THE popular Black Country Boating Festival has been cancelled for the first time in its 35 year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, held annually at Bumble Hole Nature Reserve in Netherton, normally attracts 12,000 visitors over the weekend and features live music, real ales, a fun fair and craft stalls alongside boats of all kinds.

Organisers have been forced to cancel the festival in September as they could not ensure public safety, following talks with Dudley Council, volunteers and traders.

Festival Director Paddy Grice said: “Whilst we are devastated that we cannot hold the event this year – the first time in 35 years - the safety of the public, our volunteers, traders and boaters must come


“All being well we will be back in 2021 and will be looking for volunteers to help in the planning."

The event is organised entirely by volunteers and is one of the biggest of its kind in the region.