What’s on Bedford: 13 – 23 July 2023

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Your weekly what’s on guide for Bedford and the surrounding area from The Bedford Clanger.

Never miss a thing in Bedford ever again. From theatre to film, live music to art exhibitions, The Bedford Clanger what’s on guide lands every Thursday and is the only guide you need to know what’s on and what’s happening across the Borough for the next 10 days.


Until 23 July 2023

Community: Cultural Roots Sound System Museum
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ Wednesday – Sunday (refer to website for more details)
Free entry

Pride of Place (POP) Bedford has now officially opened its doors, so head on down to Midland Road to see what’s going on.

Until 23 July, the space houses the incredible Cultural Roots Sound System Museum featuring unique ‘home-made’ equipment, vintage items and memorabilia celebrating the culture of reggae music and Jamaican sound systems.


Until 23 July 2023

Community: Legacy of Windrush Descendants (LOWD) exhibition
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ Wednesday – Sunday (refer to website for more details)
Free entry

2023 marks 75 years since the arrival of the 1,027 passengers to British shores aboard HMS Windrush.

People from the Caribbean have played an integral role in the positive contributions and development of Bedford’s multi-cultural population. By sharing the stories of Bedford’s Windrush community, LOWD will enhance Bedford’s history of multi-culturalism.


Thursday 13 and Friday 14 July 2023

Community theatre: Into the Depths: Orpheus Remixed
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Pay What You Can from £3

‘Into The Depths: Orpheus Remixed’ is a brand new adaptation of the classic Greek tale ‘Orpheus and The Underworld’, written, devised and directed by BRAVE Youth theatre students (ages 11-16) and their youth theatre leaders. This new version takes us on an epic 1980s love adventure like no other.

Orpheus and Eurydice meet at the school prom and fall madly in love only to be ripped apart by a tragic accident administered by the king of the underworld, Hades.

Will Orpheus and his best friends manage to save Eurydice before she is taken by the demons? Will Persephone convince her husband to give them a second chance? Can we face our fears and learn to look forward rather than look back?

This version is about the vitality of stories, friendships, first loves, jealousy, greed and regrets. Expect some classic 80s tunes alongside arguing muses, evil demons and a very strange three-headed dog.


Friday 14 July 2023

Live music: The American Four Tops Motown Show
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £24.50

Direct from the USA, Soul Satisfaction’s American Four Tops Motown Show has been travelling internationally bringing all the sweet soul music and the Motown magic to their audiences.

With powerful vocals, splendid harmonies and the high stepping dance routines, you will be taken on a journey through all the hits of the Four Tops including Reach Out, Baby I Need Your Loving, Walk Away Renee, Same Old Song, Loco in Acalpulco, Standing In the Shadow, Bernadette along with other classic hits from the golden era including songs from the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Ben E King and many more Motown and soul legends.

Backed by the Soul Unlimited band this is an exciting live concert experience guaranteed to have you will be dancing all night long. Soul Satisfaction is guaranteed, so…Get Ready Cos Here They Come!


Friday 14 July 2023

Live Music: Zal Ahmed
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm.  
Free Entry

The super-talented Zal Ahmed plays at The Cellar Bar this week, with a mix of classic and contemporary soft rock/pop.  What better way to get the weekend started?


Friday 14 July 2023

Live music: Love featuring Johnny Echols + Large Plants
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £22.50

LOVE with Johnny Echols sees Arthur Lee’s longest-serving band appearing in Bedford for the very first time to perform classic songs from Love’s first three albums Love, Da Capo, Four Sail and of course the seminal Forever Changes, as well as some special deep cuts.

Following their farewell tour in 2019 the band hadn’t anticipated a return, but as founding member and guitarist Johnny Echols explains, “the unprecedented times in which we currently find ourselves made us realise more than ever that what the world needs now is LOVE.

“We have missed playing for our fans in the UK whom we dearly love. How could we turn down the opportunity to come back and do it again?”

Joining Johnny Echols on stage is Baby Lemonade who from 1993 until Arthur’s death in 2006 performed as his band and became an essential part of the renaissance of LOVE’s music.

This iteration of LOVE saw many sold-out tours, as well as back-to-back Glastonbury performances and an appearance on Later with Jools Holland. Support comes from Large Plants.


Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 July 2023

Art: High Street Exploration Day with Beds Urban Sketchers
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 11am
Free

Interactive outdoor drawing session on Silver Street run by Beds Urban Sketchers
Interactive outdoor drawing session on Silver Street run by Beds Urban Sketchers. Image: Talia Giles

Join the Bedford Urban Sketchers on this free, interactive drawing day and discover the high street from a new perspective. Have your sketch added to the POP Bedford gallery wall and the chance to become part of an archive documenting our high street during its regeneration.

Using High Street Exploration cards as prompts, set off on your own journey in the town centre and draw your surroundings. This might include looking up and drawing the tops of buildings, or outdoor meeting space or hidden details normally missed by passer’s by.

Collect your drawing kits and see all the work made from the community of Bedford from us at:
This event is free and for all age groups (including children) and drawing skill levels. Materials for sketching will be provided, but If you sketch regularly, you are encouraged to bring your own drawing/painting materials and drawing board. A3 project paper will be provided for everyone.


Saturday 15 – Sunday 16 July 2023

Family fun: Bedford Eid Festival 2023
Addison Howard Park, Kempston @ 1pm (11am – 1pm on Sunday – exclusively for SEND families. Register here)
Free entry

Eid Festival is back at Addison Howard Park this summer and everyone’s invited to join the celebrations.

Entry is free and there will once again be funfair rides, food and gifts souk, Scouts activities, a tug of war competition, giveaways, raffle prizes and more.

Sunday from 11am – 1pm is dedicated to the SEND community, so please register in advance to secure your place.


Saturday 15 July 2023

Live music: The Black Charade + Fell Out Boy
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £14 (14+ only. 14s – 16s must be accompanied by an adult. No refunds will be given for incorrectly booked tickets.)

The world’s one and only My Chemical Romance tribute The Black Charade plus the most established tribute to Fall Out Boy, Fell Out Boy – are coming to Bedford Esquires for a double header of ultimate EMO not to be missed.

14+ only.


Saturday 15 July 2023

Live music: The Meteors + The Tendons
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Third time lucky? Esquires hasn’t had a lot of luck with The Meteors’ previous shows due to that big thing that happened and a previous date cancelled through illness, but third time is a charm!

THE METEORS were formed in 1980 in a reaction to the bands that were singing about ‘Big Green Cars’, ‘Rocking This Town’ and being ‘Rockabilly Rebels’. Preferring their songs to contain topics about vampires, stomping in graveyards and radioactive kids P. Paul Fenech, Mark Robertson and Nigel Lewis soon found themselves all over the media.

A media who were eagerly lapping up their new sound christened ‘Psychobilly’.

By 1982 the original line-up had split with Lewis and Robertson going on to form their own bands while P. Paul forged ahead with a free hand with THE METEORS and his idea of how psychobilly should sound. That was a sound that had grown from one of a band’s own personal identity to a world-wide genre that is Psychobilly now over 30 years established and still growing and thriving around the globe. THE METEORS have continued to inspire and influence countless bands while continuing to lead the charge from the very vanguard.


Saturday 15 July 2023

Live Music: The Intonators
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm
Free entry

Playing covers by ka, ska punk, punk genres, playing covers by bands such as Rancid, The Interrupters, The Clash, The Specials and The Sex Pistols, plus lots of other 3rd wave ska and a few surprises thrown in along the way! A very energetic show from start to finish!


Sunday 16 July 2023

Community theatre: The Roaring Jungle
The Place Theatre @ 1.30pm & 4pm
Tickets: Pay What You Can

The Roaring Jungle is an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel ‘The Jungle Book’ performed and co-created by our younger BRAVE cohort (young people aged 6-11).

Enter the era of the 1920s with jazz music, Charleston dancing and…..tigers!

This version of The Jungle Book is performed and created by BRAVE Youth Theatre and there will be storytelling, music, dancing, masks (designed and created by the students themselves) and a load of wild animals.

Come and find out whether Mowgli can ever truly learn the law of the jungle and whether the other animals will be lured into the evil ways of Shere Khan or led astray by those pesky monkeys! Suitable for young people aged 5+


Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 July 2023

Food & drink: Beer and Beyond Beer Festival
Brewpoint @ midday
Tickets: £10 / express brewery tour £5

Bedford’s very own brewery taproom is kicking off the summer in style with a weekend of beer, food and music – and you’re invited!

With a range of guest beers, street food vendors and music acts, they’ll be serving up the perfect festival atmosphere.

