From the moment we stepped into Millennium Square, rhythmic funk could be heard from the main stage in Lloyds Amphitheatre and the unmistakeable smell of burgers sizzling on an open grill turned our heads (or noses, should I say) towards the entrance of Grillstock Festival. Thankfully, we were heading that way anyway.
Four girls amidst a sold-out audience, we first swanned through the sea of food stalls which spanned the width of Millennium Square through to the edges of the Amphitheatre. As expected, it seemed every meat-based trader was there – including a few of Bristol’s own, Cowshed and Slow ‘N’ Low to name a couple.
Invited on behalf of Colinas De Uruguay to attend Grillstock, we were greeted by their team with a glass of crisp Pino Grigio. Refreshing and fruity, Colinas wine paired with a steak sarnie lathered in an Argentinian-inspired sauce was the perfect set-up for the rest of the day.
Well, it was Grillstock so of course there were other moments of joyous feasting throughout the day but we’ll get into that later.
With a screenshot of the schedule in hand (because we’re cheap skates like that), we headed over to the main stage for some gypsy-country style boogying with Hayseed Dixie. The crowd were certainly glad to see Hayseed had a few modern twists up their sleeves. Bohemian Rhapsody anyone? For me personally, nothing gets me in the mood for dancing like an old-school track which you can sing along too!
After temporarily hanging up our dancing shoes and replenishing the cider stock, we grabbed our picnic mats (I wish we were that organised, no they were from the lovely Colinas) ready for chilli eating competition; a must see if you go next year. Let’s be real here, there is something entertaining about watching overly confident participants buckle to the power of a fiery chilli! Our favourite for the competition also came up trumps, so that was the cherry on top. He barely broke a sweat, like, how?! I can barely deal with mild chilli powder on my potatoes.
Speaking of breaking a sweat, up next came the buffalo rodeo. Being the competitive lasses that we are, this was not a game we took lightly by any means. The outfit choice however, was not the best planned. Short dress, flying off a buffalo, you can imagine the aftermath. Still, the rodeo was a highlight of the day for us and totally worth the leg aches the next day from holding on so tightly!
On route back to the Amphitheatre, we stopped off for Hippy Chips, ice cream and a swig of Harry Brompton’s iced tea. Black tea blended with Vodka and lemon, perfect for a festival. Then, it was time for the big event.
The greatly anticipated Hot 8 Brass Band were everything we’d hoped for and more, keeping the audience entertained and on their feet. It’s not often you hear about amazing brass bands playing in Brizzle, so it was great to have the Hot 8 bringing brass sounds back into the amphitheatre with a bang! They also had nothing but praise for the British pub culture so course, they won us all over very quickly.
Rounding off the night Saturdays headliner, The Pharclyde, took to the stage with their LA hip hop beats as the sun set over the harbour.
A truly amazing day, Grillstock Festival 2017 set the bar high for the series of Bristol festivals coming up; Pride, Bristol Harbourside and the Balloon Fiesta have a lot to live up to!
Please note: We were offered complimentary tickets to the festival by Colinas De Uruguay however this in no way impacted upon the opinions given. All rights to photography used belongs to me, please do not use without permission.