Green Days 2024, Bedford Park Festival, Chiswick

Image: Bric a brac stall and the bandstand behind at Green Days on Acton Green Common; photograph Jim Cox

The two day mega-fete (Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 June) which launches the Bedford Park Festival

It is always a bit touch and go at Green Days whether the skies will open and torrential rain descend, scattering Bedford Park Festival goers, sending them running for the nearest marquee like a wet game of musical chairs.

Last year it was unbearbly hot. This year, in classic English summer fete fashion, the clouds just threatened, teasing with a few drops of rain and then moving on to reveal a sunny sky, keeping people guessing whether they needed their coat, an umbrella, or suncream. Bit of each as it turned out.

Image (above): Plant stall; photograph Jim Cox. Images (middle): Cane chair maker; photographs Lucinda MacPherson; Image (below): Fr Kevin visiting beekeeper John Chapple; photograph Bridget Osborne

There is a children’s book I used to love reading to my kids when they were young, called ‘The Same But Different’ and that’s exactly how it is at Green Days, the annual two-day mega-fete run by St Michael & All Angels Church on Acton Green Common, which signals the start of the Bedford Park Festival.

There are the same compenents each year: the bar tent and the bandstand, the craft village and the cake tent, the merry-go-round and the dodgems. Even quite a lot of the same participants come year in, year out: the bee man, the bloke who makes cane furniture, and of course the vicar, Fr Kevin, in his trademark straw hat, and master of ceremonies Torin Douglas.

The bandstand features a fresh crop of young musicians each year, but they still like to play a few Beatles numbers and a bit of Led Zep. It all feels very comfortable in a world which increasingly appears to be going insane.

Image: Lara Pulver opens Green Days, pictured with Torin Douglas and Fr Kevin Morris

Lara Pulver opened Green Days this year, an actor with a great career in TV, (Spooks, Sherlock, The Split,) film (Spooks: The Greater Good) and theatre (Gypsy), who has moved to Chiswick with her family within the past year. She told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I actually feel like a little bit of a phoney because I’ve only just moved to Chiswick eleven months ago. I think the whole ethos of the festival is to fortify kindness within the community, and that’s exactly what we’ve experienced having been here for those eleven months. People couldn’t have been more welcoming to us and our family.

“And it’s just wonderful to be celebrating the arts. The fact that all these local businesses support this in such a big, big, generous way is fantastic. I think it’s a huge reflection on the community.”

She was not the only celebrity spotted among the crowds. Michael Sheen, fresh from his success in Nye at the National Theatre, was just visiting, while comedian Al Murray lives here. See who else you can spot who you know. Thanks to Jim Cox, Torin Douglas, Nick Raikes, George Westwood and Lucinda MacPherson for photographs.

Image: Al Murray by The Chiswick Calendar stall

Images: stalls, Lara judging the fancy dress competition, theme – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Threatening to rain; photographs Jim Cox

Images: Sunday morning mass on the Green; Keeping the robes out of the mud; Jim Cox

Images: Book stall; Win Mensah Larbie – preserves and African prints; Beer tent

Image (top): Stagecoach children performing at the bandstand; photograph Torin Douglas

Image (below): Watching the performers; photograph Nick Raikes

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar