What’s on Bedford: 30 June – 9 July 2022

It’s here… the only one-stop what’s on guide with the best of everything that’s happening over the next 10 days. From live music to walking tours, markets to comedy, films to theatre, we’ve got it all and it’s right on your doorstep.

Bedford really isn’t sh*t.

Thursday 30 June 2022

Live music: Jazz Jam
3 St Peter’s @ 7pm – 11.30pm
Tickets: Free for members and their guests/£7.50 for non-members

In keeping with the impromptu spirit of jazz, a group of talented local musicians have launched a Jazz Jam at 3 St Peter’s. The idea was proposed by Ryan McCaffrey who is aiming to bring a little of what he’s experienced during his gigs at England’s top Jazz venues to 3 St Peter’s.

Come and enjoy the sounds of the 3 St Peter’s house band and perhaps join them for an improvised jamming session!


Friday 1 July 2022

Art & Culture: Artist Plantsman Exhibition Tour
The Higgins Bedford @ 12pm
Tickets: £3.25 / £2.75 / booking required

Join Keeper of Fine and Decorative Art, Victoria Partridge, for a lunchtime tour of the highlights in the Edward Bawden: Artist Plantsman exhibition.

The Artist Plantsman exhibition explores 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.

Friday 1 July 2022

Live music: The Glenn Miller Big Band Spectacular
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £23.50

The music that filled the dancehalls during the Big Band era is brought to life again by The Moonlight Serenade Orchestra UK. The hardest swinging big band in the UK recreates the million sellers of the 40s and 50s.

Moonlight Serenade, Little Brown Jug, Pennsylvania 6-5000 and String of Pearls are just a few of the numbers that shot band leader Glenn Miller to world stardom.

Pieces from other band leaders including Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Count Basie not to mention songs made famous by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are featured in this two-hour show which will take you down Memory Lane and start your feet tapping.

Friday 1 July 2022

Live music: Bad Manners
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £22.50

Missing in action for five years in Bedford, ska legends Bad Manners return to Esquires this summer.

Bad Manners were at their peak during the late 1970s and early 1980s when other ska revival bands, such as Madness and The Specials, The Beat and The Selecter, filled the charts. Bad Manners spent 111 weeks in the UK Singles Chart between 1980 and 1983 and have continued as a worldwide popular touring live act to this day. Some of Bad Manners’ more notable hits include “My Girl Lollipop”, “Lip Up Fatty”, “Ne Ne Na Na Na Na Nu Nu”, “Lorraine”, “Just A Feeling”, “Walking In The Sunshine”, “Can Can” and “Special Brew”.

Saturday 2 – 16 July 2022

Shopping: FiverFest
All over the town

The FiverFest shop local campaign is back, and this year there are over 75 businesses taking part and offering something for just £5.

The event, organised by Helen Patterson of the Town Centre Champions, runs until 16 July.

FiverFest is a national ‘shop local’ celebration run by Totally Locally and is a chance for residents to try new things, visit new businesses and support the independent businesses at the heart of our community.
Check out the map (by local illustrator, Katie Allen) to find your new favourite shop/cafe/restaurant/bar/business!

Saturday 2 July 2022

Workshop: Bedford Repair Cafe
The Place Theatre @ 11am-3pm
Tickets: free, but booking is essential and donations are welcome.

The Bedford Repair Cafe volunteers are back to help you fix your broken stuff. Bring your broken bikes, clothes, sewing machines, garden equipment, and electricals, or come along to learn more about repair and maintenance.

Booking is essential to help the team manage the day.Repairs are  free but donations are welcome to help run future events.

Saturday 2 July 2022

Relax: Fish and Chip Supper Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina @ 6pm
Tickets: from £21

Have a relaxing evening cruise and watch the sun go down among Bedford’s picturesque countryside and the Embankment.

The cruise navigates the town lock, and then past the 12th century mound of Bedford Castle before going under the historic Town Bridge as we make our way along to Queens Bridge, enjoying a fish & chip supper.

