Brentford Canal Festival returns this weekend

Image above: Brentford Canal Festival 2024

Brentford event lasts from midday to 6pm

This Saturday (22 June) sees the return of the Brentford Canal Festival. This is the third year of the event that takes place across various locations in Brentford: Market Place, Brentford Lock Piazza, Workhouse Dock, Bradshaw Yard, The Gauging Lock, Ferry Quays, the Grand Union Canal and River Brent.

The free day out celebrates canals and waterways. They have a 60 seater free boat trip, street, traditional and folk dance from eight dance troupes, live music across five stages with 20 performers, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, a variety of street food and drink stalls, artisan and maker stalls, craft workshop for children, guided heritage tours.

Last year saw over 4,500 attendees and was deemed a great success. Founder and Organiser of Brentford Canal Festival, Martin Case, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“This year we’ll be looking to build on the success of last year’s event and to further establish the Canal Festival as a major annual attraction on Brentford’s and West London’s calendar.

“We would love to see lots of our Chiswick neighbours come along for the day and join us for a great day out. There aren’t many places in west London with so many waterways.”

Image above: Brentford Canal Festival

Rowing Traders amongst many stalls at the festival

This year the festival have partnered with the Rowing Traders Association. On Thursday (20 June) there will be seven trading boats arriving on the Thames and Martin told us “they’ll be selling a bit of everything. Most of the things sold will be items you won’t be able to find on a normal market.”

Martin added:

“We are expecting around 6,000 spectators for this years event, and therefore we have made the event bigger. There are more acts than ever before. We do our best to keep it as local as possible, by using local acts and groups. Our local culture is of huge importance, especially after we recently lost our arts centre (Watermans).

New trip boat for this year’s event

There will be a new trip boat at this year’s event, with Usain Boat making an appearance, named after the legendary Jamaican sprinter. Usain Boat will be chugging up and down the Thames basin and a more stately pace.

“In previous years we had used narrow boats for our trip boat but this year we decided to ask Lee Valley to borrow one of their boats. This will allow us to show up to 60 people the river at one time, meaning less queues and a better experience for everyone attending.”

Water sports and St Laurence’s

As well as all the stalls and boat trips, there is also an opportunity for people to take part in water sports. Active 360 Kayaking, Team Keane and Edge Paddleboarding will be doing taster sessions for people of all ages to try out some water sports on water which is non-tidal, making it easier and safer for beginners to take part.

St Laurence’s Church was acquired by Ballymore as part of their regeneration of Brentford. The church will be open at the festival for people to explore and understand the rich history of the building. The church’s first section was the Great West Tower built in the 15th century, during the Wars of the Roses, in Kentish ragstone. It is the earliest structure in Brentford and remains virtually unaltered.

“It is so important that people understand the history and culture of Brentford and we are going to have access to one of the oldest buildings in Brentford which is a privilege.”

For more information about the event, visit the Brentford Canal Festival website at brentfordcanalfestival.co.uk

Canal and Rivers Trust highlight ‘devastating consequences’ of funding cut

Members of the Canal and Rivers Trust will be at the festival this weekend. The charity which works to maintain and improve many of the UK’s rivers and waterways say they are facing a “steep reduction” in funding in the run up to the general election next month.

The Trust is calling on all political parties to recognise the value of canals and invest in their future. They say many are at risk of either closing or entering a period of managed decline. A real terms funding cut of £300 million over ten years threatens to have “devastating consequences on our canals and the people and wildlife who rely on them.”

READ ALSO: Canal and Rivers Trust highlight ‘devastating consequences’ of funding cut

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