What’s on Bedford: 17 – 27 August 2023


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 20 August 2023

Exhibition: This is Bedford – grand finale exhibition
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 10am – 5pm
Free entry

With artworks made by local artists and POP Bedford’s many visitors during the pop-up, inspired by the town and its people, this exhibition is truly a reflection of our wonderful town.

Read: Pride of Place Bedford – the grand finale

Until Saturday 19 August 2023

Musical theatre: Soho Cinders
Bedfordshire University theatre 
Ticket price: £18.50/£17.50

The Bedford Marianettes are very excited to announce that first up in August we have the ‘Stiles and Drewe’ (Mary Poppins) modern day classic – SOHO CINDERS. This will be performed in our new venue – The University Theatre, Bedford.

‘Celebrating London’s most colourful district and mixing politics, sex-scandals and true love, Soho Cinders is a deliciously naughty musical update of the Cinderella story with an infectious score that you’ll be humming long past the stroke of midnight!

Friday 18 August 2023

Live music: THE 900 – The Tony Hawk Pro Skater Covers Band + Guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Picture this… It’s August 1999, people are getting excited about Red and Blue Pills, Star Wars have embarked on the first of their many prequel films, frosted tips & Sea Monkeys are all the rage and the Dalek-esque tones of dial-up fill the airwaves and landlines… But none of that is important because Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has just entered the world of video games with a Soundtrack that we simply weren’t ready for!

The 900 are the UK’s first and only Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater cover band. Formed by their mutual understanding that no other soundtrack could ever top THPS, The 900 gives you a reason for your back to hurt in the morning. With the approval of the Birdman himself, they’re ready to kickflip into every big banger from THPS1 to American Wasteland.

So roll back the years, get in the pit and come thrash around to some of the best Punk Rock and Ska tracks from Tony Hawk’s legendary series featuring tracks from the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Misfits, Adolescents, Agent Orange, Goldfinger, Motorhead, Suicidal Tendencies, Papa Roach, Queens of the Stone Age, Swingin’ Utters, Zebrahead, Kiss and many more.

Friday 18 August 2023

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

Cellar Bar favourite Cameo is back for another performance, expect a beautiful voice and some cracking party tunes!

Friday 18 August 2023

Live music: The Bloodstreams + City Parking + GoGo Loco
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

The Bloodstreams: Four undead purveyors of alternative rock and upbeat melancholia. You will always find us in the graveyard at parties.

City Parking: Pulsating, rhythmic, speak/singing, think Baxter Dury meets Dry Cleaning. In a storm.

GoGo Loco: Garage rockabilly foot-stomping devilment.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Creative: Drawing Bedford Together – High Street drawing day
Harpur Square @ 11.30am – 3pm
Free to attend

Join the Circus of Illustration for a BIG DRAW in Bedford town centre.

All are welcome to pop along to say hello to the team of local illustrators, grab a pen and have a doodle on our big high street drawing. And it’s completely free.

This event will also celebrate the launch of the Circus of Illustration’s new zine, Drawing Bedford Together, featuring artworks by local artists on the subject of Bedford High Street. Anyone who joins in can have a copy of this beautiful book for free.

This event is part of and funded by the High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Walk: North Bedfordshire Ramblers afternoon countryside walk
Souldrop MK44 1HE @ 1.30pm

7.5 mile moderate walk towards Santa Pod and along Forty Foot Lane. Passing over Sharnbrook Tunnel then picking up the Three Shires Way.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Music: Twilight Date Night: Candlelight Piano Concert
The Place Theatre @ 7pm & 9pm
Tickets: from £16.96

Twilight Date Night is a romantic and elegant opportunity to dress up and go out with your friends or that special someone, bringing all the magic of a big city production without the long drive and travel costs to well-deserving smaller towns.

This is more than just a concert.  Listen as International pianist Stephen Guy Daltry takes you on an enchanting journey of love, mischief and betrayal.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Dance music: Norman Jay MBE + Mark Russell & Friends (rescheduled date)
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £20

Norman Jay MBE is unquestionably one of the most respected and popular DJs in the world today. Born in Notting Hill, Jay played his first gig aged eight at a 10th birthday party. Influenced by his father’s record collection of blue beat, ska and jazz, by the late 1970s he was considered an emerging authority on contemporary Afro-American music including funk, disco, soul and jazz fusion.

Jay originally coined the term, and subsequently fostered the emerging ‘Rare Groove’ scene, filling the airwaves and many warehouse parties under his Shake and Fingerpop guises, with the best in 70s & 80s grooves and nascent house cuts. Pushing the boundaries of the UK’s emerging club culture he went on to co-found the first ‘Paradise Garage’ style club in Britain – ‘High On Hope’, and, alongside kindred spirit Gilles Peterson, Norman established the Talkin’ Loud label, spearheading the Acid Jazz scene.

Throughout the late 80s and 90s, Jay continued to build a reputation as one of the world’s most popular DJs, packing clubs to the rafters wherever he played, taking the underground sounds of rare groove and house firmly into the mainstream. The turn of the century saw Norman Jay assume the role of elder statesman, receiving an MBE from the Queen for services to deejaying and music.

Listening to feedback from recent events the doors will open at the earlier time 8pm with DJ Mark Russell and friends firing up the sound-system and Norman’s set will take place from 10pm – midnight for those that need to employ a babysitter or don’t want to be out to the small hours.

Saturday 19 August 2023

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

After two years, nine studio releases and countless live performances, Crossroader are back and better than ever working on their upcoming projects!  Serving up some fantastic new material as well as some familiar crowd pleasers.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Live music: MÖRDERSTEIN ‘The Ultimate RAMMSTEIN Tribute’
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £10

Yorkshire-based rockers MÖRDERSTEIN are the ultimate tribute to German Industrial Metal Gods Rammstein and return by public demand to play Bedford Esquires again this summer.

The six-piece band led by Brüno Stahl are a fusion of huge guitars, haunting electro keyboards, thunderous percussion and soaring vocals.

Mörderstein deliver classic Rammstein anthems in an “over the top show” rammed packed full of face-melting pyrotechnics, dark humorous antics, and more S&M gear than a Mad Max movie!

Sunday 20 August 2023

Exhibition: POP Bedford Closing Party
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 10am – 5pm
Free entry

POP Bedford Closing Party artwork 2023 Image POP Bedford
Image: POP Bedford

Join POP Bedford for their official closing party on the final day of the pop-up and celebrate six weeks of incredible work created in collaboration with the people of Bedford.

As well as the This Is Bedford exhibit, there will be live performances throughout the day including dancing from Nritham Dance Academy, soloist Mizz Cassie, Red Cuthbert Morris, and DJ Kulcha Beats will be broadcasting live from In2Beats 106.5fm from 2pm.

Sit and enjoy the sunshine over some breakfast or lunch, Bedford’s own Franki’s Aperitivo Bar will be selling cocktails and mock-tails, as well as Curly Sisters Catering slinging handmade sourdough pizzas from their clay wood-fired oven.

Street food favourites Taco Diablo will also be there and follow up with dessert from Lina, Bedford’s most famous ice cream and doughnut lady, or head to the new It’s Crepe O’Clock for something sweet.

Come along and help set the precedent for the future, and set sights on finding a permanent space for a creative, community hub in the town centre.

Sunday 20 August 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

Bedford Sixth Form is on the site of the former Bedford High School for Girls on Bromham Road. Image: Google Streetview October 2021

Join the Association of Bedford Tour Guides for one of their fascinating weekly walks. Each walk is of 90 minutes to two hours in 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 20 August 2023

Live music: Music in the Meadows
Mill Meadows, Bedford Embankment @ 2pm

Music in the Meadows
Music in the Meadows (photo taken pre-Covid)

Fynnius Fogg will be performing on Mill Meadowns’ bandstand this Sunday, so, gather your family, pack a picnic, pull up a deckchair and enjoy some traditional entertainment.

Monday 21 August – Friday 25 August 2023

Workshop: Ma-GAME-Zine: for Young Imaginators
The Place Theatre @ 10am each day
Tickets: £15 per day or £65 for the week

This summer workshop for young people aged 11-16 will focus on creative writing, storytelling & game design.

Following on from the regular term-time RPG club sessions, this week-long summer workshop will encourage young people to work together to create their own ideas for games, which will be pulled together over the course of the week to create a Zine: full of ideas, snippets and adventures from the creative minds of the participants.

No prior knowledge of anything game/RPG is required, just an over-active imagination & a thirst for adventure. Perfect for young people interested in flexing their creative writing skills, as well as budding illustrators, cartoonists or visual artists.

Sessions run 10am – 4pm each day. There is a 45min break for a healthy lunch each day which will be provided on site (and included in the cost).

Tuesday 22 August 2023

On the water: EyeSpy Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Sovereigns Quay @ 12pm, 1.45pm & 3pm
Tickets: £7 adult/£4.50 child (plus booking fee)

Gran and granddaughter enjoying the Eye Spy Cruise on the John Bunyan Community Boat.

Keep the kids busy this summer holiday with the John Bunyan Family EyeSpy cruises. While you relax, the boat will cruise by Bedford’s landmarks along the Embankment amid the river wildlife. ncluded in the child cruise ticket is the John Bunyan community boat I-SPY card so you can tick off the landmarks that you spot.

Thursday 24 August 2023

Festival: Ukrainian Independence Day / ДЕНЬ НЕЗАЛЕЖНОСТІ УКРАЇНИ
Harpur Suite, Harpur Square @ 4pm – 8pm
Free entry

PBIC invites everyone to celebrate Ukrainian Independence Day on the 24 August to honour Ukrainian Independence and Freedom.

The event is free and there will be children’s entertainment, games and facepainting as well as traditional music, an art masterclass and exhbition.

The event is in collaboration with the Ukrainian Saturday School and Art School Tsymbal

Ми раді повідомити вам, що PBIC, за підтримки Bedford Borough Council організує День незалежності України на Harpur Suite 24 серпня о 16:00 годині.

Запрошуємо всіх українц

Thursday 24 August 2023

Quiz: The Simpsons Quiz
Bedford Esquires @
£2/person, maximum six people per team

Do you know your steamed hams from your tomaccos?

The head to Esquires to and test your knowledge of all things Simpsons with hosts Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo junior kemp and Nat Groening.
There are prizes to be won and Simpsons fancy dress extremely encouraged!

Friday 25 August 2023

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

Frenzy head to the Cellar Bar a fantastic night of new wave punk. The band describe themselves as a cross between Jilted John, the B52’s and Bob Dylan. Promises to be a night to remember!

Friday 25 August 2023

Live music: The Smyths 20th anniversary tour
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

‘We’ve lasted 20 years, 7 months and 27 days…’

Following their previous sell out appearances at Bedford Esquires, The Smyths will return to Bedford to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

To mark the occasion The Smyths will be playing a ‘Greatest Hits’ set celebrating the entire Smiths catalogue. Expect to hear ‘This Charming Man’, ‘There is a Light that Never Goes Out’, ‘How Soon is Now’ as well as your favourite b-sides and deep cuts…

No Support. The Smyths will perform two sets.

Friday 25 August 2023

Dance Music: Give Me Garage presents – So Solid Crew
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 9pm. Bar opens at 7pm
Tickets: £25

Calling all Bedford ravers – assemble your Garage Gang as you do not want to miss this. So Solid Crew will touch down in Bedford on Bank Holiday Friday and the tickets are flying!

Megaman, DJ Swiss and the Twin MC’s are set to raise the roof of the Bedford Corn Exchange as Give Me Garage returns homes to Bedford for the Smmer Skank Out.

Bedford boy, Sean Harvey and Mc Kie are bringing the ultimat Give Me Garage old school anthems plus more DJs, MCs and live acts to be announced.

Saturday 26 August 2023

Walk: North Bedfordshire Ramblers afternoon countryside walk
Little Staughton Church MK44 2BL @ 1.30pm

Six-mile moderate circular walk through the beautiful north Bedfordshire countryside.

If recently rained, Donkey Lane may be muddy, so please dress accordingly.

Bank Holiday Sunday 27 August 2023

Live music: Teenage Werewolves (Cramps Tribute) + She’s in Bauhaus (Bauhaus Tribute)
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £18

Mutant Movement are bringing Cramps tribute, Teenage Werewolves all the way from the US of A to Esquires on Bank Holiday Sunday.

If you like The Cramps, don’t miss them – they’re very, very good.

Saturday 26 August 2023

Live music: Bank holiday weekend doubleheader featuring Carlos & Fran + Five Five Six
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm – 2am
Free entry

This bank holiday weekend sees a doubleheader at the High Street’s Cellar Bar.

First up, Carlos and Fran perform at the venue for the first time as a duo, so expect classic acoustic tunes accompanied by the wonderful voice of Fran Pegg.

Five Five Six complete the line-up with a night of legendary rock tunes. Happy bank holiday!

Sunday 27 August 2023

Live music: Music in the Meadows
Mill Meadows, Bedford Embankment

Music in the Meadows
Music in the Meadows

Bedford Town Band draw this season’s Music in the Meadows programme to a close, so take this final opportunity to pull up a deckchair and enjoy some good old-fashioned music on Bedforod’s beautiful Embankment.

Sunday 27th August 2023

Live Music: Bank Holiday Sunday
The Cellar Bar @ 3pm – 3am
Free entry

Soul on Sunday kicks off the Bank Holiday Sunday fun at the Cellar Bar. from 3pm – 7pm DJ Shazza will be playing vinyl only.

Afterwards, listen or jam out at the weekly Open Mic, hosted by Mat Roberts and then stay until the small hours for Karaoke from 11.30pm onwards. 

Skank Holiday Sunday 27 August 2023

Live music: BIG 10 – ‘The Ultimate Ska / 2 Tone tribute band’
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Cambridge Ska legends BIG 10 will make their debut at Bedford Esquires for a Skank Holiday Special!

Renowned for a huge Ska sound, entertaining stage antics and a loyal following, Big 10 are one of the most popular ska / 2 tone acts in the south east. With eight -10 musicians on stage at gigs ( a two – three brass section and two to three singers) a Big 10 performance is a real treat for the senses.

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 7 January 2024

Exhibition: Quilla Constance – Teasing Out Contingencies
The Higgins Bedford until January 2024
Free entry

Don’t miss your chance to see eight new large-scale paintings and a costume installation by Bedford artist Quilla Constance (also known as QC) at The Higgins Bedford until 7 January 2024.

As British society becomes increasingly polarised, this exhibition seeks to cross social borders, confront stereotyping, and challenge gender, racial and class inequalities.

QC states “Teasing Out Contingencies seeks to create exciting new narratives to explore: what is British society now and where are we going?” – These are timely questions as we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic, and as we re-examine our relationship with the British monarchy in the wake of the Queen’s passing and the Coronation of King Charles III.

Read more here: Don’t miss the Teasing Out Contingencies exhibition at The Higgins Bedford

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

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