Saturday 2 July 2022

Dance Music: The Lockdown Legacy
Herd, St Cuthbert’s Street @ 5pm
Free entry

Funk, soul, Afro-Latino, classics, deep house, disco and more live in the bar at Herd from 5pm. Featuring Dan the Drum, Polstar, Notorious PIG, Bru.Ce, Non-vinyl Matt and Wingin’ It.

Sunday 3 July 2022

Relax: Sunday Afternoon Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina 1.30pm or Sovereigns Quay 2.30pm
Tickets: from £10

Enjoy a relaxing cruise through Bedford’s picturesque countryside, to discover Bedford’s unique pyramid!

After navigating the town lock and cruising past the 12th century mound of Bedford Castle, the John Bunyan Boat will call at Sovereigns Quay to pick up additional passengers, before heading upriver to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara temple in Queens Park, Kempston Outdoor Centre and on towards Kempston Mill before returning.

Sunday 3 July 2022

Guided walk: The Silent Faces of Bedford
Meet at the gold letterbox in St Paul’s Square at 11am
Tickets: £3/£150

Bedford has many impressive statues and memorials. They cannot tell their own story – but we can and do!

Sunday 3 July 2022

Festivals: Bedford Italian Festival
Harpur Square @ 12noon – 6pm
Free entry

Bringing Little Italy right to Harpur Square with a fun-filled day of music, food and cars.
The event organisers have special guests flying in from Italy to perform and they promise a stage filled with amazing live acts throughout the day.
This celebration of Bedford’s Italian community last took place in 2019 and attracted over 3,000 visitors.
This year’s event is organised by Carmela Facchiano, a proud Bedford Italian who says she is determined to reconnect the community feeling within the Italian families and businesses.

Sunday 3 July 2022

Live music: Gospel at Herd featuring Paulette Williams
Herd, St Cuthbert’s Street @
Free entry

Live gospel at Herd. The perfect accompaniment to their epic Sunday roast.

Monday 4 July 2022

Film: Monday Night is Movie Night: The Unforgiven
The Place @ 7pm
Tickets: £5

William Munny (Clint Eastwood) is a retired, once-ruthless killer turned gentle widower and hog farmer. To help support his two motherless children, he accepts one last bounty-hunter mission to find the men who brutalized a prostitute.
Joined by his former partner and a cocky greenhorn, he takes on a corrupt sheriff. 

Food boxes are available for preorder.

Tuesday 5 July 2022

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

This week’s lunchtime concert at St Paul’s church, Bedford features Lorraine Augustine, piano. Free with a retiring collection.

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Comedy: Jason Manford 
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £30

He’s back! It’s been a busy few years for Jason since his last smash-hit stand-up show but fans of his Absolute Radio show will know this nationally acclaimed comedian hasn’t changed a bit. ‘Like Me’ is Jason’s latest comic offering set to hit the road, and is sure to be ‘expert observational comedy’ (The Guardian) mixed with ‘comic gold’ (Mail on Sunday).

Thursday 7 July 2022

Relax: Thursday Afternoon Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Sovereigns Quay @ 2.30pm
Tickets: from £10

Enjoy a relaxing cruise under the historic Town Bridge past Bedford Castle mound and then through the town lock and along the tranquil river to Cardington Lock.

Friday 8 July 2022

Live music: Wrong Jovi
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Bedford Esquires welcome back Wrong Jovi, the world’s premier Bon Jovi tribute band. From greatest hits, to fan favourites, Wrong Jovi are the ultimate way to experience Bon Jovi.

Friday 8 July 2022

Live music: The Rose of Avalanche + Desperate Measures
Bedford Esquires @

For fans of: UK Subs, The Stooges, New York Dolls

Saturday 9 July 2022

Art and culture: Beds Urban Sketchers – Castle Road and Victorian Bedford
Meet outside the Gordon Arms @ 10.30am
Free to attend

This week, Beds Urban Sketchers are going to explore the Castle Road area, focused around the main promenade of shops and services. Plenty to see, sketch and do – including a lovely garden roundabout at the Rothsay Road intersection, lots of cafés and a couple of good pubs.
Not to mention, the ladder of beautiful Victorian terraced houses.
“Throw down” and a drink: 12.30 – 1.15pm at The Gordon Arms!
The Bedford Urban Sketchers is a local chapter of global Urban Sketchers network.
The group meets up to sketch on location, usually outdoors and for free. All ages, abilities and backgrounds welcome. You will need to bring your own materials. This is not a tutored group, but there are plenty of experienced sketchers if you have any questions.

