May 29, 2013, 5:58 am -- /EPR NETWORK/ -- Waterway to spend a Saturday, eh? More than four thousand landlubbing revellers will take to the water of Regent's Canal on rafts, punts, kayaks and inflatable dinghies on Saturday 1st June in a party procession from Hoxton and then eastwards towards Victoria Park. This free "calamitous cavalcade" of "raucous nonsense" invites guests to BYO (both boats and booze) for what organisers describe as London's "first and only floating carnival".
Inspired from last year's impromptu 'Jubillegal' - in which around a thousand punters gathered on the canal behind a giant effigy of the Queen on the eve of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant - Canalival promises to be even bigger and better while setting a new landmark for boating bonanzas. More than £3,000 has been pledged to the organising committee by donators online while around 4,500 people have said they are attending Saturday's event on the official Facebook page.
The centrepiece of Carnival will be a barge decked out with a soundsystemupon which a series of DJs will bang out tunes along the disused industrial waterway, a canal boat thoroughfare whose waterside path is popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists alike. Dancers and circus performers will provide additional entertainment while the best decorated boat will win a pair of tickets to this summer's Secret Garden Party. Fancy dress, creative costumes and blinged-up boats are all actively encouraged.
While mixing alcohol and revelry with water may seem like a recipe for disaster, the event organisers have taken large steps to ensure everything goes swimmingly.Canalival has been co-ordinated with the Canal & River Trust - a charity dedicated to preserving and promoting England's inland waterways; litter pickers and lifeguards will follow the procession at all times, while no motors will be allowed on any public boats.
Canalival starts at midday on the stretch of Regent's Canal opposite the historic Gainsborough Studios in Hoxton and runs until late. Revellers can prepare for the floating extravaganza with brunch in one of the many cafés and restaurants in nearby Shoreditch and Angel, or perhaps at The Towpath café on the north side of the Canal in nearby De Beauvoir town. For a full run-down of London restaurants please visit LondonTown.com, the capital's favourite events and entertainment website for things to do in London.
Given the gristly combination of British weather and the rumoured contents of the canal (dead dogs, cats and rats - as well as the odd shopping trolley) it remains to be seen how popular Canalival will be - although given last year's showing and the online hype surrounding this Saturday's floatation of fun, the omens are good.Today's youth will stop short at little in finding new and original ways to let their hair down and be a part of a popular movement in its infancy - and there's no denying that amid London's ever increasing flurry of festivals, Canalival is an ingenious idea. So take your lido on Saturday and see whether it sinks or swims.
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