Beckenham Soultown Festival

The Beckenham Soultown Festival (BSF) Concert in Croydon Road Rec took place from noon to midnight on 22.9.18.

I did not attend as a paying customer, but on the morning of the event I went into the Rec and and I took a lot of photos of the preparations for the concert.

I contacted the organisers and learned that the event would take place again in 2019.

It seems that next year’s event is already being promoted by a video of this year’s event included on the website.

www.soultownfestival.co.uk/

Beckenham Remembrance Day Service

Beckenham War Memorial

On Sunday, I attended the Beckenham Remembrance Day Service.

There were far more people present than I have seen for any event in Beckenham: this includes the Remembrance Day Service for 2000 when I took photos for the Beckenham Photographic Society’s Millennium CD Rom and a few years ago when I represented the Copers Cope Area Residents Association at the Service.

The last time there was a similar turnout was when huge crowds witnessed the Olympic Torch being carried through Beckenham on July 23rd 2012.

I took many photos and below are some together with a copy of the photo which appeared in the Beckenham Journal when the memorial was opened in 1921.

Cliff Watkins

12th November 2018

David Bowie Festival 2018

BOWIE’S BECKENHAM ODDITY is an annual fundraiser, supported by David Bowie when he provided signed items for auction at the event.

Money raised goes to the Bandstand Restoration & Plaque Fund.

More below…

 

BOWIE’S BECKENHAM ODDITY/BANDSTAND DAY 2018
Saturday, 11th August – 12 noon to 8.30pm
Croydon Road Recreation Centre, Beckenham, BR3 3PR

“Someone passed some bliss among the crowd…”

Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity continues…..

 

Tickets: http://bowiesbeckenhamoddity.com/tickets
Email: bowiesbeckenhamoddity@gmail.com
Mobile: 07538 984631

 

David Bowie Festival 2019

Maybe I should announce it? Should I?…”

Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity is an annual fundraiser, supported by David Bowie when he provided signed items for auction at the event.

This year the Bowie Archive has donated another item signed by him, more details of which will follow before the festival in August.

Money raised goes to the Bandstand Restoration & Plaque Fund. Meanwhile here’s the press release from Wendy Faulkner, with ticket links, etc…

More below…

“Oh, to capture just one drop of all the ecstasy that swept that afternoon”

Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity Celebrates…

The 50th Anniversary of The Growth Summer Festival of 1969

Music lovers and fans worldwide will again be invited to come together in Beckenham, South London on Saturday 17th August to celebrate:

DAVID BOWIE★ THE GROWTH SUMMER FESTIVAL OF 1969,★ THE SPIDERS FROM MARS, ★ THE ARTS LAB and beyond…

The fourth Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity will take place at Croydon Road Recreation Ground, centred around the same iconic bandstand where Bowie and his friends from the Beckenham Arts Lab held their Growth Summer Festival and Free Concert back in 1969. The festival coincided with the release of Bowie’s first hit single, Space Oddity, and the day was later immortalised with another song, Memory of a Free Festival.

This year’s event kicks off at noon and we’re pleased to announce the return of some of the Growth Festival line up, reuniting for the first time in 50 years. These include Keith Christmas, Bridget St John, David Cousins (The Strawbs), Amory Kane and Bill Liesegang.

The event will also see the return of Maggi Ronson and her band. The full line up will be available on the Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity Facebook page shortly.

We also have the pleasure of announcing that Kevin Cann and Phil Lancaster will be at this year’s Oddity. They will be signing copies of their books; Any Day Now and At the Birth of Bowie – Life with the Man who Became a Legend.

Other attractions on the day will include food and drink by local vendors, memorabilia stalls, face painting, kids’ rides, raffle and of course the auction of Bowie related items (including a signed David Bowie item kindly donated by davidbowie.com /David Bowie Archives.)

Tickets:
£15 adults, although we have a limited amount of Early Bird tickets priced at £10 *available online only*
£5 for ages 10 to 16, , under 10’s go free!

Tickets are available online in advance from:
https://www.wegottickets.com/sct/uhqqwyAj2K

Tickets will also be available at the gate on the day of the event.

Just over £71,000 has been raised via the Festival, brick sales and donations, the H.L.F (Heritage Lottery Fund) grant application failed for the second time and because of that the council has put in £83,000 into the bandstand fund. The restoration cost is at present £191,000, so we’re not that far away from the work being started now.

Fans can also support the event via the personalised brick sales, which will be laid in their name (or a loved one etc) around the bandstand on its restoration. They can also donate to the Bowie Bandstand Restoration & Plaque Fund, that will honour not only David Bowie, but everyone that took part in the initial 1969 festival.

https://www.bromley.gov.uk/…/bowie_bandstand_restoration_ap…

B.B.O. Organiser Wendy Faulkner

“We are so close now to reaching our target to finally be able to get this iconic bandstand restored and this is down to the Bowie fans worldwide uniting and getting this done! Beckenham has never been on the main Bowie related map of places to visit – let’s hope that changes when the bandstand’s finally restored!

I hope to continue with the Festival but when the work on the bandstand has been completed, we can move on to raising funds for other Bowie related projects etc., only time will tell.
A massive thank you to everyone that has supported the Festivals to date. To quote a certain Bowie song lyric – I bless you madly.

I’d like to give a special mention to Vernon Dewhurst and thank him for kindly allowing us to use his iconic Space Oddity album image of David Bowie for this year’s event. and of course to Mark Adams, davidbowie.com, Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey for all their support”

“To paint that love upon a white balloon”

Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity is supported by the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground, idverde, Bromley Parks and the London Borough of Bromley, who have named the bandstand The Bowie Bandstand in his honour. For further information go here: Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity

Photograph by Vernon Dewhurst.

 

 

A Bowie Bust for Beckenham

A Bowie Bust for Beckenham

Italian architect and sculptor, Maria Primolan, is donating her latest sculpture, a life size bust of David Bowie, to Beckenham to help raise awareness and funds for the restoration of the bandstand in Croydon Road Recreation Ground.

At 2 pm on Saturday, August 12th, Maria will be on the bandstand, where she will be introduced to the many hundreds of fans attending the 5th Bowie themed concert, by the Mayor of Bromley, Kathy Bance.

The bust has been hand carved in lime wood and the face is that of the young Bowie who was living in Beckenham when his Hunky Dory album was released in 1971. This album, Maria’s favourite, was rehearsed in the nearby Azelia Hall.  On the album was Life on Mars – another of Maria’s favourite tracks – which Bowie had written on a lovely sunny summer’s day in 1971 seated on the bandstand steps.

In particular, Maria has asked the Mayor “to permanently expose this sculpture in a public area – either inside or outside – on Beckenham territory, in order to make it visible to people and visitors.”

Maria has requested  that “the sculpture must not be sold or given to others in the future: it is a gift I am giving to your community from my heart.“

The title of the sculpture is “GOODBYE MR BOWIE”.

For more information, please contact:

Maria: primolanmaria@gmail.com, site: www.mariaprimolan.it

Cliff Watkins: cliffwatkins61@gmail.com

Wendy Faulkner: bowiesbeckenhamoddity@gmail.com

Professional photo by Antonio Sandro Crisà https://it-it.facebook.com/antonio.s.crisa

David Bowie Festival 2017

BOWIE’S BECKENHAM ODDITY is an annual fundraiser, supported by David Bowie when he provided signed items for auction at the event.

This year the Bowie Archive has donated another item signed by him, more details of which will follow before the festival in August.

Money raised goes to the Bandstand Restoration & Plaque Fund.