Saturday 9 July 2022

Dance and culture: 40 Years of Morris: Memories & Reflections
The Higgins Bedford @ 11am
Free entry

Morris dancing is often viewed as a fixed and unchanging English tradition. Yet the past forty or so years has seen significant changes, particularly through the development of women’s Morris teams and a willingness to move away from the collected dances.

Led by Lydia Saul, Keeper of Social History, and Chas Leslie, curator of the Innovation and Tradition: 40 years of Morris display, hear from ex-members of Redbornstoke Morris and Bedfordshire Lace Morris in a panel discussion as they share memories of these changes and reflections of their experiences dancing, followed by an audience Q & A.

Email thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk or call 01234 718618 to book your place.

Saturday 9 July 2022

Family fun: Morris Dance – Children’s Workshop
The Higgins Bedford @ 2pm – 3:30pm
Free entry

Join members of Golden Hare Morris and learn some basic steps and put together a simple Morris dance. Afterwards, show off your Morris moves in a short performance for your families.

This workshop is suitable for children aged 8-12 years old and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Email thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk or call 01234 718618 to book your place.

Saturday 9 July 2022

Relax: Tea and Cake Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina, 2pm
Tickets: from £15

While away an afternoon with family and friends as you cruise along the River Great Ouse from Priory Marina to the Embankment and return. Your trip takes you through tranquil countryside and through Bedford town’s lock on to the Upper River where we will cruise along the Embankment before returning to Priory Marina.

Enjoy a delicious slice of locally made cake with endless tea or coffee. Selection includes to choose from victoria sponge(GF), chocolate and coffee & walnut cake.

Saturday 9 July 2022

Booktastic: Frostheart: The Rise of the World Eater by Jamie Littler
The Place Theatre @ 10am
Tickets: from £5

The bestselling Frostheart trilogy – an epic story of bravery, loyalty and friendship. Join author and illustrator Jamie Littler as he introduces us to Ash and the challenges he faces against the evil Wraith leader Shaard.
Discover Ash’s world, face the Devourer, and find out more about how Jamie brings his characters to life!

Age guidance: 9+

Saturday 9 July 2022

Booktastic: Agent Asha: Operation Cyber Chop by Sophie Deen
The Place Theatre @ 12noon
Tickets: from £5

Top secret Children’s Spy Agency’s newest recruit, Asha Joshi, is back with a new mission!

Asha is suspicious when evil teenage trillionaire Shelley Belly proposes to cut down all the trees in Asha’s favourite park to make way for CyberOaks – the new tech trees.

Asha is a top coder and super-spy, so she should be able to face robot security parrots, a suspicious internship and Shelley’s spy-base in Scotland to crack the case. Will Asha and her robo-hamster sidekick Tumbler be able to protect the park and save the day?

Age guidance:9+

Saturday 9 July 2022

Booktastic: Evil Emperor Penguin by Laura Anderson
The Place Theatre @ 1.30pm
Tickets: from £5

Far away in the icy wastes of Antarctica lives a warm and cuddly, kind-hearted penguin who only wants to do good in the world – NOT! This is no ordinary penguin. This is… EVIL EMPEROR PENGUIN! And he wants to take over the world!

Join author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson for a fun and exciting introduction to the world of her bestselling graphic series!

Age guidance: 7+

Saturday 9 July

Live music: Eddie & The Hot Rods live Bedford Esquires – Horseman Shakes & The Draymen reunion
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm

Saturday 9 July 2022

Live music: Concerts at St. Andrew’s
St Andrew’s Church, Kimbloton Road, 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 / under 18s free entry

Joanna Reveley is an experienced flute recitalist whose programme will focus on some of the most beautiful flute works written by English composers.

The programme will have an English flavour. Charles Evans is a local composer know to many local singers and musicians and is intending to come along to the performance of his work.

