What’s on Bedford: 26 May – 5 June 2022

Roll on half term and the long Jubilee weekend. If you’re looking for something to do, we’ve got you covered.

From the incredible Bedford Park Concerts featuring The Specials and Tom Grennan, to Jubilee events, makers’ markets, cruises, treasure trails and more.


Friday 27 May 2022

Live music: Alfie Templeman
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

Homegrown talent: Alfie Templeman

Esquires is excited to be welcoming B-Town’s great new hope, Alfie Templeman to its main stage as part of his album release celebrations.
Alfie has been EVERYWHERE over the last couple of years, headlining sell-out shows over the globe and hitting every major festival you can think of.

He follows fellow Bedford artists Tom Grennan and Don Broco in running an exclusive, intimate album release show at his home town venue.

Saturday 28 May 2022

Gardening: Garden tours and plant stall
Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane @ 11am – 4pm (tours at 11.30am & 2.30pm
Free entry

Get to know the hidden secrets of the gardens at The Higgins Bedford and behind the walls of The Panacea Museum – Bedford’s own Garden of Eden – on these free-to-attend tours. Meet at The Higgins Bedford courtyard. Each tour will take about one hour.

Help to raise funds to continue to improve the gardens around The Higgins Bedford by coming along to buy some plants in this stall run by The Higgins Bedford Garden Volunteer Team.

Saturday 28 May 2022

Food/music: FoodDrunk 006 | Street Food & Beer Festival | Live Music & DJs | Kids Silent Disco
Bedford Esquires @ midday
Free entry / Silent Disco £5/person

FoodDrunk is returning to Bedford Esquires this weekend for its sixth edition, with more bands, DJs and headliners than you can shake a stick at.

The car park will be transformed into a mini food market and there will be two indoor rooms of live music, with the Roll Your Own Records crew taking over the outdoor area and a silent disco for kids on the main stage from 2pm – 3.30pm.

Alongside some of the best street food sellers in the UK, there will be over 15 specialist beers as well as the usual Esquires’ bar offerings.

Saturday 28 May 2022

Live music: Do Nothing + Bloody/Bath
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

This Saturday, Nottingham four-piece, DO NOTHING, will make their main stage debut at Esquires.

Their sound is equal parts Roxy-esque art-rock and Ze/Celluloid records no wave.

Support on the night comes Esquires’ favourite new find, BLOODY/BATH. “We’re late to the party as the Northampton band have been going a little while, but they are currently our Spotify repeat – don’t miss em.”

Saturday 28 May 2022

Live music: Nicky Blackmarket
Bedford Esquires @ 10pm – 3am
Tickets: £8

Last July, Nicky Blackmarket was due to come to Bedford for the first event back out of lockdown. Although the event happened, Nicky didn’t! He, unfortunately, caught Covid and it’s taken until now to reconfirm a date with him,

“We’re very pleased to have been able to secure the same quality supporting cast from that first event, featuring some of B-Towns absolute finest and legends of the local scene.”

Sunday 29 May 2022

Live music: Total Pop Party
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 3pm
Tickets: £12/£10

The Perfect Party for your little ones. Total Pop Party is brand new and exciting for 2022!

These incredible girls celebrate the modern day pop legends from Little Mix, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, P!NK, Anne Marie, Panic at the Disco, Dua Lipa, Jonas Brothers, Jess Glynne, The Spice Girls, Justin Bieber and so many more.

Incredible Choreography, Brilliantly Entertaining and a Non-Stop Pop Party from Start to Finish. Singing and dancing all the way, Total Pop Party is an excellent introduction for kids who are too young to go to the big concerts but don’t want to miss out on seeing their favourite pop stars!

Come join the girls for the best party in town!

Sunday 29 May 2022

Live music: X-Certs play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Herts-based covers band playing new wave/Power pop/mod and punk classics from the 60’s 70’s and 80’s. All songs they love, and it shows.

Tuesday 31 May 2022

Family fun: Garden Party workshops
Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane @ 11:15 am, 12:45pm and 2:15pm
Tickets: £3.05 per child

Design and decorate your own gardening apron. It has pockets!

