Green Days Kick Off Bedford Park Festival

Over two weeks of events begin as crowds brave high winds

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The 46th Bedford Park Festival got off to a great start despite high winds this Saturday (16th June). Large crowds turned up to see the first day of Green Days weekend which was open by Radio Four newsreader and Chiswick resident, Alice Arnold.

Alice Arnold opens the Festival. Pic - Ian Wylie

This year there is a special Diamond Jubilee theme to the Festival. Ten years ago, at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, there were some spectacular costumes, with winners dressed as kings and queens and a street party.

Pic - Tom Doran

The Green Days fete attracts thousands of people each year with its mix of live music, children’s events, stalls, refreshments, Craft Fair and funfair. Green Days weekend opens a fortnight of community and arts events in aid of charities and St Michael & All Angels Church, supported by dozens of local businesses. Events include comedy, opera, dance, concerts, exhibitions, talks and open gardens.

Highlights of the Festival this year include the popular Bedford Park Summer Exhibition, (June 15-22), as well as poetry from former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, three productions at the Tabard Theatre, and a number of music recitals.

Chiswick resident Simon Curtis will talk about his successful film, ‘My Year With Marilyn’ in an interview with BBC journalist Torin Douglas (27 June). The successful children’s book illustrator, Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), will talk to fans (23 June), and singer Kate Dimbleby will perform songs by Dory Previn and other jazz greats (22 June).

There’ll be a celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, with a 90-minute programme combining archive film, photographs, live commentary with actors, and piano accompaniment by the acclaimed silent-film pianist and broadcaster Neil Brand. It is presented by film historian Luke McKernan, featuring films from the collection of the British Film Institute, and recreates the procession taken through London on 22 June 1897 to mark the sixtieth year of the reign of Queen Victoria.

There’s also a special Diamond Jubilee category in the annual Photographic Exhibition and Competition. And the Festival climax will be a special Last Night of the Proms performance by singers from Opera Novella in St Michael & All Angels Church.

Other events include three productions at The Tabard Theatre , including a production of 'Straight and Narrow' by Theatre West Four on June 17th. On the final day, Sunday July 1st, there will be a Festival Mass and Bedford Park Open Gardens.

The 2012 Festival will raise money for the work of St Michael’s, including its new Organ and Parish Rooms Appeal; and three other charities - CEDARS, which helps disadvantaged children in and around Chiswick (; The Upper Room, feeding the community in need in West London (; and Hamlin Fistula UK, a charity which provides medical help for women in Ethiopia.

The Festival runs from June 16-July 1.

June 13, 2012