Video: annual Riverside Festival a success

By Ollie Heppenstall

This year’s annual Leicester Riverside Festival was a stunning success.

The festival, which took place across yesterday (SATJUNE1) and today,  brought festival-goers out in droves to sample everything from handcrafted jewellery to live music and street food, as well as a strong presence from various Leicester-based charities.

The river itself was awash with canal and narrow boats, with one playing host to local performing arts group House of Verse and another being the base for Towpath Tipple, selling craft brewed cider.

While along Western Boulevard, artists from all over Leicester and Leicestershire had art on display, proving incredibly popular throughout.

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A warm Saturday on the Soar

Artist Barbara Bagley said: “This was my first year at the festival and it’s been a huge success so far, seeing people take an interest in what I’ve got is hugely rewarding for me.

“I mainly paint townscapes, although initially I painted a lot more landscapes – I found people related to something they recognised, like a town, much easier than they could do with a landscape.”

She also said: “I took a lot of inspiration from the artwork of Tony Ross, so a lot of my townscapes are squashed together. It’s a very distinctive style that’s proven really popular.”

Martin Lloyd of Towpath Tipples, moored along the canal opposite Newarke Point, said: “I started Towpath Tipples as a new career, I’d been working in the AA and I couldn’t stand the long winter months. I already owned my own boat so it made sense to try and factor it in.

“There’s nothing we stock that’s available on the high street, we do our best to support artisans. Cider’s a different kettle of fish entirely, it’s much more difficult to produce than beer or lager because there’s more to it than the brewing process – each orchard is different, so there’s much more to take into account.”

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Rain didn’t stop play on a damp Sunday

He also said: “We’re doing 11 more festivals this year, going all over the country. I love having the freedom to move and having the purpose with it. It helps that we’re passionate about supporting what’s real, there’s nothing in what we sell that’s artificial or that doesn’t come from nature itself.

“Because we don’t have the facilities or means to produce our own, we get stock in from distributors every 3 or 4 weeks. For us a good weekend is £400.

“It’s the fastest way to slow down.”

While the Sunday was a damper affair, it didn’t stop this year’s festival being an overwhelming success as live music up and down the canal soundtracked the weekend’s events.


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