Cricketers Arms publican welcomes back the Bedford Place Summer Festival as a celebration of the independents

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17 June 2024

John Cooney, who in 2016 loved his local pub so much he bought it, is championing the Bedford Place Summer Festival as a “celebration of the independent businesses that make the area so special.”

The Bedford Place Summer Festival is set to return for another year on Sunday, June 23rd. The popular festival shines a light on independent businesses in Southampton and offers a wealth of entertainment and artisanal delights.

After a difficult few years for the hospitality industry, John says it’s these kinds of events that really help get people back into the city and especially to the area. John said, “There have been some massive changes in recent years. Covid has had a massive impact, and people are now more discerning than ever. Expectations have also changed, people want more outside dining as well as real value for money given the cost of living pressures.”

It’s not all bad news, as the pedestrianisation of Carlton Place two years ago has helped attract more people to the area. John said, “We’re seeing more high quality independent businesses like Raven & Bine, Overdraft, Piecaramba, Gaia Health Store, and Perfect Pear largely because of the pedestrianisation. The area is evolving all of the time and is genuinely one of the ‘must visit’ areas for shopping, beauty, and hospitality.

The festival will include a range of over 40 local traders’ stalls, which will provide visitors with a mix of food, drink, and artisan products to keep them well-fuelled and looked after, as well as presenting a host of reasons to treat themselves to something special.

The event will be centred on the newly pedestrianised area of Carlton Place, Lower and Upper Banister Street. With lots on offer, including the musical stylings of Southampton Ukelele Jam and top entertainment with Jake’s Circus performing, there’s something for everyone.

As well as the array of traders, stallholders, and performers, there will of course be the Bedford Place and Carlton Place favourites including the Cricketers Arms, Dancing Mans new venue, Raven & Bine, 7Bone, Revolution, Shenaningans, and Overdraft will all be offering food and refreshments.

John said, “The festival helps integrate businesses to work together as well as providing a platform to recognise and celebrate the area. We’ve now got Matt Sanger as our overall event co-ordinator. This has helped us continue supporting the event which had been previously sponsored and directed by Caroline French. We are delighted to keep the tradition going.”

“We are fiercely proud of the eclectic range of quality businesses within the area. We don’t have the commercial power of the big chains, but we all pride ourselves on quality and customer service.“

The festival will be open from 11am and is due to finish at 6pm on Sunday June 23rd. It will host some of the South’s big names when it comes to music, from Still Moving DJs to The Halliwells. Sponsored by GO! Southampton, Flo Bevis, Marketing Manager, said, “We’re proud to be a sponsor. This not-for-profit event helps showcase the unique mix of businesses in Carlton Place and Bedford Place and to celebrate what a beautiful, thriving area this is for those who live and work here.”

For John, the festival represents what he sees as the best aspects of Bedford Place and Carlton Place. He said, “The area is really special. It has a strong community feel despite being in the heart of the bustling city, coupled with the quality that each business brings. Come on down and see it for yourself.”

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