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: The RCTA is a good place to go to find out what is on each year.


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
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 weekend in June
Etruria Historic  Boat Gathering
Organisers: Local IWA
Content: 2 Days
Attendance: 5,000 +

Second weekend in June
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

Third weekend in June
Foxton Locks Festival - Grand Union Leicester Arm

Last weekend in 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


Last weekend in July
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

Third weekend in July
Cosgrove Canal Festival
Organisers - Buckingham Canal Society
Content - 2 days
Attendance - approx 4000 with lots of trade boats

Last Saturday in July
Linslade Canalside Festival
Organisers - Linslade and Leighton Council
Content- One day
Attendance - very busy one day even at Tedenfoot Park where the land based activities occur.


Second weekend in August
Croperdy Fairport Convention Festival - South Oxford Canal
Content - Music Festival beside the canal
Attendance: 20,000 

Second Weekend in 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.

August bank holiday (bi annual)
Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering - Coventry Canal
Content:100 Historic Boats and stalls - arguably the largest gathering of historic boats.
Attendance: 2000

August bank holiday
IWA Festival of water - various locations nationwide
Attendance varies by location.


1st weekend in September 2013
Angel Canal Festival Regents Canal
Content: One Day annual (now 33 years old)
Attendance: 6000 and 35 boats

Second weekend in September
Black Country Boating Festival - Windmill End
Organisers: Dudley Canal Trust - 30 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
Content - lots of historic boats
Attendance: unknown

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

Third weekend in Septemder
Tipton Canal Festival
Organisers - Tipton Community Association
Attendance: 5000 I lovey small community event in the heart of the Black Country.

Late September (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 - 


Mid October 
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.