Read: Say hello to Beer & Beyond – Brewpoint’s first-ever beer festival


Sunday 16 July 2023

Walking: “Bedford’s Movers and Shakers: A Bromham Road walk”
Bedford Town Centre @ 11am at the gold postbox in St Paul’s Square
Tickets: £3/£1.50

Join the Association of Bedford Tour Guides for one of their fascinating weekly walks. Each walk is of 90 minutes to two hours duration and covers a distance of one or two miles. Most walks are suitable for people who are less mobile.

Children of all ages are most welcome on all of our walks but those aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Each walk costs £3.00 per adult or £1.50 for children over 8. All walks must be pre-booked.


Sunday 16 July 2023

Dance music: Sunday Soul Sessions
The Wellington Arms @ 4pm
Free entry

Enjoy soulful music from the 60s to present day Northern, Modern & All Things Soulful along side likeminded people in the company of Geoff, Hammie and special guests Dave Halsall and Robert Gipson.


Sunday 16 July 2023

Live music: The Fran Pegg Band play the Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Join Fran Pegg and her band – featuring 18-year-old Harry Breed, 22-year-old drummer Hugo St Leger and local legend and talented guitarist Carlos Linnett for this weeks Sunday afternoon session in the bar.


Wednesday 19 July 2023

Drag: Fanny’oke and Boozy Bingo
The Cellar Bar @ 8.00pm
Free entry

Fanny Burns is back in Bedford hosting a night of Karaoke with a twist and of course Prize Bingo.

This show contains adult humour and swearing and is strictly an over 18’s event.


Thursday 20 – Sunday 30 July 2023

Festival: Bedfringe 2023
The Quarry Theatre @ all day every day
Tickets: From free – prices vary

This month, the Quarry Theatre will host the 16th International Bedford Festival Fringe, bringing over 140 events – old and new – to the town.

From Thursday 20 until Sunday 30 July a carefully selected programme of comedy, theatre, live music, film, dance and physical theatre, spoken word and poetry will be performed across three venues, with Bedfringe director, James Pharaoh MBE, hoping there will be something in the programme for everyone.

Read: Bedfringe 2023: Over 140 events in Bedford over 11 days


Thursday 20 July 2023

Music: A Night of the Stars
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

A stylish celebration of music from some of the most legendary performers of all time. From Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones, Barbara Streisand and Elaine Paige right up to Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and many more, each track is handpicked to
‘wow ‘and entertain you.

Starring the unforgettable voice of former West End Singer and as seen on ITV, Sandy Smith, who some of you will have already seen in the sell-out show of Cilla & The Swinging 60s.  This show will take you on a journey through the decades including many of the greatest songs   ever recorded such as ‘I Who Have Nothing’, ‘Evergreen’, ‘I’m Alive’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘You’re My World’ to name just a few!

The likes of Diana Ross and Donna Summer, Tina Turner and Cher will leave you with that feel-good vibe whilst the anthems of Abba and Queen will bring you to your feet!!  


Thursday 20 July 2023

Live music: Bad Manners + Splodge
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25

Ska legends, Bad Manners, fronted by the impossibly large-tongued Buster Bloodvessel, return once again to Esquires. Tickets exclusively via Seetickets.


Friday 21 July 2023

Comedy: Laugh out Proud
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: £15

Featuring the best in established and upcoming acts from the LGBTQIA+ community on the UK comedy circuit. 

This is night is all about giving acts and audiences alike a fun and friendly place to express themselves, kick back, have a laugh and good time in an inclusive and welcoming comedy club environment.

Whether it’s comedy, cabaret or anything in between – Laugh Out Proud is the queer night out you’re looking for. Laugh Out Proud in Bedford will feature the stand-up delights of Celya AB, Dane Buckley and all held together by your host and compere Andrew White.


Friday 21 July 2023

Live music: Cameo
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm
Free entry

Cellar Bar favourite Cameo is back for her first solo performance – a beautiful voice and some cracking party tunes.


Friday 21 July 2023

Musical theatre: Lipstick on Your Collar 2023
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £26/£24

Lipstick On Your Collar is back with a new show for 2023!

Step back in time to the golden era of music where the jukebox roared and feet didn’t touch the floor. Get your dancing shoes at the ready, grab yourself a milkshake and relax – you are in for an evening of back to back hits from the 1950s and 60s!

From the birth of Rock n Roll through to the Beat Group sounds of the British Invasion and beyond, the show is packed with over forty hits from the likes of Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, The Ronettes, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black and many more.

