Angel Canal Festival 2019: 'Brilliant' community celebration returns to City Road Basin
PUBLISHED: 16:59 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 02 September 2019
© Joshua Thurston - All Rights Reserved
Chilling in a floating hot tub was among the quirkier pastimes people enjoyed at the "brilliant" Angel Canal Festival yesterday.
Thousands of people descended on the City Road basin and the towpath alongside Regent's Canal for another incarnation of the beloved community festival.
The annual event, run by Canal & River Trust, featured kayaking and pedalos, a floating market, entertainment for kids and adults and an exhibition on the canal's heritage.
Matthew Symonds, national boating manager for the Canal & River Trust, told the Gazette: "It was a brilliant day. Lots of people may live nearby but don't necessarily know the canal is there, and the event is about celebrating this great resource in Islington but also showing off what we do and how we maintain it.
"There were thousands of people there. It was pretty busy throughout the day. The towpath was throbbing and the parks as well.
"It's great seeing people getting out on the water who have not had a chance to go boating before."
He added: "We are very much trying to make people aware how being by water is great for wellbeing and health and makes you feel relaxed so hopefully people will take that away and visit [the canal] more often."
The late-August sun was smiling on the annual event, which started with the late Crystal Hales' fundraising drive for the narrowboat "Angel" in the 1980s, before Jim Langdon organised the inaugural Angel Canal Festival in 1986. Beryl Windsor and Sasha Kier took over in 1999, before retiring last year due to their ill health, at which point the Trust stepped in. At the time Beryl told this paper; "We are so relieved the festival has been saved."
The popular event, which takes place on the first Sunday of ever September, was faced with closure in 2017 because Beryl and Sasha couldn't find anyone to replace them. But, after Beryl's appeal for help in this paper, the Trust expressed an interest.
The Canal & River Trust charity cares for 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales.