Bedford Park Festival 2020

In 2020 the Bedford Park Festival took place online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Chiswick Calendar was pleased to be one of several digital platforms hosting events.

The Festival started on Friday 12 June with a virtual Green Days fete over the weekend, complete with a virtual Craft Festival and a virtual Band Stand. Over the following two weeks there was a programme of online events including plays, talks and concerts.

Bedford Park Festival reinvented online as a virtual festival

When it became evident that live events attracting the usual crowds were out of the question, The Chiswick Calendar got together with the organisers to see how much of the programme we could rescue by recreating it online.

Quite a lot as it turned out. The events raised money for a group of charities, including The Upper Room, which supports homeless people, and needed their help more than ever that year.

Images above: Phyllis Logan, Kevin McNally, John Rowe, Jeremy Vine

Two new radio plays and a Jazz album

We were pleased to host not one, but three premieres, the first of which is a short radio play by local resident and actor Christina Balmer. It’s only 12 minutes long, but every word’s a pearl.

Dusted with Sugar

The play is set, fittingly, at a church fete. Phyllis Logan, the actor best known for her role as the housekeeper Mrs Hughes in Downton Abbey, plays a champion cake maker, embittered by being unexpectedly knocked off the top slot. The play’s other character, the vicar, is played by Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels Church, who in my opinion is wasted as an actual vicar.

Listen to Dusted with Sugar here.

Creature Features 

What would happen if a journalist went to interview the pets and wildlife of West London during lockdown? What are their lives like with the humans all at home?

A play for all the family to listen to together, featuring actors Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey), Kevin McNally, (Pirates of the Caribbean), Lucy Briers (Pride & Prejudice) and John Rowe (The Archers), and journalist & broadcaster Jeremy Vine.

Listen to Creature Features here.

Trio Manouche – The Isolation Sessions

Since our Jazz at George IV nights came to an abrupt halt with the coronavirus, The Chiswick Calendar and Jazz promoter Larry Pryce are particularly pleased to be able to present the YouTube Premiere of Gypsy Jazz band Trio Manouche presenting their new album, recorded during Lockdown, The Isolation Sessions.

Trio Manouche always pull a crowd and number Paloma Faith and Sting among their fans.

Photography Competition and Summer Exhibition

The Chiswick Calendar hosted the Bedford Park Festival Photography Competition and the Summer Exhibition of art works online.

People were able to vote for their favourite photographs in each of eight categories and choose the photograph they liked best in the whole competition as well.

The art work in the Summer Exhibition is always for sale, tpo raise money for charity. To buy a piece of original art, get in touch with Miriam Morris by email at:

Talk by Mark Fox on Frank Matcham, who designed the Chiswick Empire

Mark Fox, Chairman of the Frank Matcham Society, gave a talk about Frank Matcham, the great theatre designer who was so prolific in Victorian and Edwardian times that he set an image of how a theatre should be which has lasted until the present day.

Among the many theatres he designed, all over Britain, was the Chiswick Empire. Mark has done some new research into our theatre, which was knocked down in the 1950s, which he presents in his talk to mark the centenary of Frank Matcham’s death. This talk has been produced by The Chiswick Calendar.

Bedford Park Virtual Open Gardens

Open Gardens went online as well. Those interested in gardens could take a tour of some of the best kept gardens in the neighbourhood, for inspiration, or just out of sheer nosiness!

The Open Gardens could be enjoyed in photos and video on Flickr and Instagram: a different garden was revealed each day over a period of a week. The garden pictured above belongs to Di in Queen Anne’s Grove.

Silent Auction of Gifts and Promises

Friday 12 June 2020, 18:00 to Sunday 28 June 2020, Chiswick people could bid for something in the Gifts and Promises Auction. There was everything from Christmas puddings to dog walking sessions.

And much, much more …

These are just some of the fortnight’s highlights, showing how inventive people can be when faced with adversity. We had music, talks, poetry and wine tasting, just not in person.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bedford Park

See also: Bedford Park Festival – About the festival

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.