Suitable for under 12’s.

Tuesday 31 May 2022

Family Fun: EyeSpy Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Sovereigns Quay @ 12pm, 1.45pm, 3pm
Tickets: from £6

Keep the kids busy this May half term with the John Bunyan Family EyeSpy cruises. While you relax and cruise by Bedford’s landmarks along the Embankment, how many can you can spot?

Included in the child cruise ticket is the John Bunyan community boat I-SPY card.

Tuesday 31 May 2022

Live music: Lunchtime concerts
St Paul’s Church @ 1pm
Free entry with a retiring collection (suggested £5) in aid of church funds

photo by Derek Barnes

This week’s lunchtime concert at St Paul’s church, Bedford features Elizaveta Saul, Violin. Free with a retiring collection.

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Family fun: Storytelling with Grandma Mo
Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane @ 11:15am, 12:45pm and 2:15pm
Tickets: £3.05 per child

Listen to Grandma Mo’s story in the galleries, then make seedling pots and plant your own sunflowers. Suitable for 3 to 7 year olds.

Book online or call the Box Office on 01234 718044 – line open Monday to Friday 11am-3pm.

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Live music: Thank you for the music – ABBA tribute night
3 St Peter’s @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £7.50/ member and £12.50/ non-member

Start the Jubilee bank holiday weekend with an ABBA themed evening on at 3 St Peter’s.

The talented Waterloo Duo will be recreating the iconic songs of ABBA including Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, Voulez-Vous and more. Optional dress code: ABBA inspired retro.

Thursday 2 – Friday 3 June 2022

Jubilee: Decorate your own hat or crown
Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane @ 2 – 4pm
Free entry, no need to book

Decorate a hat or a crown for your own Jubilee celebrations. Suitable for Under 12s

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please note space is limited and there may be a wait to join the activity.

Thursday 2 – 5 June 2022

Family fun: Jubilee Weekend Free Comics Giveaway
Close Encounters, 20 Allhalllows @ 10am
Free entry

Over the extended bank holiday weekend, Close Encounters be giving away hundreds of free comics.

Also available will be 1000s of comics for £1 each and graphic novels at £5 each or five for £20.

Thursday 2 June 2022

Family Fun: Bank Holiday Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Sovereigns Quay @ 12pm, 1.45pm, 3pm
Tickets: from £5

Enjoy a relaxing 45 min Bank Holiday river cruise, cruising along the Embankment from Sovereigns Quay. It’s the perfect way to try the John Bunyan Boat for the first time, and great for families with young children.

Thursday 2 June 2022

Adult content: Drag Bingo Brunch (18+)
Brewpoint @ midday – 4pm
Tickets: £30 includes free first drink

Brewpoint have got some bumper bank holiday weekend activities planned, kicking off with Drag Bingo Brunch.

Hosted by Ms Ginger Phlappage and her squad of sassy and hilarious brunch queens and kings, get ready for a boozy afternoon of drag performances, games, challenges, quizzes and plenty of audience participation, honey!

Thursday 2 June 2022

Jubilee celebrations: Beacon lighting
Castle Mound @ 9.45pm
Free entry

Bedford will be joining in the nationwide and international beacon lighting at part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The Beacon on Castle Mound will be lit on Thursday 2 June at 9.45pm, and this is free to attend.

Thursday 2 June 2022

Live music: The Royston Club
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £10

The Royston Club are the Wrexham band tipped by Gigwise as “the new band from Wales most likely to do a Catfish”.

The band signed to Run On Records (The Coral) and Modern Sky UK in early 2021, and their next two singles saw them fly past two million streams on Spotify alone and gain support from Radio X (Xposure Playlist), BBC 6 Music (Steve Lamacq & Tom Robinson), BBC Wales, BBC Introducing as well as Amazing Radio UK (C List) and US.

The Royston Club are singer and guitarist Tom Faithfull, guitarist Ben Matthias, bassist Dave Tute and drummer Sam Jones.

Friday 3 June 2022

Live music: Best of British – band night ft The Kaiser Monkey Killers
Brewpoint @ 7pm
Free entry

Specially selected by Brewpoint to celebrate the Best of British rock, indie, punk and pop on the Jubilee Bank Holiday Friday.

