Image: Canal & River Trust
East London Waterways Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park welcomes everyone to join the celebrations of the re-opening of Carpenters Road Lock. We caught up with Joanna Steele, from the Canal & River Trust, the woman behind bringing the Waterways Festival to life. She let us in on all of the excitement and tells us exactly why you should be there to enjoy the East London Waterways Festival too!
What is the Waterways Festival?
The East London Waterways Festival is an event to show people all of the amazing things you can do on the waterways of East London. In particular, it will celebrate the completion of a £1.9million project to restore Carpenters Road Lock in the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The restoration is the final piece in the jigsaw to reopening the Bow Back Rivers, which was made a reality by the London Olympics.
What should someone planning to attend the Waterways Festival expect?
Fun! A chance to visit what is still one of the newest parts of London, and find out what the area has to offer.
What activities are taking place on the day of the festival?
A boat flotilla, dragon boat racing, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, rowing, free boat trips, and pedalos. There will also be live music and dance performances, activities for children, heritage walks, food stalls and more. In the evening Nomad Cinema will be hosting a screening in the lock of the film ‘How we used to Live’ introduced by the writer, Travis Elborough.
Is the Waterways festival suitable for all ages?
Yes, definitely, it’s a great event to bring the whole family along to.
Waterways Festival is in celebration of the opening of Carpenters Road Lock. Why is this such an important moment for the Canal & River Trust?
The completion of Carpenters Road Lock will in effect open up a new waterway route of around three miles for people to enjoy. Canals and rivers are amazing places to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, while getting active in the outdoors is great for people’s health. Improved waterways also support new leisure activities and business.
What does the restoration of the Bow Back Rivers mean for the future of the British waterways?
The way I think about it is, imagine if a city famous for its canals, like Venice or Amsterdam, opened up three miles of new waterways. It’d be big news! That’s what this project (which is the final piece of a wider, 10-year long programme of works) is enabling us to do here in east London.
What charity work does the Canal & River Trust do?
We care for 2,000 miles of waterways across the country, including over 60 miles in Greater London. The waterways are like long linear parks, full of life, variety and wildlife. As a charity our job is keep them open and keep improving them, so that local communities can get the most out of them – whether that’s living on or alongside them, using them for leisure, socialising or relaxing.
Do you intend to run more festivals in the future?
We definitely hope to. Of course, the more people we can get along to the Festival the better it will be!
The Waterways Festival will be taking place on the 28th August from 12pm-6pm. Entry and all activities are free, so bring the whole family along for a fun Bank Holiday day out!