STRATFORD RIVER FESTIVAL - COME, HAVE FUN, STAY SAFE AND GO  HOME HAPPY!

STRATFORD RIVER FESTIVAL - COME, HAVE FUN, STAY SAFE AND GO HOME HAPPY!

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Stratford this weekend (1 & 2 July) for the town’s annual River Festival. The award-winning event, now in its ninth year, is one of the region’s most popular summer attractions pulling in tens of thousands of people over the two days.

Set on and alongside the idyllic River Avon, against the backdrop of the iconic Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church, the Festival last year attracted footfall of 60,000 over the two days.

Organisers are once again promising a bonanza of family fun with everything from boats, bands, bars and bbq’s to markets, treasure hunts and fireworks. Festival goers are however being asked to co-operate with additional security arrangements this year, brought in following the recent tragic incidents around the country.

Stratforward BID Director Joe Baconnet said: “We are once again planning an amazing event for the whole family to enjoy. However, visitor safety is our priority and we’ve put in place measures to maximise public safety, working closely with authorities.

The additional security measures will include extra specialist staff, including dog handlers, and random bag and vehicle searches.

Mr Baconnet added: “The River Festival is all about community and families coming together for fun but we would ask any visitors to please be patient, vigilant and to cooperate with any security requests, including random bag and vehicle searches. They have been put in place to make sure everyone can come, have fun, stay safe and go home happy.”

The Festival kicks off on Stratford’s Recreation Ground at 11am on Saturday with well-known local choir Amicantus on the main stage. Musical and dance acts will then keep audiences entertained from the main stage and Acoustic Community Stage until 10pm on the Saturday, and then again between 11am and 7.30pm on the Sunday.

The Acoustic Community Stage, sponsored by Costco, will not only offer up the very best in musical talent but also offer an opportunity for adults and kids to have a go with a range of workshops allowing aspiring maestros to have a go at performing.

Festival favourite, Cotswold based 9-piece funk and soul band Kinky Farnham, return to headline on the main stage on the Saturday night at 8.30pm. The evening will be finished off with the usual fantastic firework display by Forest Fireworks.

For foodies there will be plenty of treats to tickle the tastebuds including everything from pies, pancakes and pasta to wraps, baps and BBQ’s. There will also be a selection of bars including a Pimms, wine & champagne bar, a spirits and cocktails bar and an ale, cider & lager.

This year, the River Festival has attracted more charity stalls than ever before reflecting the positive impact that the event has on engagement with local charities. There are over 30 charities attending and some are within a Stratford Town Trust funded area for smaller charities to raise awareness and look for recruits.

There will also be a Town Centre Treasure Trail, organised by BID Business Magic Alley. The forms for “The Great Stratford River Festival Treasure Hunt” will be available at the River Festival and will take participants around the town and to local businesses picking up clues. There will be fabulous prizes available for entrants.

“It’s shaping up to be a great event as usual”, said Mr Baconnet. “Our message to everyone is come, have fun, stay safe and go home happy.”