Fair Saturday – 24th November

On Saturday 24 November, Bristol will be the first city in England to join the international Fair Saturday movement. Jo Plimmer, Arts Officer at Bristol City Council, tells us more.


Hello Jo.

So what is Fair Saturday?

Fair Saturday, takes place on 24 November, the day after Black Friday, and brings together arts, culture and social causes to sing, shout, create and reflect on what it means to be a fair society; raising funds for charities in the process. It is a global cultural movement determined to make a positive social impact every last Saturday of November in response to Black Friday. Most importantly it aims to show how arts and culture are powerful drivers of change, and are essential to building fairer and better societies.


Can you tell us about the origins of Fair Saturday and how it came to Bristol?

Fair Saturday began in Bilbao, Spain, in 2014 as a local, grass roots reaction to Black Friday; the world’s biggest expression of consumerism. It was the idea of Jordi Abareda, who wanted to enable a positive cultural / social response, and encouraged 22 choirs and 3 soloists to perform across his city, and stand alongside and support social causes.

The simple and powerful ethos of Fair Saturday has caught on quickly over the last four years, growing from a city to a global movement.  In 2017 Fair Saturday enabled 582 shows in 114 cities, involving 10,000 artists, attracting 127,000 attendances and generating 191,000 Euros for social causes.


Why Bristol?

City Mayor Marvin Rees met Jordi, Fair Saturday Director at the Kettering Foundation Symposium held in Dayton, Ohio in 2017. The aspiration of Jordi and Fair Saturday, to enable a one day festival that brings together culture in its broadest sense to make a social impact had a clear connection with Bristol’s own corporate and cultural strategies.

Arts and Events representatives visited Fair Saturday in Bilbao in November to see the day in action, and have worked in partnership with Fair Saturday to launch Bristol as the first official city in England in November 2018; the beginning of a longer term strategy to make Fair Saturday an increasingly important event in the Bristol calendar.

We are also working closely with Fair Saturday in Scotland, who are taking a national approach and aligning Fair Saturday with St Andrew’s Day.

What can we expect to see on Fair Saturday?

Fair Saturday in every city is different, because the character of every city is different. The programme for Bristol will grow from the artists, performers, organisations, communities, people and charities who are stepping forward to get involved.  

The more people, organisations and spaces that get involved, the richer the Fair Saturday programme will be!

The programme for the first year in Bristol is still very much in development, but we are already pleased to be working with great organisations including Paraorchestra, Spike Island, and the Folk House, planning Fair Saturday activities in spaces including night clubs, museums and markets, and collaborating with social causes and businesses representing the rights of refugees, homeless and other minorities.

There will be Fair Saturday activities throughout the day in all sorts of locations across the city, all of which will be listed, located and publicised on the Fair Saturday  app which can be downloaded to your phone as a Fair Saturday trail across the city.

That sounds great. How can we get involved?

Empty Files DJ Set from Fair Saturday international

Get in touch! Fair Saturday is open to anyone; from large organisations to a single performer, professional and amateur, to join in and hold an activity or event that raises funds for, and gives a voice to, a social cause. It can be anything from a full choir or formal performance to a single musician performing in a café, or artist holding a creative workshop in their home. It is not about getting artists to work for free either; it is up to the artist and the charity they work with to decide what is manageable to raise through the event.

Artists, performers, arts organisations, businesses and charities with an idea for a Fair Saturday event can simply register the event on the Fair Saturday website https://fairsaturday.org/en/

Or to find out more about the programme developing so far and spaces and opportunities alongside that, get in touch  with myself at Bristol City Council: [email protected] or Paloma at Fair Saturday (international): [email protected]


Don’t delay! Deadline for Fair Saturday events to be registered is Sun 14 October.