Friday 3 June 2022

Live music: The Specials
Bedford Park @ 5pm
Tickets: £45

Founded in 1977 The Specials were at the forefront of the 2 Tone movement. Changing the face of UK music in the 1080’s with 7 successive top 10 singles between 1979 & 1981 including number one hits like ’Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Ghost Town’. The band reformed in 1993 and have wowed fans across the world on the live circuit since.

In 2019 the band released ‘Encore’ their first album in 18 years, which gave the band their first ever number one album, 40 years after the release of their self-titled debut. In September 2021 the band released the critically acclaimed ‘Protest Songs 1924 – 2012’ the album which charted at number two features twelve singular takes on specially chosen protest songs across an almost 100-year span and show The Specials still care and are still protesting!

In support of the new album the band toured in autumn 2021 to sell-out crowds. They will now take to the stage In Bedford Park with a full support line, which will be announced soon.

Friday 3 June 2022

Club night: Enjoy Yourself – after the Park aftershow party
Bedford Esquires @ 10.30pm
Tickets: £4

When a band of a generation comes to town we need to celebrate in style…

On Friday 3 June, The Specials play Bedford Park and to celebrate this momentous occasion we are opening up the Esquires NITE KLUB for a post-concert after-show party.

Kicking off from 10.30pm Esquires will be hosting x2 rooms of music with 4 DJ’S spinning the finest sounds of Britpop, 60s, 70s, Two-Tone, reggae, ska, Trojan, indie bangers, funk, soul and more…

Saturday 4 June 2022

Food & drink: Street Food Festival
Brewpoint @ midday – 9pm

Brewpoint’s beer garden is home to a wide variety of the best street food vendors, including burgers, hot dogs, curries, gyros, crepes and pizzas – hosted by Street Feasting.

Saturday 4 June 2022

Culture: Body & Soul: British Sign Language exhibition tour and workshop
Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane @ 11am – 1pm
Free Entry, Booking Essential

Join Peter from Access Bedford for this Deaf BSL tour of the Body & Soul exhibition at The Higgins Bedford, followed by an art workshop.

This is a British Sign Language only event – no oral instruction will be given.
Book online at thehigginsbedford.org.uk or call the Box Office on 01234 718044

Saturday 4 June 2022

Markets: Jubilee Makers’ Market
Riverside Square

On Saturday 4 June, Bedford Borough Council and Made in Bedford will be hosting a Jubilee Makers’ Market in Riverside Square. There will be stalls to browse, with lovingly handcrafted and eco-friendly products including natural skin products, personalised designs and more.

The surrounding independent cafes and restaurants will all be open too, with outside seating to soak up the atmosphere (and hopefully the sunshine).

Saturday 4 June 2022

Afternoon Tea: Royal Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina @ 2pm
Tickets: £30

Cruise Bedford’s picturesque countryside along the river with a special Jubilee Afternoon Tea – thanks to local caterer Crème Brew Lait – at your table with unlimited tea and coffee.

Your Purser will serve each guest with a glass of prosecco for toasting The Queen while you discover abundant wildlife and view the picturesque countryside from a whole new angle, looking out through large picture windows or standing out on the John Bunyan Bow.

Wave a flag, give passersby a royal wave and take your own commemorative photograph of this very special royal occasion.

Saturday 4 June 2022

Children’s Theatre: Comedy Club  4 Kids
The Quarry Theatre @ 2pm
Tickets: from £5

Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children and their families… but without the rude bits!

It’s just like a normal comedy club, but it’s on during the day, kids are allowed in, and thus there is a higher than usual chance of heckles like “why is that your face!?”

Saturday 4 June 2022

Live music: Tom Grennan
Bedford Park @ 5pm
Tickets: £35

Tom Grennan’s success has been closely followed by his hometown Bedford fans, and on Saturday 4 June, he will headline his first major outdoor concert in Bedford Park!

“Bedford I’m coming for you,” said Tom.

