STRATFORD River Festival’s tenth birthday proved a real sizzler.
Some 60,000 revellers descended on the town for two days of music, food and fun as temperatures soared to nearly 30c.
Highlights included 100 plus boats moored up on the Avon; live music and entertainment on the bandstand and acoustic stages; a bustling craft market showcasing many local businesses; the ever-popular family and charity area which featured activities from organisations including Escape Arts, the Shakespeare Hospice and Stratford Town Trust; a whole host of food and drink, much of it provided by local businesses; and a fireworks display on the Saturday night.
The festival also proved its eco-friendly credentials, following in the footsteps of Glastonbury’s aim to go green, with paper straws on offer at several bars and the debut of ‘The Steelie’ – an alternative to plastic beer cups – at The One Elm’s bar.
And thanks to a team of 50 volunteers, which included local litter picking group Rubbish Friends, the Renewal Church, boaters staying at the festival, and Stratforward board members, more rubbish was recycled than ever before at this year’s event.
This year also saw the first Pirates vs Mermaids event in Bell Court shopping centre, including a swashbuckling fancy dress competition and rum-flavoured butter beer.
Joe Baconnet, director of Stratforward BID which organises the festival, said: “What a weekend. We were thrilled to have such great weather and the heat does not seem to have put anyone off.
“One of the most common comments was what a great atmosphere there was down on the riverside and it was great to see people moving across the river to enjoy some of the fantastic local businesses in the town centre.
“Each year both Stratforward and our members are coming up with new ideas to make sure everyone benefits from such an influx of people to Stratford. This year’s Pirates vs Mermaids festival showed it’s possible to encourage people into the town centre so businesses can take advantage of potential customers who are likely to return to our fabulous town.”