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The Best Stratford River Festival....Ever!

Jul 2015

The Best Stratford River Festival...Ever!

More than 70,000 revelers flocked to Stratford-upon-Avon’s recreation ground for last weekend’s free River Festival, making it the best Stratford River Festival…ever, in its seven-year history. 

Crowds gathered to see over 100 colourful river and narrow boats of all shapes and sizes, and enjoy world class bands, performers, a host of family entertainment, and a grand firework finale.  

Festival Organiser, Ruth Wood of Stratforward said, “We are delighted with the number of visitors at the River Festival and pleased with the feedback from town centre businesses involved.  It seems to be Stratford’s number one event on the social calender!  All accommodation in Stratford was booked up and the economic impact on the town was phenomenal.”

The View Restaurant is located at the recreation ground and its proprietor Carl Harrison commented, “The atmosphere was fantastic, as ever.  It was nice to see the local community and visitors come together and enjoy the Stratford spirit.” 

The One Elm’s Deputy Manager Mat Faulkner agreed, “The One Elm’s Pop up Bar enjoyed this great community event.  It’s been like home from home with so many of our guests coming both to the festival and to The One Elm.”
“What a fantastic weekend!  I’ve never seen Stratford so buzzing!  It’s great to be local girls supporting a local event.” said co-owner Nicola Yapp of The Little Gin Company.

The massive musical line included more than 25 singers, bands and groups.   The performers loved the vibe and award-winning singer –songwriter Kristy Gallacher of Coventry summed up how the performers felt, “Absolutely loved playing the Stratford River Festival – one of the best gigs I’ve had in a long time!”.  

On Saturday night, the headlining band Kinky Farnham, a 9 Piece Funk and Soul Band, was loved by all and helped make Stratford River Fest a night to remember.  The Saturday finale firework display was truly spectacular with an American Independence Day theme as it was July 4th after all! Local company Forest Fireworks provided the fireworks and received many compliments.

“This year’s success is a tribute to the hard work of those working in partnership including the Avon Navigation Trust, Avon Boating, Stratford Ambulance Association, Stratford District Council, Cotswold Markets, Stratford Marina, the traders, volunteers, and the generous financial support of the Stratford Town Trust.  Also the unsung heroes the boaters, who were up from dawn on Sunday for a giant litter pick to restore the site.” said Ruth Wood.

The Festival was organised on behalf of more than 450 town centre businesses - all members of the Stratforward Business Improvement District.  The free Festival Programme included a discount card which is valid for the next two weeks.  Organisers are encouraging people to show their appreciation for this highly popular free event by supporting Stratford town centre businesses. 




Jun 2015


A massive musical line up has been confirmed for next weekend’s Stratford Upon Avon River Festival.  More than 25 singers, bands and groups will take part in the two day extravaganza. 

Among the headline acts will be award-winning singer –songwriter Kristy Gallacher.  The Coventry youngster shot to fame after winning the prestigious LG Arena’s Singer/Songwriter contest.  

She has played in front of music legends such as Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood,  John Mayer,  Elton John, Paul Weller, George Michael and Roxette.

In addition to her own shows, she has supported stars like Ed Sheeran, Micheal Chapman, Scott Matthews, Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze), Mr Big, I Am Kloot's John Bramwell, Miles and Erica (Wonderstuff) Mark Morriss (Bluetones), Show of Hands, Nic Jones, Vin Garbutt and Nerina Pallot.    

Event organiser, Ruth Wood said:  “If you didnt make it to Glastonbury last weekend, the quantity and quality of musical entertainment we have lined up for this year’s River Festival is simply phenomenal.”

She added: “There really is something for everyone whether you are three years old or 103  - and best of all it is free!”

Kristy will perform at The Bandstand at 1pm on the Sunday. The Bandstand is one of two stages that will be in operation on the Recreation Ground, alongside the River Avon, for the duration of the two days.  

Stratford based choir Amicantus will kick off the Festival at 12:15pm on the Saturday with their diverse repertoire which included everything from Mozart to Take That and even a bit of Disney!

The Saturday night headliner is Kinky Farnham, a 9 Piece Funk and Soul Band.  Earlier in the evening the talented 18 piece local Simon Kemp Orchestra will entertain the crowds

Other musical and entertainment acts booked include: 
Andrew James and Paul Johnston, Becky and the Dove, Benjamin Folke Thomas, Copperhead Road, Daisy Chain Quartet, Daniel Nestelrode, Escape Showcase, Floot Street, Folk Friendzy, Ghost of a Dog, Joe and Harry, Joe Morton, Jules Noble, , Miramar, Rhythm Studios Showcase, Rocking Dinosaurs, Rozie T Dance Academy, Sam Green and the Midnight Heist, Shuvani, Sons of the Delta, Supine Orchestra and Swan Tai Chi

Stratford River Festival takes place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July.  More than 70,000 revellers are expected to attend. 

