Brentford Canal Festival

Image above: The Grand Union Canal at Brentford

Celebrating the history of Brentford’s waterways

Brentford is holding a new festival to celebrate the history of Brentford’s waterways. Initially planned for last year but cancelled because of Covid, the Brentford Canal Festival will take place on Saturday June 25 as a one day event from 12 – 6pm.

Organiser Martin Case says:

“to celebrate our waterways, we’re creating a Canal Festival recognising their importance in establishing Brentford and to bring our community together for a day of fun where they can appreciate and enjoy life by the water.”

Brentford was a key location in the transport of goods from the north of England to the River Thames, via the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham. Events will be based around the River Brent, the gauging lock, Brentford Lock piazza and Market Place.

Image above: Brentford Canal Festival programme of events

Music, dance, watersports and street food

“This is an event for ALL, not only to reignite people’s interest in Brentford’s waterways, but in our town’s rich heritage and culture, and to celebrate the vibrancy of life by the water” says Martin.

“This an opportunity to showcase Brentford and all it has to offer with fun for the whole family, including live music, dance and entertainment, arts and crafts, sport, food & drink.”

The Market Place on Brentford High Street will be the place for loud, electronic music and also contemporary dance, including a show by an Albanian dance group. Brentford Lock Piazza and The Dial at the gauging lock will be venues for quieter, acoustic music. There will also be Morris dancing and Maypole dancing at The Dial.

There are already plenty of canal boats to look at, but there will be free trips from the gauging lock to Boston Manor and back, funded by Inspire Hounslow. Active 360 and Edge, based at the arches at Kew Bridge, will be running paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing sessions at Brentford Lock West. The toll house will be open to visitors.

The artists’ studios at Johnson’s Island will be open, as will the Rye on the Water café alongside.

“We’re at a crucial turning point in Brentford’s future and the time has come to introduce Brentford’s unique character, vibrancy and diversity to the wider west London community” says Martin.

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