A festival celebrating world-class watersports and the best that Rutland has to offer will take place at Syke’s Lane, Empingham, from 8th – 10th June.
The organisers of the 12th National Watersports Festival (NWF) have worked with Anglian Water and The Grainstore Brewery to combine the event with The Rutland Festival, which will take place for the first time this year.
As well as a three-day, non-stop extravaganza of windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding and live music on the shores of Rutland Water, visitors will be able to sample some of the best local produce on offer from small producers.
Rutland Water manager Will Kirstein explains: “The NWF was an enormous success last year with the water a hive of activity from start to finish. Rutland Water has all the facilities to stage a festival of this scale and provides a natural amphitheatre for watching the racing.
“One of the things we noticed at last year’s event was that a lot of festival-goers never been to Rutland Water before, so this year we thought we’d extend the festival and showcase the best of the county alongside it.”
Attracting all ages and levels, from complete beginners to Olympic level riders the NWF is one big celebration of watersports. Racing, demos, talks, trade show, clinics, live music, partying, floodlit night time, freestyle action and camping are all part and parcel of the packed summer festival.
New this year is the welcome addition of the Royal Yachting Association which will be offering dinghy sailing taster sessions alongside the festival’s free kayaking, windsurfing and paddle boarding which are ideal family activities.
PADI will also be bringing SCUBA diving to Rutland Water and offering ‘have a go’ sessions.
The Grainstore Brewery in Oakham will be running a bar serving its real ales and ciders throughout the weekend and has organised the party nights, with live music from funk, soul and blues act The Top Banana Band on the Friday night and covers band Dirty Rumour headlining a 90s themed party on Saturday.
The NWF was held at Hayling Island in Hampshire for 10 years but last year organisers made the bold move to relocate the whole festival nearly 200 miles up the road to Rutland Water.
Event director Allan Cross explains: “Some people thought I was nuts moving an established event to an inland destination and away from a whole region that had embraced it for a decade.
“However, in order to grow the event, we needed a drastic rethink and Rutland Water offered us the chance to remould the event and expand it. Last year the event exceeded our expectations, which is why this year we're buzzing with everything we’ve got planned to make the event bigger, bolder and everything that people want to see with an event of this size.
“There will also be prizes galore with the NWF’s awards ceremony, acknowledging all those who work so hard in the sports we love.”
The event attracts abound 500 competitors and upwards of 10,000 spectators who pack along the shoreline to take in the mass of boards and sails which monopolise the water.
The NWF will be offering racing for all ages, from juniors, just starting out in the sport, to those who’ve swapped their retirement slippers for some action and are spending their second youth doing what they love.
Will added: “Over the weekend the water is a mass of activity with hundreds of competitors in the water at one time. It’s an incredible sight.
“When the sun goes down the fun doesn’t stop but steps up a gear with incredible flood-lit action from the pros, performing jumps and stunts just metres from the shore. With live music, partying and camping right by the lake, the scene is set for another epic year and we hope to see plenty of non-competitors enjoying the festival this year too.”
The NWF and Rutland Festival is free to attend for day visitors but camping and party night tickets are available via the website at www.nationalwatersportsfestival.com
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Notes to editors:
Images from last year's event can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/n34kl4qt9l2srt7/AAC2tRe57BOlEXNx-7O0nmava?dl=0