Alongside the music there will be:  Around 100 colourful river and narrowboats moored on the river;  bars and food outlets; a craft market; a mass riverside fancy dress party on the Saturday night followed by an Illuminated Boat Parade at 10pm and then a massive fireworks display.


Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) organises Stratford River Festival. It represents over 450 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford upon Avon town centre. 

Others involved in organising the festival include: The Avon Navigation Trust.
Festival sponsors include: Avon Boating; Stratford Marina; and Stratford Town Trust. 
Festival supporters include: the Dirty Duck, the Garrick Inn, Stratford Sea Scouts; Stratford Boat Club.  

For further media information, please contact Tor Wilkes at Stratforward BID on 01789 299011 or email
Further information is available from  



Jun 2015

A project to improve one of the key gateways into Stratford upon Avon has taken root this week with the installation of huge colourful pavement planters.


Greenhill Street – which links the railway station to the market square – forms one of the main arteries into Stratford, and is used by thousands of pedestrians and motorists each week.

12 planted boxes arranged in groups of two have been placed on the pavements on each side of the road to create a colourful colonnade for passers –by.

Karen Wild, BID Manager for Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) said:

“This relatively short and narrow road is in fact one of the most important streets in the town. Partly because of its historic importance but also because of it being one of the key gateways into modern Stratford.”

She added: “First impressions count, and for many this street offers the first real opportunity to experience what Stratford has to offer.  It is vital that it looks attractive and smart.”

The project is a joint initiative between Stratforward, Stratford In Bloom, Stratford Town Council, Stratford District Council, Warwickshire County Council and the traders of Greenhill Street.

Cynneth Bonanos, the business owner of Mail Boxes in Greenhill Street, said:  “Many people pass through daily by foot and car without bothering to look at the shops and services on offer here.

We have a fantastic and diverse offering of shops, food outlets and services  – everything from ale to antiques, paintings to print and noodles to nails -  and by making the road more attractive we hope that it will slow people down and make them look at just what is right under their noses here”.

Councillor Jenny Fradgley, said: “This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when local organisations and businesses come together to work for the benefit of the town. I hope this is just the beginning, and between us we can do a lot more to transform what’s probably the most important and historic street in Stratford forming part of the original Roman Road that went through the town.”

Pic: Greenhill St from L to R Phil Atherton Ale House, Andrew Edwards Scullery 33, Richard Vos Stratford in Bloom, Cllr Jenny Fradgley,  Karen Wild Stratforward,  Cynneth Bonanos Mail Boxes, Steve Felix Blenheim Nurseries - front

Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) represents over 450 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre.

For further press information, please contact Tor Wilkes at Stratforward BID on 01789 299011 or email


All Aboard for Stratford River Festival - Fancy that!

Jun 2015

                                                  ALL ABOARD FOR STRATFORD RIVER FESTIVAL – FANCY THAT!

Ahoy....thousands of people expected to flock to Stratford next month for the annual Stratford upon Avon River Festival are being asked to dress for the fancy dress! 

Organisers of the two day extravaganza – which takes place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July – are asking revellers attending the Saturday night festivities to dress up to add to the party atmosphere.


Ruth Wood, Event Manager said: "The River Festival is already Stratford’s biggest and best free party but we wanted to add even more colour to the event.”

"There is no particular theme, we are just suggesting people dig out whatever is at the bottom of their wardrobes and come along and party. Pirates, fairies, super – heroes, 70s funksters will all be welcome. There will be prizes for the best.”


The Festival - now in its seventh year - will once again be centred on the river and adjacent Recreation Ground. More than 70,000 people are expected to attend over the weekend.


Ruth Wood added: “The River Festival is definitely one of the highlights of the Stratford annual calendar and there is truly something for everyone over the two days whether you are three or 93 – and best of all it is free!”

Central to the Festival will as usual be the hundreds of boaters who bring their colourful river and canal boats to the event. Thanks to the Avon Navigation Trust around a hundred vessels are expected to be moored up on the river for all to see. Clive Matthews from the Trust said:

"We are very proud to be the main partner working with Stratforward on this prestigious event. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to show the huge amount of work our wonderful volunteers do with all the towns on the river.

