Mappa Mundi: from museum to streets

This bold and exciting, three-year project has been designed to breathe life into Hereford’s heritage.

By taking part in fun, creative, community-focused activities, the city’s population will learn about the historic, yet largely overlooked, 13th Century  Mappa Mundi-one of the city’s most valuable historical and cultural treasures.

A centrepiece for the River Carnival

The performance will form a major part of Hereford River Carnival over the next three years.  It will form the centrepiece of the newly introduced Friday night element of the Carnival on the evening of Friday 28th April and its creatures and creations will take part in both the Street Carnival and River Carnival on Saturday 29th April.

Rediscovering a hidden treasure

The Mappa Mundi, literally ‘Cloth of the World’ is fascinating, a hidden treasure. It acts as a portal into the world of the medieval mind; it’s full of humour, storytelling, mythology, history, and fascinating imaginative creations.

We intend to use these as a means to take the map down from its pedestal of isolation, and bring it to life-firing the imaginations of young and old.

We will introduce the people of Hereford to the map through street performance, breaking down the actual and imagined walls of the museum which keep the map confined within the world of academic scholarship.

The community at the heart of the action

With the full support of Hereford Cathedral (where it is housed), we will hold artistic and creative workshops involving local community theatre groups and artists, that will result in a performance event that sees the Mappa Mundi burst out of the confines of the museum and onto Hereford’s streets.

Using accessible and engaging performance and involving community groups, schools, colleges, artists and performers, our project will help people engage with the map and learn about its cultural and historic significance.

By bringing it to life in this way, we will reach a wider audience which would not normally engage with such an artefact and may be unaware of it or consider it irrelevant to them. 

An experienced creative team

The team which will deliver the project combines academic rigour with expertise in performance, proven creative flair and a track record of delivering large-scale successful community activity.

We aim to immerse the audience in the stories that will come to life from the map enabling them to walk the streets of Hereford alongside mythical creatures and medieval characters – experiencing heritage rather than merely observing them on the map.

They will understand and embrace the Mappa Mundi as Our Map of The World – an exciting reflection of our historical past and our cultural heritage something to be fascinated by and enthuse about to visitors as well be proud of.

A map for us all in the 21st Century

Our project will increase the knowledge of Hereford residents and beyond of Hereford as a city of cultural energy and richness that goes back centuries. Ultimately our project will showcase Hereford as “a cloth of the world” with its diverse communities inscribed all over it.  The project will be a major contributor, we believe, in Hereford’s bid to become City of Culture.

We will reinvigorate the Mappa Mundi with 21st Century relevance and ultimately create our own contemporary version of the Mappa Mundi with our city, Hereford at its centre demonstrating our current place in the world.

Friday night festivities

The programme is currently in rehearsal but the fantastical performance will begin at the Cathedral, make its way down Gwynne St. over the Old Bridge and onto Bishop’s Meadow, while a torch-lit river procession of floats decorated with giant mythical beasts glides down the Wye. There will then be food, drinks and more music on Bishop’s Meadow as well as a fire garden display to round off the evening before the performers prepare for the River Carnival fun the next day.

For more information or sponsorship opportunities, please contact:
Stuart Fox (01432) 760204 / 07841 000431 or email:

Hereford River Carnival 2017 gets afloat with Nozstock: The Hidden Valley

Award-winning events join forces to make a bigger splash on 28 & 29 April

Hereford and the River Wye will once again be alive with fun and watery festivities as the city’s River Carnival comes to town on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th April. 

Visit our Nozstock page for the latest updates on the lineup!

And this year the Carnival will receive a marvellous musical boost as the award-winning team behind the boutique family festival, Nozstock The Hidden Valley will join in the celebrations bringing its own brand of family-orientated festivity to Castle Green.

Both Hereford River Carnival and Nozstock were winners in the events category at the Visit Herefordshire Awards 2016 which is where River Carnival organisers Becca Huggett and Jo Henshaw met with Rob Nosworthy  of Nozstock and first began to hatch a scheme to work together.

“It seemed like the perfect match,” said Rebecca Huggett, “Nozstock is known for its down to earth, family-focused atmosphere and that is exactly what you get at the River Carnival.  We were delighted when Rob, Toki, and Ella said that they would like to run the music tent on Castle Green.   This will add to the brilliant music we already have from the Music Pool on Bishop’s Meadow plus our fantastic resident DJs Reggae Pie and Wild Hare Club to offer something for everyone.”

