14 September 2022

IWA returned to Burton upon Trent for the third time with the Festival of Water which delighted crowds at Shobnall Fields during the August Bank Holiday weekend. In the Arena, children (and adults) showed off their Giant Jenga skills, tried to kick footballs past the goalie, learned how to throw a rope correctly, and were taught how to drive a digger. There was a superb choice of food available at the Festival of Water 2022, from delicious chunks of meat at the carvery, sausages and bacon rolls, Vietnamese street food, pancakes and ice cream to fragrant Indian vegetarian bhajis, pakoras and spring rolls, and numerous stalls with everything from promoting charities to selling wooden toys.

The bar did brisk trade with a great choice of beers, ciders, Pimms and Prosecco and there was a continuous programme of entertainment in the Entertainments Marquee featuring local artistes and festival favourites, including the acclaimed Lucy Ward, Miles & Margaret and Burton Folk Group.

Nearly 100 boats, from traditional working boats to modern narrowboats, decked with bunting, flags and flowers were moored along the towpath and adjacent to Shobnall Fields and attracted a constant stream of admirers. The static display of illuminated boats was very popular.

Councillor Philip Hudson, Mayor of East Staffordshire, who opened the festival on Saturday, said he was delighted to welcome The Inland Waterways Association back to the Trent & Mersey Canal, one of the earliest to be built, with strong links to Burton. He hoped visitors would also visit some of the many easily accessible attractions. John Butler, IWA National Treasurer, thanked Councillor Hudson for the Council’s support and all the volunteers who make the event possible.

At the Awards Ceremony on Monday afternoon, four awards were presented:

  • Best picture coloured by a child aged 4 – 8 years was awarded to Charlotte Green, aged 6 and in the 9-13 years category it was awarded to Bella Whiting, aged 9.
  • The Ray Dunford Trophy for the best illuminated/decorated boat was awarded to Jonathan Brown for his narrowboat Brown Trout, with commendations going to Peppertree, Alice and Bezzitoo.
  • The Offley and Slack Propellor Trophy, for the highest number of boats attending the festival, was awarded to Stafford Boat Club, with 9 boats.
  • The Festival of Water Harbourmasters introduced their own special prize this year, to recognise the support of the local community, some of whom decorated their back gardens to complement the boats. Two bottles of wine were presented to Cyril Dutton for his beautiful display of flags.

Thank you to everyone who attended Festival of Water 2022.

We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and will look forward to seeing you again next year!

In the meantime, you can view some of our favourite photos from the festival below.