Bristol Pirates is calling for an official celebration of the city’s pirating past . . .
Bristol is feeling very lonely, Bristol is feeling very sad and Bristol is feeling very left out. But, “why?” I hear your cry. Well, despite a rich and varied buccaneering history, Bristol lacks an official pirate festival or, even, a pirate day to call its own.
Anywhere else even slightly adventurous seems to have one and this year's pirate party season is currently in full swing.
We’ve already had Weymouth’s Dolmen Pirate Parlay and the infamous Brixham Pirate Festival. Next up (among others) we have the Gloucester Sea Shanty Festival, Penzance, Poole, the Isle of Wight, the Conway Pirate Weekend, Falmouth Sea Shanty, Whitby Tortuga Festival, Purbeck and many, many more.
But, for Bristol, there’s nothing when (and for many a good reason), there should definitely be a something.
Don’t forget that the notorious Blackbeard is a well-rumoured son of Bristol. His mum definitely worked around here and he drank around here. And that’s not all.
The legendary Bartholomew Roberts sailed regularly from Bristol on merchant ships before becoming one of history’s most successful pirate captains and Woodes Rogers, that 18th Century sea captain, privateer and first Royal Governor of the Bahamas was Bristol born and even held residence here.
Plus, Bristol has links with two of the most famous seafaring yarns in the history of literature: Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe (both of which still capture imaginations today).
If that little lot (and there’s much more besides) can’t put this fair port city on the pirate party map, then what can?
And, if ever Bristol were to embark on such an endeavour, it's not like she'd be without organisations to draw strength and support from.
We at Bristol Pirates (www.bristolpirates.org) are definitely up for organising such a festival, plus there’s that fine purveyor of historical education Pirate Pete (www.piratewalks.co.uk). Then there’s the Long John Silver Trust (www.longjohnsilvertrust.org.uk), a charity that celebrates Bristol’s connections with Treasure Island. And last, but by no means least, we have The Matthew (www.matthew.co.uk), an accurate replica of John Cabot’s famous ship that journeyed from Bristol to America in 1497.
Just think of the salty sea dog style shenanigans we could pull off if only we were to pool our resources.
Bristol has plenty to celebrate (and thankfully likes to celebrate on a regular basis). Don’t forget we have the Harbour Festival coming in July (hint, hint).
And while we can’t do anything much without official sanction (Visit Bristol, we’re looking at you!), surely it’s time for Bristol to stop sailing on the sidelines and join the plethora of local pirate parties.
What do you say?