Outdoor Events

Bedford River Festival

Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th July 2014 


The award winning Bedford River Festival will return on 19th and 20th July 2014!

Click here to view our 2014 programme and map


The 2012 festival saw record visitor numbers with over 320,000 spectators and participants on site over the weekend and we expect larger crowds in 2014 as the festival continues to build on previous successes with it’s colourful milieu of live entertainment, river events, parade, funfair and fete with activities as diverse as raft races, fireworks, sports, arts and heritage villages. Indeed, entertainment features strongly at the event with displays from local community groups in the arts and sporting worlds, to a multitude of professional acts. The Bedford River Festival is free to the public and offers numerous opportunities to participate in, or just to relax and enjoy a vast array of activities and entertainment across a 105 acre site.


There are many ways to get involved in the Festival including:

Festival Parade: Be it a decorated vehicle, band or on foot to help the collection money for local charities. The parade generally begins on De Pary’s Avenue, working its way down through the High Street, onto the Embankment and finishing in Bushmead Avenue. Bringing the Parade back onto the Embankment will add a great atmosphere to the event.     

Raft Races: Build your own raft and enter a team to race down the river and support local charities. This is always a highlight of the festival and it is always interesting to see how many rafts cross the finish line!

Dragon Boats: You provide a team of 16-20 paddlers we provide the rest for a fun packed day on the river! Over 30 crews are expected to battle it out over a 350 metre course along the picturesque River Ouse. This amazing site is a superb venue for racing and a fantastic day is guaranteed with bankside entertainment, music, food and activities for all the family. 

Trading space: Choose from a wide variety of options for trading across the Festival site, we offer anything from 2 to 15 metre pitches. Due to the nature of site, every pitch is guaranteed to be popular.

Sponsorship: Enhance your business with our tailor made sponsorship and partnership packages.

Useful downloads

Carnival Parade Covering Letter

Carnival Parade Application Form

Raft Race Entry Form

River Festival Programme

Cardington Park and Ride Saturday Timetable

Cardington Park and Ride Sunday Timetable

Marston Vale Train line Timetable

Marston Vale Train Poster

We would like to thank this years sponsors

To find out more about our sponsors please click on the links below:


C Field Construction

Charles Wells


Carpets 4 Less

University of Bedfordshire

Beds on Sunday

First Capital Connect

Fujifilm website

Fujifilm Worldwide

Bedford Bid

Harpur Trust

The Tea & Cake Company

Harpur Centre Bedford

Number 13

Grant Palmer

The Higgins Bedford

BBC Three Counties

Marston Vale Community Railway

The Pad Presents