Saturday’s sensational finale to Bedford Park Concerts

Ministry of Sound Classical at Bedford Park Concerts 2023
Ministry of Sound Classical at Bedford Park Concerts 2023

Saturday night (1 July) saw the end of a sensational six nights of live music as Bedford Park Concerts once again brought top-class acts to our town.

From proms to pop, superstar DJs to soul and the one and only Sting, this year’s season covered all genres with something to suit all tastes and age groups, attracting visitors from all over the UK.

Kicking things off with Sting’s ‘My Songs’ tour, he asked the crowd, “Why have I never been here before?”, something echoed by many of the concert-goers from further afield.

Multi-platinum-selling artist George Ezra brought a sell-out audience of all ages to the town, including local cricketing legend, Sir Alastair Cook.

Sir Alastair Cook and Matt Barron at the George Ezra concert in Bedford Park 2023
Sir Alastair Cook with fan, Matt Barron, at the George Ezra concert. Image: Maxine Wraith

Many concert-goers were entire families, so for many, it was the very first concert the young fans had ever attended.

Dawn Lipscombe said: “Fantastic evening, my daughter’s first concert and she loved it! [The] organisation was fantastic and
staff were brilliant!”

On the opening night, The Jacksons flew in from America and arrived in Bedford the following day, bringing the sunshine with them. Meanwhile, German techno star Scooter ensured the crowd didn’t stop dancing from the moment their feet hit the Bedford Park grass.

Check out our gallery for photos from all of this year’s concerts.

This year’s Proms returned on Sunday night with a West End theme – the perfect musical accompaniment to a sublime warm summer’s evening listening to some of the biggest talent from the West End and Broadway along with a 50-piece orchestra, lasers and the traditional firework finale.

It’s a wrap

The Bedford Park Concert Series came to a crescendo on Saturday night (1 July) with the Ministry of Sound Classical with support from superstar DJs Mark Russell, Judge Jules and Roger Sanchez, and the incredible Ellie Sax.

The festival atmosphere was in full swing, especially in ‘The Garden’ area, styled once again by Nikkita Palmer Palmer Event Hire.

“My friend drove all the way from Brighton,” said Caron Shaw, who had travelled with other friends from Surrey.

“It was a great night. Really well organised with a friendly local festival feel. I’ve not been to Bedford before, but I’ll be back.”

Economic impact

With hotels booked up weeks in advance, even some of the event promoters couldn’t find anywhere to stay nearby, having to stay in Milton Keynes.

“The big artists and the main promoters all stayed at the Bedford Swan Hotel,” said organiser, Louise Harris. “They hadn’t visited Bedford before and they loved it here, especially the Arc and Gallery cafe on Howard Street.”

Feedback from Love Bedford members suggests that lots of town centre businesses felt the benefit too.

Gareth at the George and Dragon on Mill Street said they had queues out of the door. “It was just what the town needed,” he told the Bedford Independent.

“A nicer atmosphere to the High Street and a lot more families came in,” said a staff member at the Slug and Lettuce.

“Sales definitely went up and we had a lot of bookings for bottomless brunch and footfall was up.”

Alex at Il Basilico on Mill Street said: “It was so busy. We were fully booked for every day of the concerts.”


As this season’s events draw to a close, our thoughts are already turning to next summer’s headliners.

Peter Cuffe, promoter of organisers, Cuffe and Taylor, said: “We’ve had an incredible six nights of shows in Bedford Park and we are thrilled it’s been so successful and that everyone has enjoyed the concerts.

“We can’t wait to be back with more shows in the future.

“Keep an eye on our website and socials for exciting announcements soon.”

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