Upfest: Bristol street art festival murals vandalised

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Upfest vandalism
Image caption,
Black lettering, some featuring the words "Kill Upfest", appeared on a dozen murals created for free by artists from the UK and abroad

A dozen pieces of artwork created for a street artist festival have been left "beyond repair" after being vandalised.

Murals created for Upfest festival in Bristol were defaced overnight between Sunday evening and Monday morning.

Festival co-founder Steve Hayles said the vandalism, which included the words "Kill Upfest" daubed in black paint, was "heartbreaking" to see.

"All the artists paint as part of Upfest for free and have put weeks of work into the pieces," he said.

This year's event was was postponed due to Covid, but it was still able to run a project in which 75 walls are being painted in 75 days across south Bristol.

Image caption,
The vandalism was "heartbreaking" to wake up to on Monday morning, said Upfest's co-founder Steve Hayles

A number of original murals created specifically for the 75 Walls project are among those which have been defaced.

"This is heartbreaking. Many of the amazing new pieces for 2021 are beyond repair," said Mr Hayles.

He added: "They [artists] have come to Bristol from all over the UK and some from abroad so it's not a matter of just painting them again. This is a huge blow to the project and our small team of volunteers."

Bedminster BID's "Love Local" mural, created by Tozer, was also among those targeted.

'A great asset'

Simon Dicken, chairman of Bedminster BID, said it was one of the most photographed pieces in the area.

"This individual has caused an incredible amount of damage in just one night. The Love Local mural summed up our ethos as a neighbourhood.

"Art is always a matter of taste but Upfest has been a great asset for our area for over a decade," he added.

The festival team have reported the vandalism to police and asked anyone with CCTV or private cameras covering the walls to check their footage.

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