New Bristol festival creates ‘safe space’ for Asian people

A new arts and culture festival hopes to create “a safe space” for the East and South East Asian (ESEA) community.

The Moon Fest, in Bristol, will showcase a range of ESEA creative talent from across the city.

The day-long event will play host to a line-up of musicians, visual artists and dancers alongside food and crafts.

“I hope this will bring more Asian representation to the events scene in Bristol,” said founder Monica Watt.

Ms Watt was inspired to launch the festival when she first arrived in Bristol in September 2021.

Close-up photo of Ms Watt

“I used to celebrate Mid-Autumn festival with my uncle and grandmother back in Hong Kong,” she said.

“They passed away about a year ago and I moved to Bristol alone.

“I didn’t have any friends to celebrate with when I first arrived here, it was quite lonely and I remember buying a mooncake for myself from an Asian supermarket to feel a bit more festive.”

Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations

Getty Images

Now, she has made many friends and forged connections with creative and community organisations across the city, and she wants to give others the same opportunity.

Serena Appleby, owner of Kring Kringz, will be setting up a food stall there.

“I am so proud to be a part of this festival especially as a mixed Filipino person who has grown up in the UK,” said Ms Appleby.

Ms Appleby

“I’ve never been surrounded by a community of this many fellow Asians this big before and it makes me feel accepted and good to know there are others like me, with similar stories, feelings and experiences.”

Moon Fest is produced by Made on the Moon – a new production and artist collective, led by Ms Watt and presented by East and South East Asian Solidarity (ESEAS Bristol).

The group formed in May 2021 from the need to create a friendly space for the ESEA community in the city.

The festival will take place at the Arnolfini on 10 September.

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