Your Bedford weekend starts here: 5 – 7 July 2019

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Spitfires

What a weekend we’ve got in store. Best-selling authors, incredible illustrators, live music, theatre, exhibitions, Northern Soul, wrestling and more…

Friday

Gaol!

John Bunyan Museum’s Summer Exhibition is now open. ‘Gaol! Banged-up in Bedford’and this will run from Tuesday 2 July to Saturday 27 October. The exhibition looks at crime and punishment from 17th century to the present day. Find out more about what life was like in prison for famous author and prisoner of conscience John Bunyan. Learn about the terrible conditions John Howard saw when he was Bedford’s High Sheriff and the reforms he made. Discover what life is like today for people in modern prisons like Bedford Prison. From 11am and 4pm. Free to enter.

NT Live Small IslandAndrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel Small Island comes to life in an epic new theatre adaptation, screened at the Quarry Theatre as part of National Theatre Live’s 10th birthday.

Small Island embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.

The play follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.

A company of 40 actors take to the stage of the National Theatre in this timely and moving story. 7pm. Tickets: £12.50

Jonny & the Mental Breakdowns

Jonny and The Mental Breakdowns – punk rock from Milton Keynes – play in Danny’s Bar at Esquires. From 7.30pm. With support from Lågërshøp and Exploding Ear Ensemble.

SpitfiresTHE SPITFIRES + Nick Corbin
8pm, Friday 5th July, Bedford Esquires

“Watford based 3-piece The Spitfires are songwriter Billy Sullivan on lead vocals and guitar, Sam Long on bass/backing vocals and Matt Johnson on drums. The Spitfires take in a wide range of influences from reggae and ska through to punk and soul. This melting pot has helped infuse the band’s own sharp sound and style. Tickets: £13.50

Saturday

Dance in BedfordBedford’s Dance Showcase takes place this Saturday at Riverside Bedford. Demonstrations and taster sessions from dance groups and clubs in Bedford throughout the day from 10.30am – 5pm.

Just 50p per class or £2 for the whole day. No booking necessary, just turn up – two feet welcome!

BooktasticFrom 10am this Saturday, BookTastic Children’s Book Festival, Bedford’s annual celebration of children’s and YA books, is back from 10am at the Quarry Theatre.

In what is their most exciting event to date, BookTastic welcomes some old faces, and makes some new friends..

This year’s visiting best-selling authors include: Christopher Edge (The Many Lives of Maisie Day, The Jamie Drake Equation); Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines); Sarah McIntyre (Pugs of the Frozen North); Steve Cole (Astrosaurs, Dr Who); James Nicol (The Apprentice Witch); AF Harrold (The Imaginary, Greta Zargo, Things You Find In A Poet’s Beard); Dean Atta (Proud); and our very own David Litchfield (The Bear and the Piano). Full details on their Facebook page.

Keep it Green 2019Keep It Green 2019 is an an eco fair with speakers, stands and workshops, including a guest appearance from the BedPop Repair Shop. It takes place at the John Bunyan Museum this Saturday and features speaker, Dr Rupert Read talking about his most recent book, Facing up to Climate Reality.

4ToTheFloorFrom 2pm, the 4ToTheFloor day party at Herd brings a group of DJs, producers and dancers with a unique blend of 4/4 beats from house, techno, disco, garage, broken beat, disco to jazz and everything that makes sense in the mix.

Boombastic

BOOMBASTIC’s popular 90s vs 00s party to the BRAND NEW clubroom at Bedford Esquires. Expect all of the biggest hits and anthems of the 90s and 00s and all the good times you can handle. From 9.30pm. Tickets: £6

Sunday

Tour GuidesBedford is lucky enough to have many statues by pre-eminent sculptors of their day. Walk with the Tour Guides this coming Sunday to find out about the sculptural ‘silent faces’ which you probably pass by regularly but know little or nothing about.

Meet at the Old Town Hall, St.Paul’s Square close to the gold plated letter box. Cost £3 per person, must be pre-booked at the Box Office.

Esquires Beatle JamFor over 5 years now the first Sunday afternoon session in July at Esquires is reserved for our annual BeatleJam. Many of Bedford’s top local performers take part performing on their own as part of a group,performing their favourite Beatles songs. If you would like to take part contact Mat Roberts at matrobertsmusic@aol.com
From 5pm

Sunday Afternoon Soul Sessions are back at Esquires. An afternoon of top quality soul music for likeminded soul people with the two Rays – Ray Mahoney and Ray Laycock – plus resident players Hammie & Geoff. 3 – 8pm

WrestlingSouthside Wrestling – Chop Gunn 2 is at  Bedford Corn Exchange on Sunday. This huge show features stars from around the world including America, Japan, Canada, China, Australia, France and more. The show will feature ITV Love Island star Adam Maxted as well as multiple title matches and women’s action. From 4pm. Tickets: £15

Brough to you in association with Explore Bedford and the Bedford Clanger.