok will be hosting Tizarte. The focus point is 3D street art, which makes this festival quite different from the previous events mentioned in this blog post. I love Antwerp and think it’s a fantastic travel destination anyway and will probably be there later this year so I hope to see some of the new artworks in the street then!
I hope this blog has inspired you to combine your spring/summer holidays with some of these exciting events! It’s a great chance to see outstanding street artists and graffiti writers at work and to have a nice chat with them. This list is far from complete as there are so many more paints jams and street art festivals happening all over Europe, such as the Kings of Colors graffiti and street art festival which happens each September in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. That’s where I took the feature image for this blog post. Whatever you’re up to, have a great spring & summer!
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Will you be visiting one or more of these street art festivals over the next months? Or do you have any more recommendations for me and other readers? Feel free to leave suggestions below!