More than 5,000 visitors helped to celebrate the city’s waterways last weekend. Sheffield Waterfront Festival, the city’s biggest festival of its kind, was organised by us and Kelham Island Museum with support from the River Stewardship Company and coincided with this year’s global celebrations for World Rivers Day.
The city’s waterfront - from Victoria Quays along the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal and the River Don was transformed with a bumper-packed weekend of family-friendly activities, live music, art, food and drink.
On Saturday 23 September visitors enjoyed a range of free water-based activities at Victoria Quays on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, including fishing and canoeing tasters and boat trips along the canal. Other highlights included an exhibition of designs by internationally acclaimed artist Alex Chinneck for the major Tinsley Art Project due to open in 2019, artwork by local artists Norah K Rogerson, Joe Scarborough, Sheila Burys and street artist Philip Padfield. Dancing by 5 Rivers Morris and a tea-party with Victorian ladies and gentlemen, provided a sense of nostalgia to the canal basin site, which opened on 22 February 1819.
The Sheffield Waterfront Festival is part of our plans to reconnect the local community to their waterway over the next 18 months, ahead of the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal’s bicentenary in 2019.
Tom Wright, development and engagement manager for the Canal & River Trust said: "It’s wonderful to see so many people support this event. Sheffield would not be the city it is without its waterways. This festival celebrates the city’s industrial heritage which played such an important part in its development. The River Don and Sheffield & Tinsley Canal not only connected the city to the wider world, they powered the foundries and workshops of the 18th and 19th centuries."
He added: "We’ve been bowled over by the support we’ve had from businesses along city’s waterfront and would love for Sheffield Waterfront Festival to become an annual event. A special thanks to our supporters, who have helped to bring this event to the city – the River Stewardship Company, CMS, Born and Raised and the Hilton Sheffield Hotel and the hard work of The Friends of Blue Loop and those volunteers who have been busy preparing the waterfront to ensure it looks its best ahead of the festival."
On Sunday 24 September visitors enjoyed the setting of Kelham Island Museum on the banks of the River Don to try a range of have-a-go heritage and traditional crafts, community stalls, local artisans, kayaking and riverside walks and talks, plus live music, food and drink.