In pictures and video: Ironbridge River Festival attracts up to 20,000

Up to 20,000 people turned out to celebrate the history of the River Severn in Ironbridge at a free family festival.

In pictures and video: Ironbridge River Festival attracts up to 20,000

The River Festival held in Ironbridge at the weekend proved to be a huge draw for families around the region (All of the pictures were taken by Jamie Ricketts)

People from near and far travelled to the gorge for an afternoon and evening of entertainment at Saturday’s World Heritage River Festival.

Organisers say the event brought a boost to the economy with shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants all reporting good trade throughout the day.

The afternoon had seen the picturesque Wharfage alongside the River Severn packed with visitors enjoying the September sunshine.

However, the event was also a victim of its own success with the number of visitors leading to long waits for park-and-ride buses, parking problems and long queues at food stalls.

Telford and Wrekin Council, which took over the running of the event this year, said that while there had been many positive remarks about the festival, there has also been some criticism from visitors. 

“We are grateful for all the feedback we have received and while there are lots of positives there are also things that we can look at and learn from for the future.” council spokesman, Russell Griffin said.

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience in waiting for park and ride buses. Such is the geography of the gorge that holding such an event was always going to be logistically challenging. 

“We estimate there were between 18,000 and 20,000 visitors to the festival and we have had good reports from local businesses which were busy all day and throughout the evening.” 

The festival included stalls both on the Wharfage and in nearby Dale End Park.

“The people who ran the stalls were very pleased with the day,” Mr Griffin said.

Visitors were also treated to free entertainment, including music on the Q Hotel-sponsored Dale End stage, and also morris dancing.

Keeping to the theme of the industrial revolution the event included Penny Farthing bicycles, a blacksmith demonstration, and historical drama from amateur dramatic groups, as well as street entertainers.

The event culminated in an evening flotilla on the river and a firework display from the historic Ironbridge.

It was held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the gorge being named as a World Heritage Site.

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