Reading Borough Council’s much-loved Water Fest returns Saturday 8 June celebrating Kennet and Avon Canal and many historic spots along the towpath

The free one-day event, brought to you by Reading Borough Council in partnership with the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, takes place on Saturday 8 June between 11am and 5pm, within the Forbury Gardens, Abbey Ruins and along the River Kennet, celebrating the Abbey’s rich 900-year history and its environmental and heritage connections with Reading’s waterways. 

Local groups and organisations will be hosting creative workshops, talks, musical and poetry performances, raising awareness and inspiring action in response to the climate emergency and celebrating 35 wonderful Water Fest years with a programme full of fun, music, dance and activities.

Water Fest is Reading’s annual celebration of the river the town was built on, which became a canal in 1723. The event showcases the Kennet and the gorgeous and historic spots on its towpath. Visitors will be able to take in the sights and sounds as they wander through Chestnut Walk and admire the beautifully painted boats, Riverside Walk, Forbury Gardens and the renowned Abbey Ruins where there will be a mix of traditional and contemporary music and dance across four stages. For the first time this year, visitors will be also able to explore the new public plaza at Huntley Wharf. 

Highlights include:

  • Charity Super.Mkt pop-up event - a range of stalls boasting carefully curated collections of second-hand treasures, chic, pre-loved clothing and accessories,
  • Red or Dead co-founder Wayne Hemingway will join The People’s Catwalk - a sustainable fashion show where thrifted gems will take centre stage.
  • Water Fest marks the start of Reading Climate Festival the full programme of events can be found here
  • Forbury Gardens will host Blue Collar Street Food
  • Plus garment and jewellery upcycling workshops and lots more

Find out more about this year’s exciting programme at

Last updated on 30/05/2024