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Bowie Bandstand

Restoration of Bowie Bandstand

Built in 1905, this is the last traditional bandstand in Bromley, made famous by glam rock icon, David Bowie. It is also the last surviving example built by the Victorian Glasgow foundry, McCallum & Hope, and a particularly fine example of its type. The Beckenham Bandstand hosted many national and civic celebrations over the decades, but none more famous than the Free Festival of August 1969, when Bowie brought the people of Beckenham together to enjoy music as 'we played our songs and felt the London sky'... The Festival coincided with Woodstock in the US: three days of peace, free love and music. The anti-conformist, rebellion against norm that Woodstock represented was intriguing to the young, aspiring psychedelic folk singer in Beckenham. In the later 'Memory of a Free Festival' Bowie sings of love and 'touching the very soul' of his audience, of Beckenham and the common theme of the era - the universe. 'Life on Mars?', Bowie's 1971 song, is thought to have been penned on the front steps of the bandstand.

The Beckenham bandstand was in poor condition, with heavily corroded ironwork, flaking paint, damaged guttering, steps and brickwork. The community-led restoration project is now underway and includes paint analysis, restoring the delicate ironwork, new roofing, repainting and removing the 1950s/1960s railings. HOLT is supporting the restoration of the ironwork thanks to the generosity of Knight Frank.

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