Oxford Canal Festival 2018



Live music * Canal-themed family fun * Canal Olympics * Live music * Dog Show * Food and drink * Fancy dress parade * Children's Video Competition * Boat rides * Canal traders * walks and talks* and much more



The next Oxford Canal Festival will be in September 2020, date to be announced soon! bookmark this page.




Oxford Canal Festival 2016

We're looking forward to seeing you at the 2018 Canal Festival, 7-9 September for a fabulous FREE programme of activities for all the family.

Join us for a wonderful celebration of the Oxford Canal, its attractions and its colourful history. All proceeds will go towards the purchase and restoration of a community narrowboat for everyone to enjoy.

Get  involved, from films to dressing up - see panel, right, for how you can join in. If you are under 16 enter our Young Videomakers competition, or our Best Dressed competition - decorate your canal garden or boat.

And if you would like to lend us a hand, do contact us.

There is NO PARKING available a the festival, please arrive on a bike, on foot or by public transport.


Friday September 7
Three Chords and the Truth

The White Hart, Wolvercote
From 7.30pm

Eclectic session/jam. Bring instruments and join Wolvercote "master of many styles" Ben Avison. Or just come along, have a drink and enjoy the music.

Saturday September 8


11.00am Canal walk

This event is now fully booked.

A one-hour Heritage walk
with local historian, author and boat resident Mark Davies from Hythe Bridge to Aristotle Lane. Pre-booking required via: www.oxfordpreservation.org.uk or email mark.oxhist@gmail.com.
The route will encompass a railway
swingbridge, an important canal lock, and the literary-rich suburb of
Jericho, with reference to 'extraordinary people' of both boat and bank.'
No charge but contributions welcomed.

1.30pm: Dog Show

Free to enter - no previous experience required. Many classes - Waggiest tail, Prettiest Bitch,  Handsomest Dog, Best Trick,  Best Sausage catcher and Fancy Dress!

3pm Canal Olympics

Canal-themed fun and games. Bring friends and family. Something for everyone from boaters' arm wrestling to sack-of-coal race and Canal Tug challenge.

3.45pm Fancy Dress Competition

Dress up, join in or simply enjoy the parade. Costumes with an aquatic theme. No need to register, just turn up. Prizes for the best outfits.
Judging will take place in the Arena at approximately 3.45pm

4.30pm Wildlife walk: the Trap Grounds

Join us by Aristotle Bridge for a guided walk around the Trap Grounds Local Wildlife Site and Town Green, led by Linda Losito and Bob Cowley, ending with an alfresco glass of wine.


Don't forget our "Join in" events, see panel on right!


Thank you to all our sponsors and partners. More info.

Please note the following safety Information about the Oxford Canal Festival

  • No professional recording equipment
  • No Glass bottles
  • No illegal substances
  • Anyone found in possession of illegal substances will be handed over to the police
  • Unsociable behaviour or intimidation will not be tolerated
  • Perpetrators may be removed from the event, police may be called if necessary





Sunday September 9
The Big Canal Ceilidh Band

St Barnabas Church, Jericho

Let your hair down at the end of the Festival with Ceilidh dance and live music. Bar, crepes.
Tickets £12.50, kids £7.50.
BOOK NOW at wegottickets





Live music

Fantastic folk, rock, soul and world  music. Players include Seby Ntege (fresh from WOMAD), The Hawkmen, The Lock Keepers' Chorus (aka Jericho Singers), Idle Women and more.

Delicious Food & Drink

A range of delicous food and drink from Middle Eastern, Japanese and Indian to cakes & Crepes, plus beer and cafe.

Canal Cinema: St Margaret's Institute

Unique chance to view film shorts  about local history and the canal, plus prizewinning entries from the Young People's Video Competition. Stop off, drop in. Next to the Anchor pub.

Kids' activities & family fun

Swing boats, bouncy castle, Boo Boo the Clown, children's activities with soft play, face painting and supervised canoeing.

Boat trips

Slow down and enjoy the canal afloat. We will be offering trips along the canal on Oxford’s new water taxi the Gerry Ferry www.oxfordferryboats.com , and on a narrow boat courtesy of the Inland Waterways Team.  Trips can be booked from the festival information stall on the day and will last approximately 30 minutes.

Canal traditions

Inspired by narrow boats and the nature of the canal including design your own boat, mobile making, roses & castles and some exciting street art. Canal memorabilia  - and a chance to have a go yourself.

Tooley's Boatyard

Information about Tooley’s Boatyard, the oldest working dry dock on the Inland Waterways, having been in continuous use since 1778. Find out more about ou open day our RYA boat school, which offers certificated RYA Helmsman Courses, boat experience days, rope workshops and hourly courses.
Watch forging displays by our blacksmith on the mobile forge!

Community Stalls & Traders

Community stalls and a selection of local traders, including some on canal boats that will join in the festival along the nearby towpath.

The Cut

Talks, stories, children's shows.

Makers & More

Makespace Oxford, Open House and Exhibition of residents' work. Visit the pottery studio from 12-4 pm. Watch pottery wheel demonstrations and try your hand at the wheel, £5 a go. Info about classes and membership. 

I2-4pm In-Spire Sounds will be running an open recording studio session for people to come see what they do and even join in if they would like.

Tea and coffee served in the gallery space.


Oxford Canal Festival 2016