Programme details as follows:

John Ranish Sonata in B minor
I. Adagio II. Allegro III. Giga
Albert Franz Doppler Fantaisie pastorale hongroise Op. 26
Edwin York Bowen Flute Sonata Op. 120
I. Allegro, non troppo II. Andante piacevole III. Allegro con fuoco

Philippe Gaubert Nocturne and Allegro Scherzando
Charles Evans Avoir la tete dans les nuages
Ian Clarke Spiral Lament
James Rae Sonatina for Flute and Piano: I. Aquarelle II. Nocturne III. Fire Dance

Saturday 9 July 2022

Choral music: Opus 18 Community Choir Summer Charity Concert
Priory Methodist Church, Newnham Avenue, Bedford @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £8 (children £6)

This is Opus 18’s first live concert since before lockdown. As well as celebrating singing together again, the choir is also raising funds for Bedford Hospital’s new Paediatric A&E Dept and for Bedford Women’s Centre.

There will be refreshments and a raffle.

Tickets from evsutherlandmusic@hotmail.co.uk and 07974742552

Sunday 10 July 2022

Market: Bedford Flea, Affordable Art and Local Produce market
St Paul’s Square @ 10am

Hay Lane flowers at Bedford Flea

For their fourth edition, the Bedford Flea, Affordable Art and Local Produce market is full to the brim with superb stallholders and brilliant bargains.
In the Local Produce section you’ll find grown-not-flown seasonal flowers, sheep cheese & milk, jams & chutneys and local honey, freshly baked bread, savoury goodies & sauces, Indian food, Bedfordshire brewed cider & distilled gin, cakes and bakes & vegan fudge. Doctor’s House will be there with their Refill Station and locally made artisan body care and candles too.
The Affordable Art section will be filled with a dozen local artists of varying disciplines, with 12 of their unique Bedford Flea A-boards gracing the square.
Their Flea section is FULL with the best antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing, second hand vinyl and all the treasures you never knew you needed.

Grab a coffee from La Piazza and have a lazy Bedford Sunday at the Flea.

Sunday 10 July 2022

Guided walk: The Jewel in Bedford’s Crown
Meet at the gold letterbox in St Paul’s Square at 11am
Tickets: £3/£150

Join the knowledgable Bedford Tour Guides for a fascinating insight into the history of Bedford Caslte.

The Jewel in Bedford’s Crown is undoubtedly the River Great Ouse and its Embankment. Find out how the construction of this part of the town came about and hear about the many important features which stand on either side of the river and which can easily be overlooked.

Sunday 10 July 2022

Famiy fun: EBRU (water painting) masterclass with Sergey & Maria Tsymbal
The Higgins Bedford @ 2pm

Join in this water painting workshop with Ukrainian artists, Sergey and Maria Tsymbal at The Higgins Bedford. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Email gemma.hutton@bedford.gov.uk to book your place.

Coming soon…

21 – 31 July 2022

Festival: Bedford Festival Fringe
The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s
Ticket prices vary

For the 15th year, the International Bedford Festiva Fringe – Bedfringe – will be back in the heart of the town this July, including a performance from actor, comedian and impressionist, Jon Culshaw.

Returning to the Quarry Theatre, Bedfringe will run from Thursday 21 – Sunday 31 July, bringing a programme of top-quality comedy, theatre, live music, film, dance, physical theatre, spoken word, poetry and children’s theatre to our doorstep.

The full programme of over 120 events is now live on their website.

“Expect to see 120+ events in 11 days across three venues,” said Bedfrdinge director, James Pharaoh.

“Hopefully there will be something for everyone.”

Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July 2022

Festivals: Bedford River Festival
Free entry

This year’s River Festival returns after a three-year hiatus and we are so ready for it.

There are lots of new additions this year, including Bands on the Bridge, the BBC Introducing Music stage, a vegan lounge as well as the One Hundred Motoring Exhbition along Bedford High Street and St Paul’s Square.

As ever, there will be lots of fun on the river, plus plenty to see and do, from live music to sports activities, historical renactments to food and drink.

Read:Everything you need to know about Bedford River Festival 2022

Find out more at the Explore Bedford website and also the Bedford River Festival official website.

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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