Charity Events

Festival to raise funds for community narrowboat

By Sarah Edwards

The Oxford Canal will be coming to life with music, song, stories and more in a special celebration on Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9. The Oxford Canal Festival will not only be raising awareness of one of Oxford’s best-kept watery secrets; it will also be raising money to purchase and restore a special narrowboat for everyone to enjoy.
Run by the local community, the Festival aims to bring people together – from walkers and nature enthusiasts to boaters and people from the local community who live on or near the canal. They will be performing, entertaining, displaying traditional canal arts, guiding walks and telling stories. It will be part of the Oxford Open Doors programme which takes place over the same weekend.
Festival Co-Director Stephanie Pirrie, who also runs the popular Jericho Singers community choir, said: “We have some great bands and singers lined up, lots of colourful activities for adults and children – plus a few surprises. There will also be boats taking people for short trips during the day.”
The last Festival was held two years ago, in June 2016 and the organisers are hoping for much drier weather this time – but even if it does rain cats and dogs, the Festival will have the latter in hand, and under canvas, with its very own Dog Show, back by popular demand.
The Oxford Canal Festival aims to raise at least £5,000 to buy and restore a neglected narrowboat for use by schools, community and arts groups as a stage boat, so that performances can be held up and down the canal. James Fry, Festival Co-Director and Oxford City Councillor for North Ward said: “We want to invite local people to get involved with the boat’s restoration. When it’s back to its former glory, it will be a focus for canal events and activities. We’re still searching for the right boat, so watch this space… and anyone who can help, please do get in touch!”
To get involved email steph@stephpirrie.com