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Bedford River Festival is Back!

Bedford Borough Council is delighted to announce that the River Festival will be back on 23 and 24 July 2022, following postponements due to COVID-19

This will see the return of lots of the Festival’s old favourites, from the music stages and funfair, the dragon boat and raft races on the river, and lots of stalls and activities to get involved with across the Embankment, Mill Meadows and St Mary’s Gardens.

For the first time in the River Festival’s history, Bedford High Street will be closed for the whole weekend to bring the fun and celebrations into the town centre. The High Street, sponsored by Bedford BID, will host the Festival of Motoring, with 100 unique and eclectic vehicles on display. 

The Council works with incredible local sponsors to bring the River Festival to life. This year, Festival sponsors include HSBC UK, Bedford BID, the Harpur Centre, the Harpur Trust, the University of Bedfordshire, Henderson & Taylor, Goodacres, Carpets 4 Less and Copybox Document Systems.

There is still time to get involved and support a fantastic local inclusive, creative and celebratory event. There are lots of different options, with hospitality, team building opportunities, and promoting your brand to thousands of visitors. If your business or organisation would like to find out more, please visit

There is also still time to apply to trade at the River Festival; if you have something unique to bring to this fantastic local event, please visit

The community is at the heart of what makes the River Festival such a special event, so why not sign up to participate today? You can already apply for a place on the Community Stage, and register to take part in the dragon boat and raft races, and register your interest in boat mooring at These are great events for families, community groups, colleague teams, sports clubs and lots more to get involved with over the River Festival weekend. 

The Council is also calling for proposals from groups to run the Embankment Stage at the River Festival this year. The Council is looking for people to run this stage providing a variety of entertainment across the weekend, which can see over 250,000 visitors across the two days. For more information, please contact The deadline for applications is noon on Friday 18 March.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said “We will be announcing more news and activities as we get closer to the big weekend, but it is great to be able to launch the River Festival and start inviting people to get involved. I know lots of people- me included- are looking forward to seeing the River Festival back in all its glory this year. There are so many different elements to the Festival and there is sure to be something to for everyone during this fantastic weekend along our beautiful riverside.”