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Representatives from the Rickmansworth Festival Team attended a meeting hosted by Three Rivers District Council just before Christmas regarding the recent implementation of an Asbestos Management Plan for the Aquadrome.

The plan has designated the Aquadrome as a no dig zone and so nothing can penetrate the ground on the site. This includes digging, raking, staking or any activity which could erode or expose anything below the ground surface. It would preclude the use of stakes for fixing marquees or gazebos, and any vehicle movements on the grassed areas of the site would also be a concern. Any hirer of the ground would also need to pay for appropriate monitoring before and after the event at a cost of between £5000 and £8000 per day for two days of monitoring (a total of £10 – £16k).

Whilst it is possible to fix structures in place with weights or large water barrels this is really suited for working on a hard site when lifting vehicles can be used and access is not compromised by soft ground. Our Festival site manager has confirmed that whilst anything is possible the costs and extra labour required would go up significantly if we considered this possible to do on the site.  There may also be other requirements such as ensuring all contractors were trained.

Therefore I am afraid Rickmansworth Waterways Trust has had no choice but to make the difficult decision to cancel the event for 2024 and no Festival will be possible with these requirements in place.

TRDC stated that they were happy for the Festival to go ahead as long as the conditions of the management plan could be met. However the reality is that the management plan makes it impossible for a non commercial, volunteer led Festival to proceed with an event that uses the Aquadrome.

This is a really sad day for our community and I feel for all the other charities, community organisations and small businesses that have lost an opportunity to promote themselves. Thank you for all your help over many years since our very first event in 1993 and for contributing towards a great event. It will be sadly missed.

David Montague

Chairman and Festival Director,
Rickmansworth Waterways Trust

Some helpful links

Download a festival map

A map of the Festival site and its location in relation to Rickmansworth Town Centre.

Sponsoring RWT through the Festival

Find out more about sponsoring the festival.

How to find us

Download our map for our location and information on parking and transport links.

2023 Festival Programme

Videos of the 2022 Festival

Saturday 21st May

Sunday 22nd May

Videos of the 2015 Festival

Video of the very first Festival

If you want to see how the Festival started out – click here. It has been transferred from VHS before the age of digital video so please excuse the quality!

Videos of 2012 and 2013

If you want a closer look at all there is to do take a look at videos taken by Rickmansworth Councillor Les Mead covering the Saturday and Sunday of the 2012 Festival and the Saturday and Sunday of the 2013 Festival.

If you want to read an account of the 2013 Festival – click here.

Videos of 2014

Further videos by Les Mead taken at our record-breaking 2014 Festival can be seen here.

Our sponsors

We are most grateful for the help and contributions, often over many years, of our Supporters and Sponsors. Without them the Festival could not happen, and the work of the Trust would be very greatly affected.

They include:

Also please visit the page of supporters for our most recent Festival.

Supporting us

Rickmansworth Waterways Trust relies on our many supporters.

You can become a volunteer, in any aspect of our work including our administration, but also in boating, conservation or education.

Rickmansworth Waterways Trust is a local educational and community charity. Help us make a difference.

You could become a Friend of RWT.

You could sponsor any of our activities, including the Festival or our Education programmes.

Be the first to know

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If you want to catch up on recent news from the Trust you can download the latest issues of our twice yearly newsletter, The Batchworth Telegraph.