Performed by a full live band, featuring some of the country’s top musicians, this incredible show features excellent vocals, tight harmonies and an infectious sense of fun.

Dancing in the aisles is strictly compulsory so bring your dancing shoes and let the good times roll!


Friday 21 July 2023

Live music: The Bluetones + Cusp
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25

The Bluetones are heading back to Bedford Esquires for a festival warm up on Friday 21 July.

The band, formed in 1993, had an impressive run of hit singles throughout the late 90’s/early 00’s, including ’Bluetonic’, ‘Slight Return’, ‘Marblehead Johnson’, ‘Solomon Bites The Worm’, ‘If’ and ‘Keep the Fires Burning’.

They scored thirteen Top 40 singles and three Top 10 albums in the UK charts before a hiatus in 2010. Returning in 2015 with a run sell out shows the band continue to tour to packed houses up and down the UK.


Saturday 22 July 2023

Festival: The Patio Party: 002 – A Reggae, Dub, Roots and Ska Alldayer
Bedford Esquires @ midday – late
Free entry

It’s the return of one of Esquires’ best events of last year – it’s the 2023 edition of The Patio Party!

This Reggae, Dub, Roots and Ska alldayer is brought to you by the team behind FoodDrunk and is a celebration of a tiny island that has shaped music in culture like no other.

Last year was an absolute ram jam and a whole heap of fun. This year they’re ramping it up further, with more bands, more DJs and more rum!

Live music comes from The Pride, EasyDread, The SGs and Uprising, with Roll Your Own Records curating DJ sets from Ital Trio, Keiron Wolfson, Sherry McGill, Paul Miller and more.

Carumbar are once again setting up shop, with the finest Caribbean cuisine served throughout the day. Joining them this year are a new street food vendor we are very excited about, Taco Diablo, who will be bringing a Mexican twist to the proceedings.

The Patio Party Rum Punch bowls, created by the legendary Bears & Tales team, are back and there is FREE pint of Red Stripe for the first 50 people through the gates (one per person).

All ages welcome!


Saturday 22 July 2023

Festival: Take to the Streets
Throughout the town centre from 11.30am
Free

Six local acts – from circus to opera to Bollywood dancers – will take to the streets at iconic locations throughout the town centre this weekend to entertain locals and visitors alike from 11.30am.

Talented Bedfordians are bringing eclectic family-friendly performances to our historic High Street as part of the one-day ‘Take to the Streets’ festival.

Full details of timings and locations can be found here.


Saturday 22 July 2023

Workshop: Brave 2023 – Youth Theatre for All
The Place Theatre @ 1pm, 2pm, 3.30pm and 4.30pm
Tickets: Free

The Place Youth Theatre meets weekly to develop the skills of creative young people, tell stories, and make new friends.

They’re looking for creative young people to become the first participants in a brand new Youth Theatre, so if you want to use your imagination to explore the world you can audition to take part in the weekly workshops. Sessions will cover all kinds of storytelling from stage to screen, inside performance spaces to outdoor performance, and for audiences of one to crowds of 100s.

You don’t have to be experienced, you just need to be interested and excited about developing your skills as a performer, director, designer, technician, writer… and if you want to bring your own creative skills to the mix with other creative young people BRAVE could be just what you’re looking for.


Saturday 22 July 2023

Family fun: Arts and Crafts Family Fun Day
Emmaus Village Carlton, School Lane, Carlton MK43 7LQ @ 11am
Free entry

Bedfordshire homelessness charity, Emmaus Village Carlton is hosting an Arts and Crafts Family Fun Day on Saturday 22 July.

Promising to be a great day out for all the family, the Family Fun Day will feature a bouncy castle, ice-cream, arts and crafts stalls and activities, there will also be a selection of children’s clothing, as well as toys and games on sale in the community chapel.


Saturday 22 July 2023

Theatre: Nan Me and Barbara Pravi
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

An epic tale of love, loss and explaining how to use the microwave.

“I wish I could say here our story starts. But this story starts later and ended earlier. Is entirely fictional, and completely true. Voila.”
 
In 2021, Hannah Maxwell moved back to the Home Counties to care for her terminally ill grandfather. But this show isn’t about that. It’s about France’s Eurovision star Barbara Pravi, who’s just lovely.
 
In between cooking, cleaning and Countdown, Maxwell escapes into an intensifying fantasy of ballroom dances, heartfelt ballads, Parisian cafés, fluent French and definitely-not-creepy plots to engineer a meeting with a random foreign celebrity. It’s La La Land meets Mission Impossible meets Hannah’s nan.
 
