The St Richard's Festival in Droitwich is a relatively new event in the canal festival season which is really getting into its stride, run by the Worcester Birmingham and Droitwich Canals Society. The event was launched on the back of the canal restoration opening event in 2011. After a year's gap in 2012 Wychavon Council approached the Canal Society and between them they expanded the existing one day St Richard's Festival into the three day event we see today, operating from a canal side base in Vines Park over the early May bank holiday in 2013 and 2014.
Lazy Sunday afternoon
Perhaps the surprising thing is how the event has matured into something so substantial so quickly, with an estimated 10,000 visitors attending on the Saturday and in excess of 20,000 over the whole weekend. Perhaps the secret of its rapid success is its partnership with the the town who delight in the restored canal and whose activists lay on a broad spectrum of activities and entertainments, which really attracts a crowd. Not only are there the usual canal based attractions there are also food markets, art exhibitions, classic cars, medieval re enactment and war memorabilia exhibitions. Enough attractions and activities to make it a great day out in a remarkably attractive little town.
Whilst the local residents have been quick to recognise the event's appeal, the boating community have been a bit slower off the mark with only two Roving Trader boats taking advantage of the very significant sales opportunity.
The Canal Society is the powerhouse behind the festival, drawing on the significant resources and expertise which underpin the nearby Black Country Boating Festival and Parkhead Historic Boat events which take place in the autumn. Of course, two consistent years of good weather have helped boost the event's appeal and David Wheeler, the Society's Chairman, confirmed that it will return to Vines Park in May 2015.
Trading and towing