EU Green Capital logoOur latest Sustainable Bristol column in the Bristol Post looks forward to a series of exciting spring events on Park Street and June’s BIG Green Week Festival marking the start, more or less, of the build up to Bristol 2015.

The first warm sunny days at this time of year always get me thinking about the summer of festivals and free events Bristol has to offer. They play a big part in what makes Bristol the best place to live in the UK.

Personally, I feel our festival summer has truly arrived by mid-May when the Southbank Arts Trail happens – coming on the weekend of the 17th and 18th May this year.

For the large swath of environmentally minded folk of Bristol, there is the added anticipation this year of the arrival of Bristol 2015, when our city will officially be European Green Capital for the year. Bristol is the first ever UK city to win this European award, so it’s quite a feather in the cap for Mayor George Ferguson.

‘So what?’, you might ask. Of course you can expect to enjoy loads of amazing events and free family entertainment across Bristol next year. But the serious work behind the fun is all about jobs and investment in our City.

Bristol is already a leading city in the UK for the so called green jobs sector, and we want a lot more of them. So being the showcase for the whole of Europe in 2015 as the place to come and see cutting edge environmental technologies, and to do green business, is really important in the long term for Bristol.

A small team has been working away on the plans for Bristol 2015 for a few months now. It’s high pressure stuff, with an awful lot to try and do in very little time. But details will start to emerge over the next few months now and into the autumn.

And it all unofficially kicks off with my own BIG Green Week festival in June. The full programme for this year’s BIG Green Week has just gone up on the website. It’s grown by nearly a third, to over 150 events, as community groups right across Bristol prepare for the big Bristol 2015 year. Once again well over half the events are free, including two big weekends of free family fun on city streets on 14/15 June and 21/22 June, so check out the website for details.

June’s BIG Green Week might be the start of Bristol 2015, but the next couple of months belong firmly to Park Street. Post readers cannot have failed to read all about Luke Jerram’s waterslide down Park Street on 4th May, which officially launches the Mayor’s 2014 season of the popular Make Sunday Special events.

Then on 1st June the Park Street traders will themselves be turning the street into a giant pop-up Park with family fun and games all day. And on 22nd June BIG Green Week will be on Park Street again for our annual Atmosphere Electric Bikes World Championship races. So grab your sunglasses and head down to Park Street!

Paul Rainger is director of Bristol’s BIG Green Week Festival in June.