The Trust are also organising the Illuminated Boat Parade on the Saturday night. Clive went on: "We hope this year it will be bigger and better than ever with a marvellous new trophy for the best boat taking part."


Immediately after the parade will be the traditional fireworks finale at 10.30pm.  To mark the Festival coinciding with American Independence Day , Forest Fireworks are planning a "Stars and Stripes" theme.

Back on land, masses of free music and entertainment will be on offer. There will be two stages in operation throughout the event – The Bandstand and The Acoustic Stage.   

Stratford based choir Amicantus will kick off the Festival at 12:15pm on the Saturday with their diverse repertoire which includes everything from Mozart to Take That and even a bit of Disney!

Other highlights will include: Kinky Farnham a nine-piece funk and soul band who are headlining on the Saturday night; and award winning singer songwriter Kristy Gallacher - who has recently supported Ed Sheeran – on the Sunday.  A full entertainment programme will be published shortly.


For those needing a little retail therapy there will be a craft market with stalls selling everything from traditional narrow boat ware to handmade books and the work of talented local artists.

Food and drink will also feature heavily. In addition to three bars, there will be a wide range of food offerings including:  BBQ’s; crêpe stalls; Thai, Japanese and Italian cuisine; and even vintage-style toasties served from a classic VW camper van.

The Festival runs from 10am on Saturday 4 July until 8pm on Sunday 5 July and is FREE to attend.

Further information is available from 





Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) organises Stratford River Festival. It represents over 450 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford upon Avon town centre. 

Others involved in organising the festival include: The Avon Navigation Trust.

Festival sponsors include: Touch FM, Avon Boating, Stratford Marina, Stratford Town Trust. 

Festival supporters include: Stratford District Council, The Dirty Duck, The Garrick Inn.

Media sponsors: Touch FM





Stunts in the punt at Stratford River Festival from left to right: Jay Swinfen of Avon Boating, Ruth Wood and Tor Wilkes of Stratforward, John and Heather Dews of Stratford Marina. Fancy dress courtesy of Stratford Fancy Dress Hire.


Boat Loads of Fun at Stratford River Festival from left to right: John Dews of Stratford Marina, Jay Swinfen of Avon Boating, Tor Wilkes and Ruth Wood of Stratforward, Geoff Atkinson of Touch FM. Fancy dress courtesy of Stratford Fancy Dress Hire.


For further media information, please contact Tor Wilkes at Stratforward BID on 01789 299011 or email                 




Stratford River Festival July 4th & 5th

Jun 2015

Stratford Pubs Rule

at Stratford River Festival!

The Sun is finally shining, the days are getting longer and the 7th Stratford River Festival is less than a month away!  It takes place on Saturday 4th July & Sunday 5th July at the Recreation Ground in Stratford.  The Lazy Cow, The Keys and Kitchen and The One Elm will be providing drinks at the event which is the most popular of all of Stratford's free outdoor festivals.  The festival is supported by many organisations including the Avon Navigation Trust, Avon Boating and Stratford Marina. 

The Lazy Cow will provide the Cider and Lager tent.     Jodie O’Meara the Operation Manager of the Lazy Cow group said ‘We’re thrilled to be awarded the Cider and Lager Bar at this year’s River Festival.  We’ve seen the event grow each year and as a local Business we’re really excited to be involved.’

The Keys and Kitchen will be in charge of Pimms, Wine and Champagne.  The One Elm will be serving up traditional Real Ales.   Chillers have been ordered to ensure all drinks are served at the right temperature!  Stratforward Events Manager, Ruth Wood, has put in her own order for glorious weather!

A quintessentially English weekend of fun for the whole family awaits visitors to the Stratford-upon-Avon River Festival this year.  Festival organisers, Stratforward BID, have an action-packed programme of activities and attractions which, feature a craft market, family and charity zone, climbing wall, and live entertainment from world class bands and performers on the bandstand.

Stratford’s River Festival is less than a month to go, so plan to come to this free two day event and laze on the grass, listen to class music, and enjoy some shopping both at the festival and in town, and a little indulgence.  Its a real treat for boat lovers, Saturday evening’s illuminated boat parade is followed by a grand firework finale!

 For further information and event schedule visit

Advertising Opportunities in Upcoming Festival Programmes

May 2015

Would you like to promote your business at the upcoming Stratford free events?

Read on MacBeth!

Comedy Hullabaloo Stratford-upon-Avon

May 2015

A Huge Bank Holiday Weekend of Comedy

On 21-25 May the Comedy Hullabaloo came to town to a chorus of applause. 

It was bigger and better than ever! Jack Dee, All Murray, Russell Kane and Jon Richardson and more entertained in the two Spiegeltents!








