Berkshire

Floods stop boats from reaching Reading's Water Fest

Kennet and Avon Canal
A red alert is in place on the River Kennet after heavy rain

A water festival in Reading is going to be held on land - after flooding prevented boats from arriving on time.

The Water Fest usually features about 20 canal boats, boat tours and a best-decorated vessel competition.

But heavy rain resulted in Reading's County and Fobney Locks becoming flooded and impassable.

Without boats, the festival will be restricted to stalls along the river. Organiser Mike Rodd said he hoped visitor numbers will not be affected.

He added: "As it stands, boats still can't reach Water Fest and we don't anticipate any boats will be able to arrive by Saturday."

Charity and craft stalls will be moved from the towpath into The Forbury Gardens where the performance stage and children's activities are also taking place.

Mr Rodd believes the lack of boats will not affect visitor numbers as most are "not boaters, but local people having a day out".

He added: "It is a water festival in the sense it's by the water, admittedly without any boats in the water."

The event is jointly organised by Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and Reading Council.

Marian Livingston, of Reading Council, said: "Water Fest will be different this year due to circumstances beyond our control, but we're looking forward to welcoming a large crowd to The Forbury Gardens and the other sites to take advantage of all the activities happening there."

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