Image above: The Bohemians, international Queen tribute band

Chiswick Festival 10 August – 9 September 2020

A group of local people on furlough from working in the events industry is behind the Chiswick Festival, which has burst on to the scene to replace cancelled events at Chiswick House.

All this month there is a range of live music and comedy on 17 nights throughout August and September, beginning on 21 August with Russell Kane, Edinburgh and Melbourne comedy award winner and regular performer on BBC TV’s Live at the Apollo. During the day there are regular fitness sessions – yoga, Pilates and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in the early morning, at lunchtime and in the early evening.

Images above: Tom Allen, Russell Kane, Dara O’Briain

‘Take back your summer’

The Chiswick Festival was conceived by Thorfan Armstrong, whose father John chairs Chiswick House Friends, currently raising money for Chiswick House & Gardens Trust with their Lego brick appeal. With the cancellation of their whole programme of events, from private weddings to Pub in the Park, Chiswick House was looking at a shortfall of half a million pounds this year.

“You’re on furlough, why don’t you see what you can do to help?” said John, in May. So Thorfan and his colleagues have been quietly planning, only able to firm up the dates once the Government announced a month ago that open air performances could go ahead.

Their slogan is ‘Take back your summer – socially distanced outdoor events for life in the new normal’. Headlining the comedy line-up is Dara O’Briain on 4 September and top of the music bill is international tribute band The Bohemians, who have performed all over the world at festivals and theatres, filling football stadiums and big music venues with their high energy tribute to Queen.

Image – Thorfan Armstrong

Festival programme

Other acts include:

Jeremy Vine is offering ‘A light-hearted look at politics, news (and ‘fake news’), culture and of course, Coronavirus’ on Tuesday 25 August. Billed as ‘a one-night-only experience you won’t want to miss’.

Sell-out comedy show Bogan Bingo is on Thursday 27 August.

‘An undeniably unique night of entertainment mixing classic 80s anthems, spectacular prizes, appalling choreography and some mullet haired bingo callers – all tentatively held together by an eye-watering version of the classic game of bingo.’

Comedian Joel Dommett will be performing stand-up on Friday 28 August. His solo shows often sell-out and he is very popular on the stand-up scene with his natural charm and quick wit.

Lucy Garrioch, well known for her West End performances, will be performing some well known and well-loved songs on Tuesday 1 September.

Lucy was lead vocalist and vocal captain on board the prestigious Queen Elizabeth (Cunard). Lucy has since travelled the world with her 1 woman show as a headliner act.

Images above: Jeremy Vine, Joel Dommett, Lucy Garrioch

Thorfan’s team includes Sue and Jonah Manley, Jonathan Geitner and George Stern, who are all Chiswick based. Many of the performers are also local – broadcaster Jeremy Vine and musicians Milly Forrest and Lucy Garrioch and all well known to Chiswick audiences from the Bedford Park Festival.

Once the group have covered their costs, 25% profits will go to Chiswick House & Gardens Trust. See the whole event programme and get tickets on the Chiswick Festival website.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick flower market opening Sunday 6 September

See also: Chiswick Auctions