Beds, Herts & Bucks

Coronavirus: Bedford festivals postponed by council

Dragon boat racing Image copyright Bedford Borough Council
Image caption The Bedford River Festival started in 1978 and is held every year by the towns Embankment

A river festival that attracts about 250,000 people to a town has been postponed due to the coronavirus

The free Bedford River Festival will now be held on 17 and 18 July 2021 instead of 18 and 19 July.

The Bedford Kite and Motoring Festival, in June, has also been postponed, but could be held later in the year.

Bedford Borough Council said it was felt to be "the right decision" at a time of "national crisis".

Image copyright Bedford Festival of Motoring
Image caption The first Bedford Festival of Motoring was held with the Kite Festival on 1 and 2 June 2019

A council spokeswoman said: "At this time of national crisis, continuing to plan this huge event would put significant strain on key resources, including community participation, which is such a key part of making the festival what it is.

"This is not a decision that was taken lightly; with the government guidance encouraging people to avoid large gatherings to minimise the spread of coronavirus and uncertainty about how long these measures will have to be in place, this is felt to be the right decision."

The Liberal Democrat Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, said "This will be disappointing news to many people."

Image copyright Bedford Bourough Council
Image caption Bedford River Festival has live entertainment, a funfair, raft and dragon boat racing

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