Bedford Park Festival Videos
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.
If you’d like to know more about the festival, scroll down to watch these festival videos produced by The Chiswick Calendar team.
50 years of the Bedford Park Festival
Torin Douglas, former BBC News journalist and one of the main organisers of the festival
talks here about the festival’s history and traditions stretching back 50 years
Local celebrity, singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis Bextor
celebrating 50 years of the Bedford Park Festival in 2016
Local resident, Downton Abbey actor Phyllis Logan
on why she loves Green Days
Former Children’s TV presenter Sarah Greene
explains why Green Days is special to her
Bedford Park Festival Photography competition
Every year at the Bedford Park Festival there’s an exhibition of photography tucked away up in the Parish Hall of St Michael & All Angels Church for the duration of the opening weekend. The Chiswick Calendar and Snappy Snaps are sponsors. Anyone can enter, but you have to get your entries printed out and delivered about a week before the festival. Entry details are on the Bedford Park Festival website. bedfordparkfestival.org
There are categories for places and people, children’s and adult work and the competition is judged by members of the public with a guest judge, who is usually a professional photographer.
Art – The Summer Exhibition
The Summer Exhibition has been a feature of the Bedford Park Festival for decades. An opportunity for local artists, children and adults, to show their work and sell it, the pictures are on display in St Michael & All Angels Church during the festival. The Bowyers are a famous family of artists who live locally. Francis Bowyer NEAC PPRWS showed Nick Raikes around the exhibition in 2015, the year in which his father William Bowyer RA died.
Both father and son had pictures in the exhibition that year.
Music – Soprano Milly Forrest
Milly Forrest hit the headlines in 2017 as the cloakroom girl at the Wigmore Hall who was asked to stand in at short notice for a singer who was ill. The young soprano from Chiswick finished her studies in 2018 and is embarking on her professional career. She spoke to The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne on the eve of the Bedford Park Festival 2018.
Music – Virtuoso Violinist David Juritz
What’s the difference between rock music and classical? One finger according to violinist David Juritz. The internationally known musician talked to Bridget Osborne about his career, the highlights and mishaps along the way, his passion for tango and his plans for the 2018 Bedford Park Festival.
Music – Conductor, Bassist and Broadcaster Sandy Burnett
Sandy Burnett is a conductor, bassist, broadcaster, author and lecturer with a passion for communicating music. A specialist in Bach and and a former BBC Radio 3 presenter, he is also passionate about Jazz and has put the two together, improvising on Baroque and Renaissance themes with fellow musicians David Gordon and Tom Hooper. Sandy Burnett talked to The Chiswick Calendar editor Bridget Osborne, before performing at the 2018 Bedford Park Festival.
Theatre – Fondly Remembered
As part of the Bedford Park Festival 2015, Fondly Remembered, a very funny new play by Gareth Armstrong, was performed at the Tabard Theatre by a group of actors who lived in Chiswick and between them had notched up nearly 250 years of experience in TV and theatre (and it was a small cast!), in everything from Z Cars to Shakespeare.
How fitting that the play is about the ageing members of a theatre company getting back together to plan the memorial service of one of their colleagues, unearthing as they do rivalries and jealousies that go back fifty years.
Sadly Josie Kidd died in June 2018, so this was one of her last performances. Here she is enjoying herself tremendously.
Theatre – Walter and Lenny
In 1963 the Dean of Chichester Cathedral Dr Walter Hussey wrote to the internationally famous composer Leonard Bernstein to ask if he would write something for the Chichester Festival. The resulting friendship between the cleric and the composer of West Side Story produced the now famous Chichester Psalms.
More than 50 years later the collaboration inspired Peter McEnery to write a one man play based on the correspondence between the two men. Peter, who was a founder member of the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall, performed Walter and Lenny at the 2016 Bedford Park Festival, directed by his wife Julia St John. They spoke to Bridget Osborne about the play’s London premier at the festival and the letters which inspired it.
Theatre – Cast Aside
In 2015 creative collective The 15 presented Cast Aside, a new comedy by Tim Waller at the Bedford Park Festival. Christina Balmer talks about it to Bridget Osborne.
Book talks are mainly the preserve of the Chiswick Book Festival but sometimes authors come and talk about their books as part of the Bedford Park Festival.
2015 was the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Sonia Purnell talked about her book First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill. 2015 marked the 75th anniversary of Churchill becoming Prime Minister and the 50th anniversary of his death. Without Winston Churchill’s inspiring leadership Britain could not have survived its darkest hour and repelled the Nazis, but journalist and biographer Sonia Purnell makes a convincing case that without his wife Clementine, he might never have become Prime Minister.
2015 was the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, so WWII was a bit of a theme that year. Award winning documentary maker and author Deborah Cadbury talked about her new book Princes at War. An amazing cache of Wallis Simpson’s letters shed new light on how the royal family behaved during the war. Deborah Cadbury told The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne what she had discovered from these letters and from the Second World War intelligence documents she’s studied while researching her book.
Poetry always features in the Festival. Every year poet and broadcaster Cahal Dallat leads a WB Yeats walk around Bedford Park, celebrating the Nobel prize winning poet who was a Bedford Park resident in the 1880s and ‘90s.
One of the highlights of the 2015 Bedford Park Festival was BBC News correspondent Fergal Keane OBE reading Yeats poetry.
More about Green Days …
The opening weekend of the Bedford Park Festival is an opportunity for craft makers to sell their wares, as the Craft Fair is a mini fair within a fair and pitches are highly sought after.
Rowena Hughes, who sells a range of toys and clothes for babies and her own hand made candles under the trade name Rosy Rosie, starts her preparations for Green Days weeks before.
The best thing about Green Days
The main attraction of Green Days, the opening weekend of the Bedford Park Festival, is arguably the cakes. There are some mighty fine home bakers in Chiswick, whose Victoria sponges, lemon drizzle and coffee and walnut cakes are well worth making your way to Acton Green to sample.
Jenny de Montfort is usually queen bee of the refreshment tent. With some 5,000 people per day visiting the fair, she gets professional back up to deal with the onslaught. American cafe Outsider Tart have in past years provided the refreshment tent with shed loads of brownies. Not just any brownies but pecan strudel, peanut butter fudge cake and black forest brownies.
Jenny de Montfort and David Muniz of Outsider Tart talk serious cake making.
Go and see the bees
Every year the stall which holds the greatest fascination for many of the children at Green Days is the bee-keepers stall. They have a glass case containing live bees, showing how they work in the hive, and sell a great range of honey and jams.
Get your heirlooms valued
In 2019 Chiswick Auctions held a free valuation at Green Days and had a steady stream of people turning up at their tent with a whole variety of objects to be valued.
Top of the Bill at Green Days
There is always live music on the Saturday and Sunday of Green Days. Well-loved local band Creak are often top of the bill.
‘It’s our favourite gig of the year’ says Paul Rodger, and that’s saying something, as over the years the band has played at many of the great venues across London such as The Half Moon, The Water Rats, The Alley Cat, Fiddler’s Elbow and The Garage.
The Mulberry Centre
The Mulberry Centre is one of the charities which has benefitted from the proceeds of the Bedford Park Festival. The Mulberry Centre offers support and information to people with cancer.
The Upper Room
The Upper Room is one of the charities which has benefitted from the proceeds of the Bedford Park Festival. The Upper Room helps people who are homeless to get back on their feet.
Msaada works to help victims of Rwanda’s genocide and is one of the charities which has been supported by the Bedford Park Festival.
Find out more about the Bedford Park Festival on the festival website.