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Reading Water Fest 2024 – Programme Of Events And Activities

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Back again for its 35th year, Reading Borough Council’s much-loved Water Fest on Saturday 8 June celebrates and shows off the Kennet and Avon Canal in all its glory, as well as the many historic spots that can be found along the towpath.

Reading Water Fest 2024 - 8th June

The free one-day event, brought to you by Reading Borough Council in partnership with the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, takes place on Saturday 8 June between 11am and 5pm, within the Forbury Gardens, Abbey Ruins and along the River Kennet, celebrating the Abbey’s rich 900-year history and its environmental and heritage connections with Reading’s waterways. 

Local groups and organisations will be hosting creative workshops, talks, musical and poetry performances, raising awareness and inspiring action in response to the climate emergency and celebrating 35 wonderful Water Fest years with a programme full of fun, music, dance and activities.

Water Fest is Reading’s annual celebration of the river the town was built on, which became a canal in 1723. The event showcases the Kennet and the gorgeous and historic spots on its towpath. Visitors will be able to take in the sights and sounds as they wander through Chestnut Walk and admire the beautifully painted boats, Riverside Walk, Forbury Gardens and the renowned Abbey Ruins where there will be a mix of traditional and contemporary music and dance across four stages. For the first time this year, visitors will be also able to explore the new public plaza at Huntley Wharf. 

Highlights include:

  • Charity Super.Mkt pop-up event – a range of stalls boasting carefully curated collections of second-hand treasures, chic, pre-loved clothing and accessories,
  • Red or Dead co-founder Wayne Hemingway will join The People’s Catwalk – a sustainable fashion show where thrifted gems will take centre stage.
  • Reading Climate Festival will take over part of the festival site with stalls, information and talks regarding climate action – featuring many of Reading’s local climate change organisations. Inspiring climate action through creative activity. The full programme for the Climate Festival can be found here https://readingcan.org.uk/festival/
  • Forbury Gardens will host Blue Collar Street Food
  • Plus garment and jewellery upcycling workshops and lots more

Find out more about this year’s exciting programme at https://www.reading.gov.uk/leisure/things-to-do/events/water-fest/

Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Leisure and Culture, said:

“There is so much to look forward to at Water Fest 2024 and celebrating its 35th year, the event on Saturday 8 June will put the planet at its heart, celebrating our beautiful waterways and inspiring everyday action and changes we can all take to protect them.”

Water Fest is sponsored by Station Hill and the Fashion Zone is sponsored by Tomato Energy.

Alex Aitchison, on behalf of the Station Hill joint venture between Lincoln and MGT said: “The Station Hill team is proud to sponsor Reading Water Fest 2024.  The centre of Reading is undergoing a dramatic transformation of which Station Hill is a key element. High profile events like Water Fest serve to showcase the town more widely and the diverse range of activities which it offers to those visiting, living and working in Reading.  As well as offering up to 1,300 homes – including ‘Ebb & Flow’ in Friars Walk – and more than 600,000 sq ft of best-in-class office space, Station Hill will deliver two acres of public realm and other spaces, representing an investment of around £50 million in social infrastructure, landscaping and improved pedestrian accessibility.  We hope that everyone attending Reading Water Fest 2024 has a great day out!”

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