Bedford River Festival to commemorate outbreak of World War One during weekend of fun and free activities

Bedford River Festival 2012.
Bedford River Festival 2012.

Make a date for this year’s Bedford River Festival when the outbreak of World War One will be commemorated during a full weekend of fun and free activities.

This July sees the return of the popular River Festival and Bedford Borough Council are calling for residents to sign up and take part.

This year the festival, which attracted more than 300,000 people in 2012, promises even more entertainment along the River Great Ouse in Bedford on Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20.

It’s also 100 years since the outbreak of World War One and to commemorate those who served there will be an historical village on and around Castle Mound which will take people back to the time of the Great War.

As well as showing the hardships of the time the village will be full of things to do with children’s workshops and activities, WW1 Home Front cooking workshops and a bell-tented encampment with weapons, equipment and accessories showing what life was really like in the trenches.

The atmosphere will continue with rifle firing displays and a cavalry arena showing the real ‘War Horse’ of the period in action and much, much more.

There are so many ways that residents can get involved;

Festival Parade:

Whether you are in a decorated vehicle, band or on foot help is needed to launch the 2014 Festival as well as collecting money for local charities. The parade begins on De Pary’s Avenue, working its way down through the High Street, winding around St Paul’s Square to its final destination on The Embankment.

The traditional opening of the festival, the parade is a great fun packed way to kick- off Bedford’s premiere event.

Raft Races

Teams are being sought who can build a river worthy raft and navigate a stretch of the Great Ouse all in support of local charities. This is always a highlight of the festival and it’s interesting to see how many rafts cross the finish line!

Dragon Boat Racing

For a faster experience, crews of 16-20 paddlers are needed for a fantastic race day on the river! More than 20 crews are expected to battle it out over a 350-metre course along the picturesque River Ouse. All equipment will be provided, including boats and a helm appointed by the organisers at the tail to steer.

Trading Space and Sponsorship Opportunities

Choose from a wide variety of options for trading across the festival site where you can take up the offer of anything from 2 to 15-metre pitches.

Battle of the Bands

There’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase your musical skills with our River Festival Battle of the Bands competition. Heats take place at the Kite Festival, and the Bedford Corn Exchange, and the winners will entertain the huge crowds at the Bedford River Festival on our music stage! To enter, please contact