What’s on Bedford: 24 August – 3 September


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.

This week’s What’s On Guide is sponsored by Sundown Cinema, who are once again at the Bedford Running Festival with outdoor screenings from 1 – 3 September. See more details on our listing below.

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 @ 7:30pm
£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!

Thursday 24 August 2023

Live music: Planet Swing
Wixams Dance Hall @ 8pm
£12/person, live music from top-quality Swing & Jive Bands Band + DJ from 8-10:30pm.

This week the Gary Wood Swing Band will be entertaining with a varied set list inspired by the ‘rat pack’ era. Their extensive repertoire includes favourites from Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Dean Martin to mention just a few. And with more contemporary tunes there’s something for everyone. Free Parking for dance/band attendees. Licenced cashless bar.

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.

Saturday 26 August 2023

Live music: Bank holiday special featuring Five Five Six with Roxze
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm – 2am
Free entry

Calling all Five Five Six & Roxze fans. The Cellar Bar are super-excited to announce that Five Five Six will be performing from 8.30pm until very late, thanks to their late license.

They will be playing familiar songs as well as some older songs you may not have heard for a while.

And, if that’s not enough, they will also be performing with Roxze.

If you’ve not seen Five Five Six at The Cellar Bar before, you are in for a treat. Get ready for a great night of legendary rock tunes.

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.

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 southeast. 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.

Monday 28 August 2023

Family Fun: Lucky Pigeons & Juggling Workshops
The Place Theatre @ 3pm
Tickets: from £12

Open Air Circus for all the Family to enjoy this summer!

A treat for the whole family, Lucky Pigeons defies gravity to conjure a surreal world where a flock of energetic, curious pigeons dwell. Join us on a journey to a magical space created through incredible contemporary circus skills.

A young businessman struggles with the demands of city life and, after losing his job, takes his frustrations out on a group of pigeons. Karma soon returns, however, and the man finds himself turned into a pigeon, where he quickly learns about the playful world of this misunderstood animal.

With a mix of absurd and extravagant theatre, impressive acrobatics, empathetic and funny stories and a pinch of satirical spice and puppetry, the Lucky Pigeons will perform daring aerials and acrobatic feats in this soulful story for all the family.

Try your hand at juggling at one of the workshops which take place before and after the show. 

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Family fun: Trains, Planes and Automobiles junk modelling workshop
The Higgins Bedford @ 11.15am, 12.45pm and 2.15pm
Tickets: £5 per child (Use promotional code HIGGINS30 to avoid any transaction fee)

Reuse throwaway materials, add your imagination and create your own vehicle to race, in this junk modelling activity delivered to you with local creative workshop leader Kaye Mahoney. 

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Art: The Circus of Illustration’s Drink and Draw
The Park pub, Kimbolton Road @ 7.30pm
Free (donation appreciated)

The Circus of Illustration’s monthly Drink and Draw is back and everyone (over 18) is welcome. This month’s theme is ‘Wanted!’, creating wanted posters for the villain in your life.

Wanted for the crime of… drinking straight from the milk carton, losing the remote control, parking outside the lines, plant murder? Design a poster to vent your personal pet peeves.

Drink and Draw is for you if you’d like to chat with new people who like creative stuff, want to do some no-pressure doodling and would like to get inspired.

Any skill level, free to attend, no need to book, just turn up. Equipment and resources are provided in a no-pressure, relaxed atmosphere to chat, drink and doodle.

Wednesday 30 August – Saturday 2 September

Opera: Bedfordshire Youth Opera presents: Cinderella (Cendrillon)
University of Bedfordshire theatre, Polhill Avenue @ 7.00pm
Tickets: £20. Under 18: £12

Bedfordshire Youth Opera are excited to announce their 2023 production will be Jules Massenet’s Cinderella (Cendrillon) in English translation. Performed by talented young singers aged between 14 and 26 years.

This opera is based on the classic tale and includes all the usual characters and some of the events: the sisters, the stepmother, the father, Prince Charming, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and a grand ball. However, in this tale, after the ball Cinderella and Prince Charming get lost in the woods, and when Cinderella wakes from a deep sleep, she finds herself back at home in bed. Was the whole thing a dream?

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Drag Showcase:  Miss Palma Violet and Miss Lushes Lips
The Cellar Bar @ 8.00pm
Free entry

The Cellar Bar will be bringing the laughter, fun and (adult) entertainment with two fabulous local drag queens – Miss Palma Violet and Miss Lushes Lips this week.

Expect live cabaret, lip synching, adult fun and games, insult comedy, raffle, disco and more…

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Live music: Jeffrey Lewis and the Voltage + Firestations
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £16.50

Cult New York musician Jeffrey Lewis will be appearing in Bedford for the very first time when he plays Esquires this August.

With a world-wide fan base which includes Laura Marling, Regina Spektor, Ben Gibbard and Jarvis Cocker, Jeffrey’s unique style of fuzzy indie-folk and deadpan lyrics has seen him receive rave reviews and multi-page features in publications like The Guardian, Rolling Stone and The New York Times.

Also a prolific comic book artist, Jeffrey Lewis’ songs are sharp, literate and often hilarious, and his live show might also feature an illustrated slide show about Mark E Smith or the records of Sonic Youth.

