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City-wide event celebrating Bristol’s best-loved and undiscovered independent businesses

There’s an independent Christmas celebration taking place as part of Small Business Saturday on the 3rd of December.

Bristol will see the launch of ‘Indies in Bristol’, a brand-new, city-wide event to celebrate its amazing independent businesses and encourage Bristolians to shop local for Christmas.

Festive shoppers who like to buy local will be able to take care of this year’s Christmas gifts by visiting an independent traders’ market and by following an interactive “Trail Map” of independent shops that stretches across Bristol.

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Indies in Bristol will unfold throughout the city from the main hub of The Station courtyard (The Old Fire Station) in the city centre, where a central traders market of gifts, street food and a bar will be based. To make the event truly city-wide, independent businesses all over Bristol will be involved through an interactive trail map that will guide people to explore undiscovered businesses in the city, as well as Bristol favourites, through activities, workshops and interactive challenges.

Attendees will also be able to buy a collectable Indies in Bristol “passport” that entitles them to special offers from participating businesses. To encourage people to explore the trail, businesses will “stamp” visitors’ passports, allowing them to claim free drinks and food back at The Station where people can socialise and cosy up over a night market with early evening drinks, DJ’s, street-food and a fire-pit.

Independent businesses such as antiques shop Rag and Bone, the Bristol Cheesemonger and CoLab have already signed up, with many businesses offering special discounts and one-off activities and workshops on the day. The Bristol Pound will also run special offers to encourage people to use the £B as the event’s favoured currency.

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Organisers Ursula Hutchinson and Clem Balfour previously ran the popular street-food night market Eat.Drink.Dance, and now want to use the model to support all types of independents.

“Bristol is a city that loves supporting independent businesses, so why not celebrate that unique entrepreneurial spirit over a whole day as a city-wide event,” says event director Ursula Hutchinson

This event will be more than your typical Christmas market. As much a social gathering as a shopping experience, Indies in Bristol will include talks, workshops, installations, art, music and other activities, as well as the chance to buy from local street food traders and shop at an independent artisan market from Bristol Bazaar.

The workshops will focus on Konichiwa & Indies in Bristol’s new ‘How To Start’ events. This will give prospective entrepreneurs or start-ups a chance to learn from their favourite local businesses first-hand and get behind-the-scenes insights. The Bristol Pound will host an interactive workshop on local currencies and Ordoo will explain how small businesses can get more out of tech, with more to be confirmed.

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Ursula launched the #actlocalbristol campaign in 2015 by creating a 30-minute documentary and has since soft-launched the well-received “Indies in Bristol” Instagram platform.

“Indies in Bristol is a really simple online platform that captures the essence of all the vibrant, diverse businesses within the city, and we hope to do the same in this event” says Ursula.

The event will join up with national campaign Small Business Saturday as well as partnering with various independent businesses and local initiatives who support independent activity around Bristol.

“We hope we can bring together an event which captures Bristol’s independent spirit, and we think Christmas time is the best time to launch this.” says Clem Balfour, event manager.

Come eat, drink, play, learn and explore with your favourite independents on Saturday 3rd December, 12pm-8pm at The Fire Station Courtyard.

To stay updated you can sign up to the Indies in Bristol newsletter (www.actlocalbristol.co.uk) or follow them on Instagram (www.instagram.com/indiesinbristol).

Sam Gillies, the founder and editor of Best of Bristol. Purveyor of numerous Bristol lists, guides & videos. Most likely found attempting to find interesting street art across Bristol and other cities.

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