Bedford River Festival 2022: What You Need to Know

The Bedford River Festival 2022 is one of the most anticipated events of the year! In this guide, we will tell you all you need to know about the festival so that you can make the most of it. We’ll cover everything from the history of the event to what kinds of activities and performances are scheduled this year. So, whether you’re a first-time attendee or a seasoned pro, read on for all the info you need!

When is this year’s Bedford River Festival?

This year’s festival will be held from July 22nd to the 24th. Now in its 41st year, there is a lot to look forward to. And the good news is – it’s free!

Where did it all start?

Bedford River Festival

The Bedford River Festival started back in 1978 as a celebration of the town’s maritime heritage. The event was originally called the ‘Bedford Regatta and Riverside Festival’, and it was a smaller affair than what we see today. Over the years, however, the festival has grown exponentially, and it is now one of the largest free outdoor events in the UK.

How often is the river festival held?

The Bedford River Festival is normally held every two years so if you miss it this year, you’ll have a bit of wait!

What can I expect at the river festival?

River Festival at Riverside Bedford

Organised by Bedford Borough Council, the River Festival includes countless river activities, live music and sports. Food and drink are a big feature of the festival too. There are many stalls and food vendors as well as Bedford’s fabulous choice of restaurants and bars.

Where to eat at the River Festival

One of the best spots for dining out at the River Festival is Riverside Bedford. With great river views and just a short walk from the town centre and Bedford high street, it’s a great spot to meet friends and soak up the river festival atmosphere on the weekend. With nine restaurants to choose from at Riverside Bedford, you can keep everyone happy!

You can get a perfect view of the river and eat Italian at Zizzi; bag a great wings at Foxy Wings; have a drink at Bridges Espresso Bar; get something a little spicier at wagamma; satisfy your sweet-tooth at Pistachio Cafe; treat yourself to Turkish at The Olive Tree; experience the Amalfi coast at Naughty Pizza; chill out in Albero Lounge or tuck into a steak at Miller & Carter.

What to see at the Bedford River Festival 2022?

Dragon boat racing

Dragon Boat Races – one of the most popular features of the festival, teams of up to 20 people race each other in traditional Chinese dragon boats.

Raft Races – a Bedford tradition, these races see teams of up to six people race homemade rafts down the river.

Live entertainment – there are several stages across the site with a whole host of different acts playing over the weekend. Expect the big names on the main stage at Russell Park. Mill Meadows hosts the Community Stages and head to Castle Mound for BBC Introduces…

Boat Parades – a highlight of the festival, these colourful parades feature boats of all shapes and sizes bedecked with lights and decorations.

Water Sports Arena – new for this year, the Water Sports Arena will host a range of thrilling displays and demonstrations.

‘Pirate Island’ heritage re-enactments – another new addition for 2022, ‘Pirate Island’ is a heritage village featuring a host of historical re-enactments in the neighbouring St Mary’s Gardens. It’s fun for all the family.

‘The 100’, presented by Bedford Festival of Motoring – held at Riverside Bedford, this fascinating classic car show will feature over 100 unique and interesting vehicles from across the years.

Sports Island – a variety of sports clubs will be giving demonstrations and taster sessions throughout the weekend.

Traditional Funfair – no festival is complete without a funfair, and the Bedford River Festival will have plenty of rides for the little ones to enjoy.

Vegan Fair – browse vegan gifts and homewares on Castle Mound

Inclusion Island – discover activities designed for people with special educational needs.

For all the latest details on the events, check out the River Festival 2022 Facebook page.

Do I need to buy tickets?

No, the Bedford River Festival is a free event! Just turn up on the day

Is there a map and programme?

Bedford River Festival MapYou can download the Bedford River Festival 2022 programme [PDF] from the official website and there’s also a handy festival map [PDF].

There really is something for everyone at this year’s Bedford River Festival, so make sure you don’t miss out! For more information and to keep up to date with all the latest news, head to the festival website. See you there!

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