Riverfest’s sixth successful year was the hottest yet!

The annual Riverfest steamed off to another great success with some 4,000 people attending. Highlights of the day included watercraft of all shapes and sizes visiting the event, and free boat and canoe trips thanks to Medina Valley Centre and Cowes Sailability Club. Visitors were treated to a variety of music and dance. Starting of proceedings was the Vectis Corps of Drums, who struck up once they heard the 11am cannon blast sounded by the notorious Wight Pirates!

The Classic Boat Museum was present, with their crafts, along with the Maritime Volunteer Service, Sailability and Medina Valley Centre.

The Vectis Corps of Drums played a melody of traditional band music, including music popular during the First World War, very poignant as we prepare to remember family members who gave their lives during that conflict. During both world wars the banks of the Medina were a hive of industry and commerce, and particularly boat and shipbuilding.

During the day Vectis Radio, who are based on Newport Quay, in the Riverside Centre, broadcast live. They were complimented by Rod’s Sonic Sounds, playing a melody of river and sea related tunes. Dance demonstrations proved popular, with Wight Stars members and students from the LBV Dance Company putting on vibrant energetic performances of modern and contemporary dance. There was also a demonstration of Isle of Wight Salsa with members of the public joining in, and finding out about the club.

As always the array of local food proved popular, with Tansy’s Vegetarian Bus café making a dramatic backdrop to the Food Circle in their 1970s converted Dorset bus, local hog roasts was on offer along with Hamilton’s local sausages, served up by enthusiastic members of Vectis Sunrise Rotary, who are based at the Riverside Centre. Pizza’s made in a traditional stone oven, crepes and ice cream all made for a gastronomic delight.

In all some thirty local charities had stalls urging the public to support their good causes and raising funds. Twenty local business also benefited taking full advance of the hottest day of the year to promote their goods and services, ranging from local produced cakes and jams to handicrafts, hand-whittled wooden toys and gifts, to solar panels and trendy handbags. One of the most popular local businesses was a new Island company, Digital Recycle, who reclaim old computers. They sold out of all stock within two hours!

The local Green Towns initiative explained to those at the event, how they could get involved with the scheme. Which involves local people in practical ways to green their neighbourhoods. Newport Parish Council is one of the champions of this local project, and were there to highlight their success.

The Wight Pirates, 18th century historical reinactors, were joined by some local Vikings and visitors witnessed sword fighting and an exchange of musket fire.

The Southern Co-operative Funeral Care, the main supporter of the event, fully embraced the spirit of Riverfest, with one willing volunteer dressing up as a mermaid, whilst other colleagues encouraged people to vote for the best decorated bird box, the boxes having being made by clients at the Riverside Centre, and artistically painted by students from the nearby Medina College.

Visitors found out about plans to tackle invasive non-native plants on our rivers and how they could support Gift to Nature and save bees, from the Natural Enterprise stand.

The Footprint Trust, who organise the annual community event promoted their WarmerWight Plus project, that during the recent winter has assisted some 500 people, concerned about their energy and water bills. Their popular cultural game “Poo In the Loo” attracted dozens of punters keen to play the educational game. Interest was also shown in their solar powered train set, put together the highlight the fact that the price of solar installations has dramatically fallen, to around £4,000 per household.

They also highlighted the government’s new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, which is to be launched nationally in June. This will pay money towards the cost insulation, new boilers and double-glazing etc.

They also promoted their opportunity for people to donate towards the charity’s Anti-Freeze fund. Where local people can give money to help keep vulnerable people warm by funding new boilers etc.

Southern Water supported the event and gave away hundreds of water saving devices along with a gadget to prevent oil and grease from entering the sewerage system.

Riverfest also highlighted the wildlife that live on and near the Medina, with Natural Enterprise, Natural Wight, the local Wildlife Trust, The Wight Nature Fund, the National Trust all explaining their important work.

The Isle of Wight Bus Museum placed two of their historic buses on the Quay, which brought a lot of attention, and helped promote their Bus Event, the following day.

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, Ray Harrington-Vail, the event organiser said,

“This has been the most successful Riverfest to date – thanks to all the support and hard work form so many individuals and organisations. We are so grateful for the support of Newport Parish Council, Southern Co-operative, Vectis Sunrise Rotary, Southern Water, The Riverside Centre and the Isle of Wight Council, without which this event would not be possible…”

“ We have had a request from children that they would like to see some animals at the event. So are keen to hear from friendly farmers or local wildlife sanctuaries that may wish to attend. Please call me on 822282 ”

The organisers are now planning next year’s event, which provisionally will take place on Saturday 16th May 2015 – subject to tides and permission from the IW Council. More detail visit… https://www.footprint-trust.co.uk/riverfest.html


Riverfest 2014 was supported by

Newport Parish Council. The parish council serves seven wards, Carisbrooke, Newport Central, Newport East, Newport North, Newport South, Newport West and Parkhurst. If there any items you wish to discuss further, please contact the Clerk or your local Parish Councilor.
Maxine Yule, Clerk of Newport Parish Council said: ‘’Newport Parish Council has supported this fun and informative event since 2010 and we are delighted to continue the support this year.’’ http://www.newportwight.org.uk/

The Southern Cooperative has always had a purpose beyond simply making profit and is committed to being a responsible and sustainable business. We are an independent cooperative owned by our 145,000 plus members, with over 200 food stores and funeral homes across southern England. We are a strong advocate for local food and drink, working with local farmers and producers to grow our ‘Local Flavours’ range (which stands at 1200 lines selling across nine counties), as well as our support for local food community networks.

Gemma Lacey, Head of Sustainability at The Southern Co-operative, which is supporting Riverfest, said: “The Southern Cooperative has always had a purpose beyond simply making profit and is committed to being a responsible and sustainable business. As well as reducing the environmental impact of our own food stores and funeral care business, we’re keen to support our local communities to be more environmentally sustainable, which is why we’re pleased to be part of Riverfest.” www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk

On board this year was Vectis Sunrise Rotary Club, who were proudly representing the Island’s Rotary clubs. Belonging to a Rotary Club gives men and women an enjoyable and organised way to make a contribution to their community and make a positive difference across the world. The club is made up of enthusiastic, fun loving and active people from all walks of life, many of whom have busy working lives. Employed or retired, male or female, young or old, the common bond is a wish to help others, meet new friends and make a difference to the lives of those less fortunate.

They get together on a weekly basis to share ideas, pool skills and raise money, not only for underprivileged people around the world, but also for local people and organisations. All our members also enjoy the active social and sporting life of the club. Vectis Sunrise Rotary Club meets for breakfast at the Riverside Centre every Wednesday morning throughout the year. If you would like to have further information on the Rotary organisation or would like to join them for breakfast, then please call Jeremy Dale on 539530. www.vectisrotary.org

Andy Shaddick, Public Affairs Manager at Southern Water said: “Southern Water is delighted to support the Riverfest event and partner with the Footprint Trust. The roadshow team will be on hand to meet our customers and give out lots of helpful information, advice and freebies on saving water and keeping drains working properly.”

The Footprint Trust would like to acknowledge and thank for all their help with this event; Newport Harbour Master, Wayne Pritchard and his staff.
Permission to use the public quay has been given by the Isle of Wight Council with support and help from the Council’s Events Team. “ Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust.


Organiser Ray Harrington-Vail.
Those wanting to find out more about Newport Riverfest can visit The Footprint Trust’s website https://www.footprint-trust.co.uk/riverfest.html
or phone 01983 822282 or email ray@footprint-trust.co.uk