It’s taken six months of work by a team of experts who recreated a bandstand for the Queen, funding from the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery funds, and the support of Watford Borough Council to make this happen. Now Watford’s historic bandstand will be re-opened, on the spot on which it was originally built, in Cassiobury Park. (see the actual opening here)
The bandstand was originally opened in September 1912, and attracted crowds of more than 1,500 people. Then in the seventies it was moved to the square outside the Library.
When Watford Council won funding to revamp Cassiobury Park, returning the bandstand to its original position was part of the plan. That money also paid for the renovation of the Cha Café – which opens to the public on Saturday 20 August. The development of the pools area and the creation of a hub building are still underway – that work is expected to be complete by next spring.
Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said “We’re committed to protecting Watford’s heritage, and the bandstand is an important part of Cassiobury Park’s history. I’m so pleased to see it return to its original site.
The success of recent events like Jazz, Jive Swing on 24 July - also funded by the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery funds - shows how valuable a live music venue in the park will be. I’m looking forward to seeing the bandstand in all its glory on Sunday 4 September.”
Celebrations start at 1.30pm and will carry on until 6pm.
It all kicks off – or rather, pushes off – at 8.30 in the morning, when Doctor Bike arrives close to the Shepherds Road entrance, ready to attend to your bicycling needs. Then at 10 o’clock you can take your pick from three Sky Rides - the family-friendly Cassiobury Park Special, the Weaving Whippy Wheeler (for steady riders) or the more challenging Watford Countryside Ramble – all organised in association with Watford’s Cycle Hub and The Big Bike Revival.
Then it’s back to the area around the bandstand for lunch – time for a bite to eat from the barbecue – or bring your own picnic - before the Jazz, Jive and Swing festival gets underway at one. The bandstand itself won’t be open (that’s planned for later this summer), but a stage and dancefloor will be nearby. You can enjoy the music, watch the professionals dance, and then try out your own steps – all for free. The activities are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Watford Council.
If the sports fans among you aren’t that into dancing, don’t despair – keep the children busy with a British Cycling race for 5-16 year-olds – just £2 to enter – from one o’clock. And a big screen will be nearby, keeping pace with the final stage of the Tour de France. After the music from the Jazz, Jive, Swing event stops, the evening will end with a live broadcast of the race down the Champs Elysées.
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