Organise a National Trailboat Festival

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FESTIVALS are very useful for drawing attention locally and nationally to the restoration or improvement project your team is working on.

A National Trailboat Festival at Moira on the Ashby Canal. PHOTO: PHIL SHARPE
A National Trailboat Festival at Moira on the Ashby Canal. PHOTO: PHIL SHARPE

A greater awareness of your need for more support is generated as a result of that attention. Festivals are encouraged and promoted by the IWA to highlight your restoration project.

You will draw local political attention to your example of a successful partial restoration that has brought wider benefits to all involved and Trailboat Festivals can also be a source of additional income.

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When people see others gathering and the tranquil movement of pleasure boats, illuminated at night and decorated with bunting and flags on even a small part of their previously disused canal, it gives a lot of pleasure.

It adds considerably to the quality and tone of the locality – urban or rural. It leaves people wanting to see more improvement; it oils the wheels to greater progress; it smooths the passage to reach your goal; you will enrol more supporters, your committee will feel more motivated, and hopefully be offered more funding and resources.

There is no set design for a festival as its very nature will depend upon the waterway being promoted. It will depend in part on the make-up of your committee and the time and effort they are willing to volunteer. Additionally, it will depend on the basic assets and finance that is available and the extent of support from local politicians and the community.

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The IWA has supporters in all parts of the country and we can certainly ask those who are local to you if they are willing to help with preparation, and a waterway recovery group team can provide manual assistance in constructing, running and dismantling as they have been putting on events for years who would certainly be available to give advice, perhaps in person, certainly on the phone or by email.

We are also able to free loan a two-ton trailer full of the sort of gear necessary to stage an event, although you would need a 4×4 vehicle with a tow bar so you can collect it. Some marketing for the event can be carried out centrally as part of the IWA programme advertised each year and the IWA website can also be used. There is also the massive publicity and prestige advantage of your event being badged The IWA National Trailboat Festival for a particular year. You can apply to our Finance Committee for help with your early organising costs.

The format for applications is to submit a written request. As each event tends to be unique to its waterway and to its organising committee; all we need at the outset is an outline proposal of your festival plan.

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We will send you advice on what this should cover and, for your guidance, an example. To secure the approval and support of the IWA it is necessary for us to feel sure the event is likely to take place, also that you will provide an event that is properly planned and a credit to your organising committee, local waterway, and to the IWA.

The IWA Marketing Committee is continuously looking for applicants for Trailboat Festivals for four or five years ahead to allow you plenty of advertising time. The first step is to check that you have the basic facilities available. Just email the trailboat officer for the list: Derek Smith at [email protected] or call 07500 300347.

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