4 November 2022

The next National Trailboat Festival is planned to take place in 2024, and sites are under discussion about sites for 2025 and 2026. An announcement for the 2024 Festival should be made in late 2023.

Trailboat Festivals are very useful for drawing attention locally and nationally to restoration or improvement projects. In addition to a greater awareness of the project, these events can draw local political attention to successful restorations and also provide a source of additional income. When people see others gathering and the tranquil movement of pleasure boats – illuminated at night and decorated with bunting and flags – on even a small part of their previously disused canal, it gives a lot of pleasure. It adds considerably to the quality and tone of the locality – urban or rural. It leaves people wanting to see further improvement and attracts more supporters for the restoration project.

For those interested to host a Trailboat Festival in future years:

There is no set design for a Trailboat Festival as its very nature will depend upon the waterway being promoted. These events depend in part on the availability of volunteers, financial resources, and the extent of support from local politicians and the community. We have members and supporters in all parts of the country, and can certainly ask those who are local to you if they are willing to help with preparation. A Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) team could be available if requested, depending on availability, to provide manual assistance in constructing, running and dismantling as they have people who have been putting on events for many years and may be available to give advice in person, over the phone or by email. We may also be able to free loan a two-ton trailer full of the sort of gear necessary to stage an event, although a 4×4 vehicle with a tow bar is required to collect it. Some marketing for the event can be carried out centrally as part of our programme of events which is advertised each year, and our website can also be used. You can apply to our Finance Committee for help with your early organising costs.

The format for applications is to submit a written request but the first step is to check that you have the basic facilities available. Please email the Trailboat Officer for a list of required facilities. As each event tends to be unique to its waterway and to its organising committee, all we need at the outset is an Outline Proposal of your Trailboat Festival Plan. We will send you advice on what this should cover and an example for guidance. To secure the approval and support of IWA, it is necessary for us to feel sure the event is likely to take place and that the event is planned properly. Organisers will need to plan several years ahead and have a suitable budget in place. For assistance with answering the questions in the application, just email [email protected]. We are continuously looking for applicants for Trailboat Festivals up to 4/5 years in advance to allow plenty of advertising time.