Bedford Park Festival
Thanks to Jon Perry, St Michael & All Angels Church and the organisers of the Bedford Park Festival for allowing us to use their lovely images.
A celebration of arts, culture and community
The Bedford Park Festival is a two week arts and community festival which takes place early in June. A celebration of the arts, with music concerts, theatre productions, art and photography shows, walks and talks, the festival raises money for St Michael & All Angels Church and three church charities.
It has an excellent reputation for high production standards, particularly for its Classical music concerts, which are a staple of life all year round at St Michael & All Angels Church. The festival opens with a preview evening for the art and photographic exhibitions in the church itself and continues with a wide-ranging programme including talks and performances in St Michael & All Angels Church, Bath Rd, W4 1TT, in the Chiswick Playhouse theatre opposite, and in some private houses. There are walks around Bedford Park and some of the residents open their gardens to the public.
In 2020 the Festival went online because of the coronavirus emergency. See the 2020 programme of online events here.
Photographs above: Downton Abbey actor Elizabeth McGovern talking to singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor; broadcaster Jeremy Vine, Downton Abbey actor Phyllis Logan and former actor and TV presenter Gavin Campbell among local celebrities taking a group selfie; Master of Ceremonies Torin Douglas at the mic.
GREEN DAYS – The opening weekend, Green Days, is the church summer fete on Acton Green, which has grown into a two day festival all of itself. Always opened by a local celebrity, there are craft stalls, live music, games for children, a fun fair … Read more about Green Days here.
Photographs above: Portrait of her mother Eha by Sirli Raitma; Stag by Mark Lawson; Pulling Together by John Clare
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION – Over the opening weekend there is an exhibition of photography in the parish hall, which is also a competition. Members of the public can vote on their favourite images in each category and a professional photographer chooses an overall winner. The Chiswick Calendar is involved in the organisation of it, so you can also see the entries on this website … Have a look here at the entries for 2020 and 2019.
Photographs above: Summer Exhibition programmes from 1989, 1994 and 2017
SUMMER EXHIBITION – Every year there is an exhibition of art work for sale in the church … which you can find out more about here.
Photographs above: Sandy Burnett; Milly Forrest; David Juritz
MUSIC, POETRY, THEATRE – During the Bedford Park Festival fortnight there is always a varied programme of music, poetry and theatre. Professional musicians who live locally and are regulars at the festival include conductor, bassist and broadcaster Sandy Burnett, soprano Milly Forrest and virtuoso violinist David Juritz. You can see profile interviews with Sandy here, Milly here and David here. Cahal Dallat, himself a poet, musician and critic, leads an annual walk about Bedford Park talking about its most celebrated former resident, Nobel peace prize winning poet WB Yeats. Read more about his connections with Chiswick here.
Photographs above: Garden of Tracey & Ian Hall, who open their garden to the public for the Bedford Park Festival
OPEN GARDENS – A number of the householders in Bedford Park open their gardens to the public and on the last Sunday the festival comes to an end with a tea party in the vicarage gardens.
Paintings above: Umbellifers by Henrietta Parsons and Crows of Mumbai by Isobel MacLeod
ARTISTS AT HOME – There is a long tradition in Chiswick of artists opening their homes and studios to the public every summer. Artists At Home always takes part during the festival fortnight. Find out more about the artists who take part here.
2017 Golden Jubilee year
The Bedford Park Festival celebrated 50 years in 2017. The anniversary programme included the brilliant young clarinet virtuoso Anna Hashimoto, who joined distinguished violinist David Juritz and friends to celebrate their 25th Summer Serenade and Supper with the Mozart Clarinet Quintet. Young soprano Milly Forrest staged a performance of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with the Young London Sinfonia and singers from the London Conservatoire.
Kate Dimbleby, singing daughter of the famous media family, returned to the Festival with songs from her album Songbirds; award-winning author and historian William Dalrymple was interviewed by broadcaster Susannah Simons; and novelist and former Chiswick resident Mavis Cheek performed some of her favourite poems.
BEDFORD PARK FESTIVAL VIDEOS – Watch The Chiswick Calendar’s video archive of the Bedford Park Festival here.
TORIN DOUGLAS – Read a profile of Torin Douglas MBE, Director of the Chiswick Book Festival and one of the leading lights of the Bedford Park Festival here.
HISTORY OF THE BEDFORD PARK FESTIVAL – Read Torin’s piece about the festival’s history here.
The Festival has its own website. In the run up to June this is where you go to book ticket and to find out how to get involved.