Stratford River Festival

Stratford River Festival

The Stratford River Festival is a free annual event celebrating life by the water. Visit Stratford-upon-Avon during the river festival for live music, family fun, fireworks, and outdoor food and drink.

Here’s all the essential info on the Stratford River Festival, including where to park, what’s on, and when the fireworks start.

When is the Stratford River Festival?

The 10th Stratford River Festival is on Saturday June 30 and Sunday July 1 2018. This year there’s a pirate theme, with the party spreading across town into Bell Court. See more on that below.

Pirate-inspired fun at this year's Stratford River Festival
Pirate-inspired fun at this year’s Stratford River Festival

Where is the Stratford River Festival held?

The River Festival takes place on Stratford-upon-Avon’s Recreation Ground, across the River Avon from the RSC theatres, between the mini golf area and the Stratford Big Wheel.

Boat rides will be available from the riverbank on this side of the Avon during the Stratford River Festival.

What’s on during the Stratford River Festival?

Stratford River Festival
Stratford River Festival

Things get going at 11am on Saturday, with performances throughout the day on both the bandstand and the acoustic stage from dancers, singers, and bands. The day culminates in a performance by Blues Brothers Reloaded at 8.50pm on the bandstand.

The firework display on Saturday begins 10:30pm.

On Sunday July 1, there are more performances on both stages between midday and 7pm.

There is a delicious selection of global foods available – plus offerings from local pubs, restaurants and food shops, including barbecues from Barry the Butcher and The One Elm, vegan fare from The Townhouse, and fish and chips from Fizz & Fin. The One Elm and The Encore are also running bars, offering cider, ales, Pimm’s, prosecco, Champagne and cocktails.

Also on are family activities, a display of narrow boats, and a craft market.

Stratford River Festival
Stratford River Festival

Car parking for Stratford River Festival

In 2017, more than 57,000 people came to Stratford-upon-Avon for the Stratford River Festival.

Expect roads and public transport to be busy.

There’s a park and ride service available on Saturday at Stratford Parkway station, plus train services from Stratford Parkway station and other nearby stations, public buses and plentiful car parking around the town centre.

Cheap parking in Stratford-upon-Avon is now available at Stratford Hospital, access off Arden Street. All-day parking costs £2.50 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Organiser Stratforward has more information on location, transport and car parking.

What else is on during the Stratford River Festival?

At Bell Court, a Pirates vs Mermaids event takes place across the weekend. There’s a fancy dress competition, free face painting (10am-4pm), live music, dance, and a limited edition rum butter beer at Magic Alley. At Everyman cinema, Pirates of the Caribbean shows at 5pm on Sunday July 1.

Many Stratford-upon-Avon restaurants, bars and cafes will be offering Stratford River Festival specials, including the Crowne Plaza, which is cooking up a barbecue on its lovely terrace.


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Information correct at date of publication