More below…

flyer image 1

 

BOWIE’S BECKENHAM ODDITY/BANDSTAND DAY 2017
Saturday, 12th August – 12 noon to 8pm
Croydon Road Recreation Centre, Beckenham, BR3 3PR

“Someone passed some bliss among the crowd…”

Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity continues…..

In 1969 a young curly haired man who went by the name of David Bowie co-organised a festival at Croydon Road Recreation Ground, South London. He even later went on to immortalise that day in his song ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’, which also appeared on his Space Oddity album. Bowie fans worldwide – join us in celebrating the life and musical legacy of David Bowie, The Growth Summer Festival of 1969, The Arts Lab, The Spiders From Mars and beyond….

Our celebratory day promises to be better than ever with food and drink, market stalls, merchandise, face painting plus a Bowie themed raffle and auction. This year’s festival kicks off at midday. Our line-up will be announced shortly, so watch this space: http://smarturl.it/BowieBandStand

Tickets are £10 (under 10’s free) and all money raised will go to the Bandstand Restoration and Plaque Fund.

At last year’s event Bowie fans united from around the world and helped raise over £17,250 for the project. The Edwardian bandstand in Beckenham (now named the Bowie Bandstand), will always be the ideal place to honour his memory (especially in the Beckenham/Bromley area), as well as being an important part of local history.

This is the first Festival anniversary year without Bowie. In 2016 we were all shocked by the news of his death as for many of us he was the soundtrack to our lives. His musical legacy continues and will gain new generations of fans around the globe for many years to come. The Oddity event organiser, Wendy Faulkner, had this to say:

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“Aylesbury will soon have a Bowie statue as a lasting tribute to the great man, Brixton also has its mural. And so we need the Bowie Bandstand in Beckenham fully restored in his honour and for all the other musicians that performed at that original event of 1969.

Bowie will always be loved and sadly missed by millions of people worldwide, so let’s get this bandstand restored!”

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Tickets: http://smarturl.it/BowieBandStand
Email: bowiesbeckenhamoddity@gmail.com
Mobile: 07538 984631

The event is supported by London Borough of Bromley Council and sponsored by Lollipop Events

“We’re gonna have a party…”

David Bowie Festival 2013

MEMORY OF A FREE FESTIVAL

“…The Sun machine is Coming Down, and we’re Gonna Have a Party…” 

Bowie It raineth 01

CELEBRATING DAVID BOWIE AND THE BECKENHAM ARTS LAB.

Sunday afternoon in the park in the residential south London town of Beckenham may not conjure up visions of youthful exuberance and rock music – but on Sunday September 15th, 2013  in Croydon Road Recreation Ground hundreds of people enjoyed typical Glastonbury style rain to celebrate David Bowie – Beckenham’s most famous former resident, the legacy of the Arts Laboratory he co-founded, and the sensational Free Festival that he and Arts Lab members staged on the Bandstand in the park in 1969.

The Festival was “free” as the modest entry fee of £5 plus donations were collected to raise funds to restore the historic bandstand which:

  • was opened in 1891 by Beckenham’s recently celebrated Tom Thornton
  • 21 years later, was used by Beckenham’s Harold Bride – the hero of the Titanic – to address cheering crowds in the park.
  • and for most of the 20th Century, witnessed civic and royal ceremonies, balloon flights and flower shows which rivalled Chelsea in popularity.

Today in an age of austerity there are not council funds to pay for repairs and it was left to Natasha Ryzhova, a Bowie fan from Russia, to galvanise the Friends of Croydon Road Rec into action. In her room in Moscow, Natasha kept a copy of the iconic photo of the young curly headed Bowie on her wall. When she moved to Beckenham a few years ago, she was surprised and delighted to find that, virtually on her doorstep, was Bowie’s bandstand; but aghast at its condition. So she persuaded the Friends to stage an event similar to the original Free Festival.

Members of the Arts Lab some 40 years ago were encouraged to do their own thing and this ethos underlined the 2013 event. As well Bowie classics created and performed during  Bowie’s five years in Beckenham from 1969 to 1973, the seven groups taking part (some 70 musicians in total) played much of their own original music.

