No more IWA National Festival


- Credit: Archant

There will be no National Festival organised by the Inland Waterways Association next year – nor for the foreseeable future.

IWA had hoped to combine its National Festival with next year’s annual Stratford River Festival – but now sees the financial risks a too great, having lost money heavily at this year’s National at Cassiobury Park in Watford (pictured). For the future, it aims to put its efforts into “rallies with clear campaign purposes”, as well as continuing to run successful regional IWA events such as the Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade, and providing support for other organisations’ major events – including Stratford River Festival.

As IWA National Chairman Les Etheridge put it “the old formula clearly no longer works, and a new style is needed”. He did, however, stress that festivals were important to IWA: in 2014 as well as the regular annual events it will he staging a National Campaign Rally in Chester in support of the campaign to reopen and improve the River Dee link, as well as a National Trailboat Festival to celebrate the reopening of the isolated Grand Western Canal following repairs to a major embankment burst last year. And it has promised a “traditional boat rally” over the August Bank Holiday weekend.