Canal Festivals

Canal Festival Calendar

Like the British weather, Canal Festivals are a fickle thing. Their fortunes rise and fall, some years they make an appearance and on others they don't and then there are the attendance levels... 

The following is a far from complete list of festivals which are of particular interest to us:


Easter 2014      
Alvecote Floating Market, Atherstone - Coventry Canal
Organisers : Roving Traders Association
Content: Three days-  may include funfair etc
Attendance : Untried


May bank holiday
Droitwich Festival (St Richards Festival) - Droitwich Barge Canal
Organisers: Worcester Birmingham and Droitwich Canals Trust / town council
Content: Three days - event with themes for each day. Part of a wider weekend of events across the town.
Attendance: 15,000 plus 60 boats (1 floating trader in 2013!)
2013 event report

May Bank Holiday
Norbury Canal Festival - Shropshire Union
Organisers - SUCS 
Attendance: 10,000

May bank holiday
Loughborough Canal Festival
Organisers: Council run since 1997
Content: 2 day free event

Late May bank holiday
Crick Boat Show - Grand Union Leicester Arm
Organisers - Waterways World
Content - 3  days - the big inland waterways world festival - like a county agricultural show for the waterways community. Commercially orientated - no scope for floating traders.
Attendance: 15,000 to 25,000
2013 event report


1st and 2nd June 2013
Etruria Canal Festival
Organisers: Local IWA
Content: 2 Days
Attendance: 10,000 +

6th to 8th June 2014
IWA National - Chester (moves each year)
Organisers: IWA - running since the 1950's
Content: Two Day - Massive range - something for everyone
Attendance: 10,000 to 30,000! 300 boats

June 2013 (Bi annual)
Pelsall Canal Festival - Wyrley and Essington
Organisers: BCN Society
Content: 2 days with local Historic Boats, sideshows and dog show
Attendance: 8,000 and 60 boats - a few floating traders but shallow margins!
2013 event report

13th to 15th June 2014
Middlewich Folk and Boating Festival
Organisers: Middlewhich Town Council
Content: 3 days - A big Music and Boating Festival - a major landmark event.
Attendance: 15,000 plus 100's of boats

21 and 22 June 
Foxton Locks Festival - Grand Union Leicester Arm

30th and 31st June
Chesterfield Canal Festival; Staveley
Organisers; Chesterfield Canal Trust - £3 entry
Content; 2 day family event in disconnected section. Pay on entry event
Attendance: 8,000
2013 event report


11 - 13 July 2014
ACC 50 year celebration
Black Buoys Cruising Club at Knowle
2 day event

26th and 27th July 2014
Audlem Festival of Transport Shropshire Union
Organisers: 10 years old (boats for 4 years)
Content:  Two Days -Third largest historic boat festival plus 300 historic cars (on Sat only)
Attendance:5,000 plus 38 historic boats

26th and 27th July 2013
Alrewas Canal Festival - Trent and Mersey Canal


8 - 10 August 2013
Croperdy Fairport Convention Festival - South Oxford Canal
Content - Music Festival beside the canal
Attendance: 20,000 

9 and 10 August
Blisworth Canal Festival
Organisers: Blisworth Allotment Society! Free entry
Content: Two days - A village fete on steroids. The whole village embraces this festival where floating traders are the focus. One of the gems on the calendar.

17 - 18th August (Bi annual)
Stover Canal Festival - Stover Canal, Torquay
Content - Stalls

Late August (bi annual)
Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering - Coventry Canal
Content:100 Historic Boats and stalls - 2nd largest gathering of historic boats.


1st September 2013
Angel Canal Festival Regents Canal
Content: One Day annual (now 27 years old)
Attendance: 6000 and 35 boats

Mid September
Black Country Boating Festival - Windmill End
Organisers: Dudley Canal Trust - 25 years old - free entry
Content: Two days - major festival with classic cars, local historic boats and funfair
Attendance; 15,000 and 100 boats - floating traders a priority
2013 event report
2012 event report

Mid September
Shackerstone Canal Festival - Ashby Canal

Mid September
Stoke Bruerne Village at War - Grand Union
Organisers: Friends of Stoke Bruerne Museum
Content: 2 days -event with a wartime theme - a bit unusual
Attendance: 8,000 to 12,000

September 2013 (bi annual)
Huddlesford Heritage Gathering -Trent and Mersey
Organisers: Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust
Content: 2 days - Classic cars and Gypsy Caravans, 19 Historic Boats
Attendance: 5000 plus 35 boats - 

29th and 30th September 2012 (bi-annual)
Parkhead Canal Festival - Dudley No 1
Organisers: Dudley Canal Trust - free entry
Content: 2 day event focusing on historic boats plus steam engines, vintage vehicles etc
Attendance: 10,000 to 12,000


7th October 2013
Banbury Canalside Festival - Oxford Canal
Organisers: Bandury town council
Content: 1 day (Sun) - mix of Wakes Week and Canal Festival - loads of foodie stalls
Attendance - 10,000 and 100+ boats - lots of floating traders
2013 event report
2012 event report

19 - 20th October 2013
Stourbridge Canal Festival - Stourbridge Arm
Organisers: Stourbridge Canal Trust - Call Colin Clements 01384 395216 (trade boats)
Content: 2 Days
Attendance: 10,000

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The "IWA National" at Chester is in fact a Campaign Rally and not a "National".

IWA National Waterways Festivals have now ceased, although they are organizing a Boat Gathering at Saul Junction over the August Bank Holiday.