Audio: Watery festival makes its fifth appearance in June

Another earwormy tune & video, by Alan Stewart & Brian Leask

  Saturday June 10   All Aboard festival is returning, bringing frolicks and musical shenanigans around the river on June 10. Read on to find out more, and listen to a chat with organisers about how it all began, and what staging the event involves...
•  For what's on where see the pinned post on this Facebook page


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It all started when a couple of the organisers spotted an area by the river that looked as if it would make an ideal stage – and so the original idea for All Aboard was hatched.

Roll forward to last year, and the fourth festival saw probably the largest and most engaging event yet, with hundreds enjoying the entertainment at various locations on and around the river, and with many getting involved themselves.

‘Someone did say “it just organises itself does it” whereas that’s not really true at all...’

all aboard 22 pontoon player with banner 600px P1030678 Paddling up for a performance on one of last year's pontoon 'stages'

All Aboard poster 2023Coming up on June 10, this year's All Aboard will again take place around the Cobden Bridge area.

It will feature an incredible 50+ bands playing on eight stages. There will also be storytelling, puppetry, Samba, sea shanties, and even food afloat.

Also among other attractions on the bill are gladiator paddleboarding, and an art exhibition at the Boat Club. Attendees can enjoy a community picnic on the Janaway green, and more music and fun at Pettinger Gardens.


‘No one’s really raising any money from it, so that makes it much more grassrootsy’

According to organisers, the event promises "a healthy bundle of unpredictables"!

We caught up with two of them, Deb Wilkes and Chris Townsend, over elevenses by a St Denys houseboat, and – between passing trains and helicopters – chatted about how the original idea for the festival developed, and what’s involved in bringing it all together. Use the player below if you want to listen. The levels aren't great so you may need to adjust your volume/ears accordingly! It's about 13 minutes long.

 All Aboard is on and around the Itchen near Cobden Bridge on Saturday, June 10 from 1 - 7pm.
•  For what's on where see the pinned post on this Facebook page - make sure you're on the 'Discussion' tab
• The All Ashore art exhibition is upstairs at St Denys Boat Club on the weekends of June 3/4, 10/11 & 17/18

All Aboard poster 2023

This year's poster by Jonny Hannah @darktownresident


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