Bedford River Festival 2016
People travel from all over the world to attend this
event, which is just on your doorstep if you live in the borough!
Bedford’s hugely popular River Festival will take place on Saturday
16th – Sunday 17th July. The
2014 festival saw visitor’s numbers reach an amazing 250,000 and
with over 100 boats already signed up this year’s event promises to
be bigger than ever!
Mayor of Bedford Borough Dave Hodgson said
“One of the reasons why the River Festival is so special is the
fact that it is a genuine community event, with countless ways for
individuals and groups to get involved. The carnival parade is not
just spectacular to look at, but great fun to be a part of, while
the same applies to other activities on and off the river. So
I would encourage people to have a look at the opportunities to
take part, and to get in touch.”
The Bedford River Festival is free to the
public and offers numerous opportunities to participate in, or just
to relax and enjoy shows and performances from over 65 local bands
and groups across three stages on the a 105 acre site.
Events on the river include - the ever popular
illuminated boat parade; the kayak slalom; a Jet Boots displays and
the River Swim. In addition, the River Festival hosts two new
events this year, a hover craft display and a paddle board race.
Twenty two Dragon Boat teams and twenty two raft race teams have
already signed up, but places are still available for those wishing
to take part.
This year, in celebration of the
850th anniversary of Bedford Borough being granted
royal charter, there will be a Heritage Village on Castle Mound
recreating 11th century Bedford. Events across the
weekend include battle re-enactments, weapons demonstrations and
Food and Drink
A wide variety of food and drink will be
available in the Market Village and throughout the site, however;
for those wishing to get away from the busy atmosphere for a while,
restaurants in Castle Quay and Bedford town centre are only a short
Enjoy shows and performances from over 65 local bands and groups
across three stages on the 105 acre site.
Main Stage – Saturday night’s headliners
Symphonica ft. Mr Switch fuse together two different worlds. Expect
to hear classic tracks played by a full orchestra and accompanied
by critically acclaimed DJ, Mr Switch, to create a stunning musical
experience. Sunday night’s headliners are both a Specials, and a
Madness Tribute band! Special Kind of Madness combine both bands
greatest hits to create a set that is guaranteed to get the
audience up on their feet. Other acts on the Main Stage include
local band The Wholls; The Mariachis Band (as seen on the Dorito’s
advert); as well as many other bands, choirs and dance groups.
Community Stage – Acts on the Community Stage
include acoustic musician Kam Singh; traditional Punjabi drumming
and singing group the Rhythm Blasters; local dance school Kinetic
Vibes; and many more local groups to keep you entertained all
Jazz Stage – This year’s acts include the Cool
Jazz Collective; and Bedford based five-piece band Rachel and
Friends, as well as many more across the weekend.
Sports Village – Once
again the Sports Village is sponsored by the University of
Bedfordshire and there all kinds of activities to get you moving -
aerobics, dance and fitness displays; sports demonstrations; a
martial arts area; come and try sessions and much more.
Getting There and
Parking is free for up to 2 hours every
Saturday in all council owned town centre surface and multi-storey
car parks. Please note that you may still be required to obtain a
parking ticket and display it in your windscreen.
Lurke Street and River
Street multi-storey car parks are open 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week. In addition, over the weekend of the River Festival 2016
Allhallows multi-storey car park and Queen Street multi-storey car
park will be open continuously from 6am Saturday 16th
July until usual closing on Monday evening 18th
Normal prices will apply to all car parks
and usual opening and closing will be in place at all car parks not
Park and Ride
Elstow Park & Ride is located in
Progress Park, on the A6 just north off the A6 junction of the
A421. This location is ideal for those who are travelling to the
River Festival from outside Bedford. The Park and Ride is open over
the weekend with buses departing from the spacious car park in
Elstow throughout the day. For more information, including times
and fares, please click
Additional Park & Ride services will operate
from the University of Bedfordshire on Pohill Avenue between 11am
and 10pm on Saturday 16th July and 11am to 9pm on Sunday 17th July.
As the buses are only travelling a short distance there will not be
a specific timetable but instead buses will operate constantly
throughout the day.
As well as these services there will additional
buses to both sites after the fireworks on Saturday night.
For information about road closures over
the weekend of the River Festival please click here. Residents of
the roads in question have been sent details of access over the
The Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership
(MVCRP) is delighted to announce that they have special services
for the Bedford River Festival again this year. As well as normal
services the MVCRP are offering a late evening ‘Fireworks Flyer’
leaving Bedford at 11:10pm on the Saturday night and an hourly
MVCRP will be having a stand in the Waterspace
Village (situated on Mill Meadows) at the Festival. Please pop in
and say hello! Please visit http://www.marstonvalecommunityrail.org.uk/
for a copy of the timetable. Groups of 3 to 9 adults travel
for a third off with GroupSave.
As well as these services, trains will run as
usual from Bedford Station.
For information on accommodation or to
purchase rail tickets, please contact Bedford Travel and Tourism
Centre on 01234 718112 or email@example.com
Copies of the Event Programme are
available by clicking
here and are also available to collect at the Travel and
Tourism Centre, located in Bedford Bus Station, from Number 13
bar and café on St Paul’s Square, libraries and the Customer
Service Centre on Horne Lane.