Combining spoken word, video and la chanson francaise, Nan, Me and Brabara Pravi sits you down at the kitchen table to talk through grief and care, addiction and recovery, and hope and coping in unprecedented times.


Saturday 22 July 2023

Live music: Five Five Six
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm
Free entry

Five Five Six are back at the Cellar Bar for a great night of legendary rock tunes.


Sunday 23 July 2023

Walking: “The Jewel in Bedford’s Crown” guided walk
Bedford Town Centre @ 11am at the gold postbox in St Paul’s Square
Tickets: £3/£1.50

The River Great Ouse, Bedford: View from Newnham Bridge.
The River Great Ouse, Bedford: View from Newnham Bridge.

Join the Association of Bedford Tour Guides for one of their fascinating weekly walks. Each walk is of 90 minutes to two hours duration and covers a distance of one or two miles. Most walks are suitable for people who are less mobile.

Children of all ages are most welcome on all of our walks but those aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Each walk costs £3.00 per adult or £1.50 for children over 8. All walks must be pre-booked.


Sunday 23 July 2023

Music: Aayush Mohan: Shared Values Festival
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £15

The first Indian to perform at Grammy Museum Los Angeles, Aayush Mohan is today considered one of the finest Sarod players on the global scenario of Indian Classical Music.

His Sarod playing is enriched with traditional repertoire of ragas and the old-world classical essence and yet is a favorite among listeners of all genres. Aayush Mohan has won the hearts of audiences at prestigious classical music festivals and venues across the world. He is also a noted speaker and has given several talks on Indian classical music on platforms like TEDx to make the younger generation more aware about classical music.

In March 2022, Aayush performed at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre London for ‘The Ravi Shankar centenary’ concert with Anoushka Shankar, John Maclaughlin and other eminent musicians.


Sunday 23 July 2023

Live music: Willy Mason + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £18

Bedford welcomes NYC’s Willy Mason to Esquires for his first show in Bedford. Willy Mason burst into the Indie-Folk scene in 2004, with the huge support behind his single ‘Oxygen’.

A string of commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums have followed for an artist often talked about in the same breath as Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.


Every Thursday

Cocktails, Quiz Night & Karaoke
The Cellar Bar from 5.00pm

Pit your wits against The Cellar Bar’s resident quizmaster to see if you can win the jackpot every Thursday from 8pm. £2 per person entry and a maximum of six per team. The winning team will win the jackpot PLUS a round of shots. Followed by Karaoke til close


Every Saturday

Food & drink: Cocktail mixology masterclass
The Cellar Bar @ 3pm / doors open at 12 noon
£30 per person

The Cellar Bar’s resident mixologist, Marley, will explain how to create some outstanding cocktails for your tasting enjoyment. Then, it’s your turn to put what you’ve learned into practice by making (and drinking) three cocktails!


Every Sunday

Live Music: Open Mic Night
The Cellar Bar @ 7.30pm
Free Entry

Every Sunday, join Mat Roberts for the Cellar Bar’s weekly Open Mic night. An opportunity for new and experienced performers to get up on stage and perform.

So whether you think you are the next Tom Grennan or just want a good night of entertainment, head the to Cellar Bar from 7.30pm.


Until 2024

Exhibition: We Are Ten
The Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane
Free entry

The Higgins begins its 10th birthday celebrations with an exhibition featuring old favourites and rarely seen works from the collection, all chosen by organisations, groups and individuals who have worked with the museum and gallery over the last decade.

The exhibition runs for the next year, with special events planned next month to mark the exact date the museum reopened in 2013. Watch this space for more information.


Until 2024

Exhibition: Edward Bawden – Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Higgins Bedford @ Tues – Sat: 11am – 5pm/Sun: 2pm – 5pm/Closed Mondays
Free entry

The Titfield Thunderbolt 1952 by Edward Bawden. Image: The Edward Bawden Estate
The Titfield Thunderbolt 1952 by Edward Bawden. Image: The Edward Bawden Estate

Let Edward Bawden transport you in this exhibition celebrating all things travel.

Drawn exclusively from the Higgins Bedford’s Edward Bawden archive, see large linocuts of London’s iconic stations and an array of wonderful vehicles from hot air balloons to jumbo jets and tall ships to cruise liners.

Read: New Edward Bawden ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ exhibition to open this weekend


Theatre highlights by Paula Walker