Fantastic Atmosphere at Stratford Festival of Motoring

May 2015

Fantastic Atmosphere at Stratford Festival of Motoring! 


Almost 500 classic cars and high performance motors participated in Stratford Festival of Motoring this bank holiday weekend. People flocked into town to see the cars and soak up the sunshine. Car entries were sold out for both days, though the inclement weather on Sunday morning meant that the owners of some convertibles were unable to participate as they had no rain cover; better weather on Monday ensured a fuller turnout.  Live music added to the atmosphere courtesy of The Rocking Dinosaurs, The Voice contestant Karl Loxley and Rozie T's Dance Academy.

The Town centre was largely pedestrianised for the event and full of a huge variety of cars shimmering in the sunshine; from Maserati’s by the theatre, to an exotic chrome wrapped Lamborghini, retro 1980s and classic British vintage cars.  The newest cars included a 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 and an electric Renault Zoe.  Tesla’s high performance electric cars also caused a stir and local dealership, Listers of Stratford, showcased four brands, Honda, Audi, VW and Toyota.  American cars in Wood Street included the oldest car at the festival, a 1913 Model T Ford.  The Motor Heritage Centre, Coventry Transport Museum and the Auto Adrenalin Club added to the mix.

Participating cars were waved off by the festival patron, motoring journalist and Stratford based celebrity, Quentin Willson on a scenic drive around a choice of routes through stunning local countryside.  The Chateau Impney route included driving through a ford. Whilst some drivers chose to avoid it others, spotting a photographer, accelerated or even went through twice to make a big splash!   On arrival back into town they drove slowly through the town centre on a Lap of Honour before parking up according to car themes.  


Children had a fantastic time particularly at the family area in Rother Street where there was Go-Kart action, an art stall, a bouncy castle and the addition of a climbing wall on the Monday.  Children grinned from ear to ear as they clambered aboard the fire engine and had their photos taken!  The children’s car model hunt was really popular with children and parents who set off around Rother Street in search of ten model cars hidden in business windows. Prizes include an impressive Doug Brown radio control Car, tickets for The Creaky Cauldron and Stratford Butterfly Farm. 

Trophies were awarded in a variety of categories and Quentin Willson presented the award for his favourite entrant, a Ford Mustang Shelby owned by Adrian Waller. Adrian first saw the car when he was 17 and it took 20 years from him to be able to buy it!  The Furthest Travelled Award went to Peter Darby who had travelled all the way from Dumfries with his vintage Morgan.  The Treasure Hunt Winner was Owen Bannister in his 1968 Mini Cooper.  The Mayor’s Choice trophy was awarded to Bernard Long of Stratford for his 1953 Triumph Mayflower. 

Over 70,000 extra visitors came to Stratford to enjoy the spectacle and boost the local economy. The organisers, Stratforward, work on behalf of almost 500 town centre businesses, Ruth Wood, Events Manager said, “It was great to see the town centre filled with so many people enjoying the spectacle!  Participants and visitors were delighted that the event was in Stratford town centre as there were able to enjoy the excellent range of shops and restaurants. They loved the Festival and found Stratford so welcoming and friendly. We couldn’t stage this Festival without the support of businesses and the Wellesbourne Lions volunteers. We would like to say a huge thank you for helping to make this event such a success.”




Stratford Festival of Motoring here at last!

May 2015

Stratford Festival of Motoring is this bank holiday weekend on May 3rd and 4th from 930-5pm in Stratford Town Centre.

Over 300 stunning cars will be displayed in town from the theatre through the heart of the town upto Henley Street.  In Rother Market there is a family area with lots to do including a free treasure hunt.  

Live music in Bridge Street with the Rocking Dinosaurs from midday and then The Voice participant Karl Loxley at 2pm.  

Come and enjoy your Bank holiday weekend in Stratford and make the most of the fantastic selection of shops and cafes.


Stratford Festival of Motoring SOLD OUT

Apr 2015

Car entries are now full for Stratford Festival of Motoring!  This is a free festival for the public and takes place in Stratford town centre.

The owners of participating cars are doing the finishing touches to their stunning cars.   Final plans are coming together.  Have you seen the posters and banners up everywhere?

More volunteers still needed to help with the parking and handing out leaflets please.  Work a half day and receive lunch!

Roads will be closed in Stratford Town Centre from 9am to 5pm on Sunday and Monday.

Come and admire the stunning cars including some delights from the Gaydon Heritage Centre -1936 MG SA, 1985 MG 6R4 rally car and a Drive Zone Ford Fiesta!