“I am so excited to be headlining back in my home town!!!! Home is where the heart is and I’m going to give you all the love and energy I can. I can’t wait to perform live for you, it’s going to be one hell of a party. Big Love!!”

Saturday 4 June 2022

Club night: Loaded – the Pad Club Classics Night
Bedford Esquires @ 10.30pm
Tickets: £4

Tom Grennan cut his musical teeth in Esquires, so it’s no surprise that they’re super proud to be involved with Tom’s return to Bedford – and on the biggest stage possible.

To carry on the party after the park, Esquires and the Pad are getting the band back together, with Pad DJs spinning indie bangers, Old Skool hip hop, soul, funk and pop classics.

“The Pad and Esquires are old haunts of Tom’s and we thought what better way to finish the evening than having a proper dance and get together.”

Saturday 4 June 2022

Live music: Livewire – the AC/DC show
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

The hugely successful and unique six-man tribute to rock music’s greatest band AC/DC, comes to Bedford, complete with cannons, a wall of Marshalls amps and over two hours of High Voltage Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The band aim to put you slap bang in the middle of the show with hit after hit, although there will also be one or two gems thrown in for the aficionados. From Back in Black, Rosie, and Highway to Hell, the songs keep on coming until the cannons fire ceremoniously to bring the evening to a superb crescendo.

Sunday 5 June 2022

Poetry: Read Poets Society – Looking to the Future
The Eagle Bookshop @ 7pm
Tickets: Free

Looking to the Future; the platinum weekend over,  consider life 2022-2092 and also what writers have expected of their own future, from Thomas More through both Shelleys to Orwell and beyond.
Note: this event takes place at the Eagle Bookshop in St Peter’s Street

Sunday 5 June 2022

Live music: Stiff Little Fingers
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £25

As part of their UK tour, Stiff Little Fingers are playing Bedford Esquires this summer, stopping off on Sunday 5 June.

Until June 2022

Exhibition: Archipelago: Take Part Queen’s Park Community Exhibition
The Higgins Bedford until 12 June 2022
Free entry

Still from the Archipelago film of the Allotted sequence © Caroline Wendling

Still from the Archipelago film of the Allotted sequence © Caroline Wendling
A new exhibition celebrating the vibrancy of Queen’s Park opens at the Higgins Bedford this month.

Using film, embroidery and clay, curated by artist Caroline Wendling the exhibition is a collaboration with residents as part of the Take Part Queen’s Park project.

“Queen’s Park is like an archipelago [a group of islands] – a place where people who each have their own cultures and traditions come together to form one unique, vibrant and unified community,” said Caroline Wendling.

Delivered by Bedford Creative Arts in partnership with The Higgins Bedford and funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Harpur Trust and housing association bpha.

Until January 2023

Exhibition: Edward Bawden: Artist Plantsman
Higgins Bedford
Free entry but timed tickets required

Every day, influential British artist and designer, Edward Bawden, would spend an hour in his garden at his home in Great Bardfield before starting work in his art studio. Plants and gardens were one of the most prominent and constant subjects of not only his work but also his life.

Drawn exclusively from the Edward Bawden archive, explore Bawden’s lifelong love of plants and gardens through a wide range of his work, including early wallpaper designs, well-known prints, advertising campaigns and private commissions.

From the grand gardens of Carthage and the botanical gardens at Kew, to Bawden’s own gardens at his parent’s home in Braintree and his beloved one-acre plot in Great Bardfield, discover Bawden’s passion for plants and gardens across decades of his work, featuring pieces that have never before been on public display.

Until October 2022

Exhibition: Body & Soul
The Higgins Bedford
Free entry

Edvard Munch (1863–1944), Woman with a Brooch (Madonna), 1903 © The Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery

A new exhibition exploring how women have been represented in art over the past two centuries, opens at The Higgins Bedford on 2 April.

Read: Body & Soul: Higgins’ new exhibition explores the representation of women in art

Highlights in the Body & Soul exhibition – all drawn from the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Collection – include artworks by Edgar Degas, Edvard Munch, Dora Carrington, Stanley Spencer, Henri Matisse, Gwen John, Roy Litchenstein, Lucian Freud and Chila Burman.

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker


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