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Nacoa | The National Association for Children of Alcoholics | Event article

Nacoa Celebrating ‘Biggest Upfest Yet’

Last weekend, Nacoa volunteers donated over 1,000 volunteer hours at Europe’s largest urban art festival, Upfest, helping to raise awareness and funds for children affected by a parent’s drinking.

Over 35,000 people visited Bristol to witness 350 artists painting live across 35 venues. Paintings ranged from intricate treatments on board at Bedminster’s tranquil St Francis Church to the 40-foot mural of John Lennon by Kobra (painted with the use of a crane) that now adorns the side of Bristol’s Tobacco Factory.

Nacoa plays an integral role in the planning and operation of Upfest, and our colourfully t-shirted volunteers are conspicuous all over the festival. We marshall the event’s many locations, ensuring safety, speaking about Nacoa with visitors from around the world, as well as generating donations through programme sales, cakes and children’s activities.

Thanks to our passionate home-bakers, we sold many scrumptious slices of cake at our three stalls across the site. The Nacoa Villages at Upfest’s South Street Park and Ashton Gate Stadium locations also helped to inject further style to proceedings through our vintage store, selling jewellery and clothes.

Nacoa volunteers run the Upfest children’s area, offering the chance for young people to get creative, decorating biscuits, badge making, and face painting across our three main sites. Rap-artist, Gimson, also led classes instructing young people on how to write and record their own hip-hop song, which will now soon be mixed and produced into a special Upfest 2017 track.

Nacoa patron Elle Macpherson tweeted a thanks to the ‘fab artists at @Upfest raising money for @NacoaUK I’m such a proud Patron. Go Bristol, love the art!’ Calum Best also paid tribute to the volunteers, remembering his ‘first Upfest in Bristol years ago with Nacoa, proud to be a patron for them.’

Our newest patron, film and television actress, Cherie Lunghi, marvelled at the bringing together of ‘talent and artistic energy from far and wide onto the streets of Bristol. I am thrilled that Nacoa plays such a prominent role in the festival and will have the opportunity to reach out to those who need help and provide information and support.’

Nacoa and Upfest have worked in partnership from the festival’s humble beginnings in the courtyard of a theatre venue in Bristol. Over the last eight years, the event has helped to raise over £60,000 for Nacoa. Upfest is not just about money raised, though; it is also about being a part of a community with a common goal to reduce the suffering of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK today.

This year’s festival was a momentous success, continuing the huge growth the festival has enjoyed over the last few years. The new addition of Ashton Gate Stadium representing a huge new addition for Upfest art sales and Nacoa’s Kids’ Zone.

Without our volunteers, Upfest would not be what it has grown in to today, and reciprocally the festival provides our small charity a large platform to show off what we do.

Chief Executive of Nacoa, Hilary Henriques, reflected in a moment out on Monday’s ‘Family Day’ that the huge collaborative effort of our volunteers at ‘Upfest is emblematic of the synergy created by our diverse group of amazingly passionate volunteers. Every minute a volunteer donates—whether marshalling, selling or baking—is a gesture of hope for the vulnerable children we aim to support. Every drop of paint helps to brighten the lives of children living in dark circumstances.’

For to get a sense of the festival through some amazing pictures, please check out the Huffington Post article here.