Your Canal Boat's first slogan was a wry "everyone needs more canal in their life." Call us zealots. Cite the Law of the Hammer ("When your only tool is a hammer, the whole world looks like nails"), we really believe London's canals, its peculiarly elongate boats and this particular canal community, are resources to incentivise physical activity, energise history lessons, and learn new ways to live, off-grid, in the middle of the world's most interesting city. Fun stuff. And since the pandemic, important stuff too.
Because with live venues shuttered, the world's greatest entertainers need performance spaces and London audiences need places to enjoy them. Preferably outdoors, in Covid-19 secure surroundings. Places like Mary Seacole Park in Harlesden, where last September -- the same week that pubs were being forced to close an hour early -- we debuted "the world's smallest canal boat festival," in a place that hadn't seen performance in 220 years.
We know dozens of places like that. Many are scattered along 13 miles of the Paddington Arm connecting Central London to Southall and Hays. Add a boat for musicians and each one become a venue. We want to add up to 20. Three kitted out as stages, to support music and talks; and seventeen "roving traders"who live full-time selling goods and services on the water. Moving as one, in accordance with Canal and River Trust requirements for continuous cruising, our Brigadoon-like village will appear in a new spot every two weeks, like its mythical namesake, (on caffeine) as we traverse the whole of West London, gradually morphing into an Indian-flavoured gala.
Indeed, each weekend program is intended to reflect the surrounding community, with outreach to local schools, and support from local business. And each two-week residency concludes with residents meeting CRT and municipal officials to discuss maintenance of the site, and begin planning next year's event.
Brigadoon will pull back the curtain on the event planning process as well, giving residents access to our library of site-specific risk assessments and Covid-19 protocols to facilitate replicating the event, and helping the procession become an annual affair.
We've got great rewards for those who contribute: £5 gets you a pint with the Captain, for £50 you can join the crew when we move. Need a venue for your wedding reception? We can provide that too, with a singer-songwriter singing indie tunes. Whatever your need, we know how to fix it. With a canal boat.
WEEKEND FESTIVALS (free to everyone!)
- a flotilla of 12 boats including a circus boat, 3 stage boats, book boat, bicycle repair boat, radio boat and more!
- well-being (yoga, cycling and running)
- live music
- open stage
- nautical skills (knot-tying, mooring, canal history, rescue)
- talking panels / community discussions: environment, writing, canal life
- writer's Q&A and book signing including Cleo Sylvestre (pictured below with HER backup singers in 1964)
- workshops for kids and youths: nautical skills, vlogging, history, sea shanties
- well-being: running, cycling, yoga and fitness
- competitions: Canal's Got Talent (Historical poster competitions (schools / community group)
Mary Seacole Gardens: May 29-31
Westway: June 12-13
Ladbroke Grove: June 26-27
Mary Seacole Gardens: July 10-11
Abbey Road: July 24-25
Atlip Road: Aug 7-8
Paradise Fields: Aug 21-22
Willow Tree Open Space: August 28-29
Bulls Bridge: Sept 4-5
HOW WILL WE USE THE MONEY?
Obviously putting this together will cost money. These are some of the costs we need to cover:
1 FTE staff over 7 months to plan events, book artists and engage with community groups - £9,107
Boat rental for 14 days - £7,000
Music acts - £2,100
Performers: Circus, puppeteers, actors 14 days - £2,100
Workshop facilitator leading children's activities - £1,750
Event Marshall/Cleaning staff to maintain Covid-safe practice - £1,500
Business Skills for Boaters trainer - £1,400
Event promotion- £1,000
Materials to create additional stage boats for event and future use - £850
Portaloo for 7 weekends - £700
Other - £4,63