Jeffrey has performed with the likes of Stephen Malkmus (Pavement), Dinosaur Jr, Pulp, Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston. Now backed by his band The Voltage and with his previous UK tour completely sold out in advance, this is an unmissable opportunity to catch one of contemporary America’s greatest living songwriters.

Thursday 31 August 2023

Live music: United by Music tour presents Newton Faulkner
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £28

Esquires has teamed up with The National Lottery and Music Venue Trust for a #UnitedByMusic summer show with the brilliant, platinum-selling artist, Newton Faulkner.

Thursday 31 August 2023

Live music: Planet Swing
Wixams Dance Hall @ 8pm
£12/person, live music from top-quality Swing & Jive Bands Band + DJ from 8-10:30pm.

This week the Last Chance Ragtime Band, is a stomping Lindy Hop Jazz Band playing the best swing music and dedicated to putting jazz on the dance floor. Taking their inspiration from the New Orleans Jazz Bands of Frenchman Street, they’ll play music from the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Ella, Benny Goodman, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael. Free Parking for dance/band attendees. Licenced cashless bar.

Friday 1 – Sunday 3 September 2023

Film: Sundown Cinema at Bedford Running Festival
Russell Park
Tickets: £15/£11/£5.50/£1.50

Sundown Cinema is once again teaming up with the Bedford Running Festival to bring their open-air cinema to Russell Park.

There’s a screening for everyone, from day time family screenings – perfect for the little ones – to an evening screening – perfect for a night under the stars.

This year’s films are:

Friday 1 September: Top Gun @ 8pm
Saturday 2 September: Matilda the Musical @ 10am
Saturday 2 September: Super Mario Bros @ 1.30pm
Sunday 3 September: Encanto @ 11am

All tickets can be booked at TicketSource.

Friday 1 September 2023

Comedy: Ed Byrne: Tragedy Plus Time
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £22.50

Attributed to Mark Twain, humour is defined as Tragedy Plus Time. Come and join Ed as he tests that formula by mining the most tragic event in his life for laughs.

Friday 1 September 2023

Live music: Robyn Hitchcock + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £16

Robyn Hitchcock is one of England’s most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. A surrealist poet, talented guitarist, cult artist and musician’s musician, Hitchcock is among alternative rock’s father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan.

Since founding the art-rock band The Soft Boys in 1976, Robyn has recorded more than 20 albums as well as starred in ‘Storefront Hitchcock’ an in-concert film recorded in New York and directed by Jonathan Demme.

Blending folk and psychedelia with a wry British nihilism, Robyn describes his songs as ‘paintings you can listen to’.

Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 September 2023

Sport/family fun: Bedford Running Festival 2023
Russell Park @ all weekend

The Bedford Running Festival is more than just a running event, it’s where running meets festival fun and magical memories (and PBs) are made.

Throughout the weekend there will be epic races as well as food, fun, films and entertainment for the whole family.

When it comes to running, you can choose from the Raring2Go mini-mile, Bedford 5k, Twilight 10k, Bedford half marathon or the Bedford 20. If you’re more into the relaxed, festival vibe, Russell Park will host the UK’s biggest mobile bar, live music, food and drink, outdoor cinema, health and wellbeing zone and a kids’ funfair.

Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September 2023

Comic Con: NICE Comic Con
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 10am – 5.30pm (Saturday) and 11am – 5pm (Sunday)
Tickets: £26.50/£12.50 (weekend ticket) / £16.50/£6.50 (day ticket)

NICE is the UK’s most relaxed comic convention, run by the team behind the Close Encounters shop on Allhallows.

With visitors congregating from all over the world, come and meet the stars of the comic book world, including over 30 world-renowned artists from Marvel, DC, Image and more.

Read: Annual comic-con brings international artists to Bedford

Saturday 2 September 2023

Theatre: NTLive presents Fleabag
The Quarry Theatre @ 2pm & 7pm
Tickets: £15

Written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and directed by Vicky Jones, Fleabag is a rip-roaring look at some sort of woman living her sort of life. Following a box-office record-breaking run in cinemas in 2019, the one-woman
show returns to cinemas to the big screen this summer.

Fleabag may seem oversexed, emotionally unfiltered and self-obsessed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With family and friendships under strain and a guinea pig café struggling to keep afloat, Fleabag suddenly finds herself with nothing to lose.

Saturday 2 September 2023

Live music: TRANSMISSION – The Sound Of Joy Division + The Velvets
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Devoted to recreating the atmosphere of a live Joy Division gig, Transmission emulates the sound of one of the most inventive, evocative and influential groups of their era.

Joy Division were formed in the late 1970s and dissolved in May 1980 after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. The remaining members went on to form New Order and have achieved much critical and commercial success.

The influence of Joy Division, however, was far-reaching. They were considered the pioneering band of the post-punk movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Forty years on you can still relive the dark, cavernous sound of Joy Division through Transmission, the UKs number one Joy Division tribute act.

Sunday 3 September 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

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 3 September 2023

Game Play: Wifi Wars
The Place Theatre @ 2pm & 6pm
Tickets: from £10

WiFi Wars returns with the live comedy game show where you all play along! Log in with your smartphone or tablet and compete in a range of games, puzzles and quizzes to win the show and prizes.

Hosted by comedian Steve McNeil (team captain on UK TV’s hit comedy/gaming show “Dara O’Brian’s Go 8 Bit”) and aided by Guinness-World-Record-Breaking tech whizz, the award-winning Rob Sedgebeer.

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