All the performers  quoted David Bowie as their inspiration to take up music and they played for free. As a result over £900 was raised to repair the roof on the bandstand.

The 2013 Free Festival provided over 3 hours of live music from 3 to 6.30 pm. The performers taking part included:

The Thin White Duke a Bowie tribute group which played 5 Bowie numbers including Life on Mars and Space Oddity – both of which have links to the band stand.

Bill Liesegang  Bowie’ s own tribute to the 1969 event song – Memory of a Free Festival

Amory Kane who flew in from the USA to reprise some of the songs he performed in the 1969 Free festival.

Others taking part were  Raf and O, Keval, Low Rent Tractors, Scott Fuller and John Aldington.

Have a look at the picture gallery here

and some video here

W G Grace Centenary Celebrations

W G Grace Centenary Celebrations

The Centenary Celebrations for W G Grace , in Beckenham on Friday 23rd October, 2015,  who died age 67 on 23rd October 1915,

“He  swung his bat and turned his arm on the green and pleasant fields of Beckenham in his last years; his memory remains with us forever.”

On Friday, 23rd October 2015 there will be two W.G. Centenary Events:

1.       At 4.30 pm Derek Carpenter will be conducting a Remembrance Service at W.G.’s grave in Beckenham Cemetery.

2.       At 7.30 pm in St George’s Church, Beckenham, W.G. ‘s life will be commemorated at a Service conducted by the former Bishop of Rochester and Durham, The Rt Revd Dr Michael Turnbull (a MCC member) when the guests will include  notable cricketing names and the BBC Sports personality, Rob Bonnet who will be talking about ‘Cricket and a Beckenham Boyhood’ .

All are invited to the Service when high class music will be provided by St George’s Choir and Peter Warlock’s Cricketers of Hambledon will be sung by the professional singer Malcom Banham who lives in Beckenham.

Background Notes:

The cricketing career of Dr William Gilbert Grace, W.G. as he was known, spanned 48 years from 1861 to 1908.  During his 43 years as a first-class player he scored 54,896 runs, including 126 centuries, and took 2,876 wickets. He made his Test debut at the age of 32 in 1880.

Aged 52 in 1900, when his international career was over, he formed the London County Cricket Club based at Crystal Palace Park, Beckenham. He played first-class county matches with them until 1908.  During these years he often appeared during the annual cricket weeks at Beckenham Cricket Club when he drew huge crowds to Foxgrove Road.

W.G. continued to play minor cricket after his retirement from the first-class version. His final match was for Eltham Cricket Club at Grove Park on 25 July 1914, a week after his 66th birthday.  He died in Eltham on 23rd October, 1915 and is buried in the Beckenham Cemetery in Elmers End.

In October 1998 to mark the 150th anniversary of Grace’s birth, the Revd Canon Derek Carpenter organised a graveside ceremony in Beckenham Ceremony and conducted a service in St George’s Church, Beckenham.

On March 26th  2011, Grace was celebrated in the  Fanfare for Beckenham, Concert  which took place in the Church on March 26th when  the audience were invited to join in the chorus when the Lewisham Concert Band and Paul Allen performed Peter Warlock’s rousing drinking song  The Cricketers of Hambledon.

 

 

Arts & Heritage Evening

Arts & Heritage Evening

Venue 28 (formerly the studio)

Friday, 17th July 2015

6.00 pm to 9.30 pm

Come and enjoy paintings by local artists in this wonderful newly renovated Victorian building. Meet the artists. Free drinks and canapés with live music by a jazz ensemble.

Also see the exhibition telling the story of the Clock House District of Beckenham, since c. 1750 and the lives of many notable local people, like Brett, Bride and the Blytons.

For more information contact

Bernard, Belleberry Deli
07715302767
02086582568