The urban landscape is not all glass and concrete. Since the graffiti art boom of the 1980s’, artists and creative souls the world over have added color to city streets, beautifying empty spaces with one dexterous stroke after another.
Experience the process behind the spray cans and stencils and come face to face with some of the masterminds of the urban canvases of our cities at these street art festivals this summer.
Paradox: Tauranga Street Art Festival – Tauranga, New Zealand
Tauranga’s brand new street art festival is being marketed as something of a paradox. Not only has it brought street art from all over the world into the confines of an art gallery, it has also turned the city of Tauranga into an embellished outdoor gallery, curated by revered international artists. In fact, all the murals here are bespoke works, created in and for the city of Tauranga by the likes of Sofles, Wongi, and Seth Globepainter.
Featuring the most extensive assembly of street artist Banksy’s works in the Southern Hemisphere, the festival also plays host to several exciting events featuring local artists.
When: March 28 – 15 June
Brockley Street Art Festival – London, England
Now in its 3rd year, Brockley Street Art Festival sheds light on Brockley’s thriving street art scene in a bid to cultivate its local identity and showcase some of its more obscure urban areas in a more endearing manner. The area’s rich artistic heritage and its proximity to Goldsmiths college, in itself a cultural hub, have been pivotal in securing its status as one of London’s vibrant newcomers on the street festival scene.
When: June 2 – 10
MURAL Festival – Montreal, Canada
Canada’s Mural Festival is a mammoth among street art festivals that hosted over one million visitors in 2016. Word on the street is that this year’s event will continue the trend, with artists such as Nuria Mora, Ricardo Cavalo, and Ron English headlining the proceedings. In addition to the 80 plus murals and installations, Mural Festival also features several block parties and a series of after parties, making it a truly immersive street experience.
When: June 8 – 18
Stencibility – Tartu, Estonia
Stencibility focuses on bridging the gap between performers and audiences. You will find no shortage of street art here, showcased by a palette of knowledgeable artists in intimate surroundings aimed at getting upcoming artists more involved in the scene through interactive activities such as workshops.
In fact, there’s more than just street art to indulge in here – debate clubs, film screenings, and installation art framed within the urban narrative are all central elements of Stencibility, whose previous lineups have featured work from artists such as Biancoshock, Kashink, MTO, Mr. Thoms, and many more.
When: June 12 – 18
Stockholm Urban Art – Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm Urban Art is a component of Stockholm Street Festival – a broader tribute to street performers such as acrobats, magicians, and comedians. The urban art scene hopes to bring together leading figures from Sweden’s street art scene whilst acting as a platform for any festival attendees who would like to try their hand at spraying a wall or two.
When: June 30 – July 2
M.I.A.U. Fanzara – Castellon, Spain
The Museo Inacabado de Arte Urbano (The Unfinished Museum of Urban Art) takes a slightly different approach to street art – expanding its scope to focus on disciplines such as sculptures, land-art, interventions, and 3-D installations, in addition to more traditional mural (wall)-based initiatives.
M.I.A.U. has, in fact, been instrumental in putting the Valencian village of Fanzara on the map, boosting its cultural profile, and steering it away from the decline experienced by many small Spanish villages with weakened economies and diminishing tourism.
When: July 6 – 9
Graffiti Na Gradele – Brač Island, Croatia
The idyllic shores of Croatia’s Brač Island, close to the city of Split, play host to one of the region’s largest graffiti and street art festivals every summer. A non-profit initiative that is run under the auspices of Bol Summer Festival, Graffiti Na Gradele’s focus is hinged on gathering young regional talents under a common platform. You will also find plenty of parties and social gatherings taking place as part of the Bol Summer Festival.
When: July 27 – 29
Meeting of Styles – Copenhagen, Denmark
Meeting of Styles is one of the largest street art gatherings worldwide, featuring events in over 30 cities over the course of the year, all linked by a common theme – the age of abundance. Copenhagen’s event takes place this July and will, as in previous years, be held at Pumpehuset – a vibrant music venue in the middle of the Danish capital. Not much about the event is known at this stage but keep an eye on their Facebook page for more information.
When: July 21 – 23
Upfest – Bristol, UK
Bristol is one of The UK’s street art mecca’s, featuring areas such as gentrified Southville and the lively Stokes Croft, both of which contain an effervescent selection of works.
Upfest 2016 hosted 300 artists from all over the world and gathered in excess of 35,000 people, cementing its status as one of the world’s marquee street art festivals.
Not only is Upfest Europe’s largest free street art festival since 2008, it’s also a party with a cause – the fest raises money and awareness for parents and children suffering from domestic alcoholism for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA).
When: July 29-31
Bloop Festival – Ibiza, Spain
The Balearic paradise of Ibiza adds even more fizz to its riveting streets with the annual Bloop Festival – a thought-provoking showcase of works by some of the isle’s local and international talents. Last year’s theme took a stab at modern-day challenges such as FOMO (fear of missing out) and the pitfalls of mass communication via social media and featured an eclectic selection of interpretations from a wide range of artists.
When: August 23 – September 3