Toki Allison added, “Nozstock’s ethos is about bringing play to everyone, in whatever form it can. We strongly believe in the value of not only entertaining, but in participation and contribution.  These values are shared 100 per cent by the River Carnival, so to become a part of it seemed an obvious thing to do.  We’re thrilled to be involved, and as well as some fantastic festival favourites in our live music programme, we will be organising some fun family activities and bringing some of Nozstock’s 2017 surrealism theme to play in the Street Carnival on the day.”

The Hereford River Carnival was revived in 2014 and is a day of fun for everyone, celebrating the beauty and vitality of the River Wye and the life and opportunities that it brings to the city and people of Hereford.  In 2016, around 12,000 people joined the fun despite the chilly spring weather and organisers are hoping for a bigger turn out in 2017 following last year’s success. 

It is run entirely by volunteers and because it is run by the people of Hereford for the people of Hereford, it remains an extraordinary and exciting event, unique in the Hereford calendar.

This year, as well as the main event on Saturday daytime, the Carnival will have the added attraction of an amazing torch-lit performance on the Friday night (28th April).  The performance will feature a range of mythical beasts inspired by the creatures on the city’s Mappa Mundi and is part of a major three-year project to celebrate this most important Hereford cultural icon.  Entitled Mappa Mundi: out of the museum and into the streets, it is a joint venture between the River Carnival and Hereford Cathedral and will feature performers from the Courtyard Youth Theatre, DanceFest and local musicians – more details to follow soon.

Rebecca Huggett continued, “River Carnival 2017 will feature the Street Carnival, and all the music, dance, great food, the h.Energy village that people have told us they love, and of course the afternoon will be rounded off in style by the City of Hereford Rotary Club duck race.  But as well as Nozstock, there are a number of other exciting new additions this year like the Friday night Mappa Mundi performance and the people of Hereford should watch out for more details coming soon.”

For more information on how to get involved, build a raft, volunteer or simply come along on the day, contact the Carnival on like us on Facebook Hereford River Carnival, follow us on Twitter @WyeCarnival or visit our website at

(c) Howard Willson. Used with permission.

Carnival Food Village – can you be there?

We are excited to be having a foodie village this year which will be up on Castle Green. We’ve got some really exciting purveyors of scrumptious food coming but we are still looking for the following:-

  • A cheese maker / seller
  • Something hot and spicy (possibly noodles / curry)
  • A Lebanese / Felafel type food vendor

We are only looking for finest, homemade, local people. If you think that’s you please get in touch.

Let’s make ‘Hereford River Carnival’ happen

For the past three years, a bunch of almost bonkers and largely unfunded volunteers has put on The Hereford River Carnival and drawn crowds of up to 12,000 people to our free to enter event.

This year promises to be even bigger and better:-

  • We already have around 20 organizations promising to put floats and boats on the water,
  • Street Carnival through high town – channel your inner Mythical Beast – Mermaid or Minotaur
  • Noztock are bringing their music to Castle Green,
  • Music Pool Tent on Bishops’ Meadow
  • Underground Revolution Stage at The Left Bank 
  • Foodie Village,
  • Mass synchronized paper airplane fly-past,
  • Fun Dog Show
  • Maypole Dancing
  • Strictly Hereford Dance Tent
  • Circus Skills, face painting, and drumming workshops
  • Sports area with taster sessions for all kinds of activities,
  • Wild swim,
  • Rotary Club – Duck Race
  • Friday night Spectacular – all new performance that will see The Mythical Beasts on The Mappa Mundi set free from the Cathedral over Hereford’s Old Bridge and onto Bishop’s Meadow for music, food, drink and a fire garden while a torch lit flotilla of mythical beasts processes down the Wye.

We don’t charge anything for all of this. We are totally reliant on donations on the day and any grants and sponsorship we can drum up. But it’s getting harder and harder and more and more people are coming.

So would you consider making a donation? Just £1 from everyone who comes would make an enormous difference.

We need to raise about £30,000 in total. So please give generously so that the Mayor doesn’t have to drag the floats upstream again this year. With your help, we’ll have a pontoon upstream to set the floats off from.

And that doesn’t allow for any marketing costs, printing posters or leaflets, or any of the activities on Friday Night. So please give and share and come on Friday and Saturday for a great party in, on and around the River Wye. 

‘Name the ale’ competition

Carnival quaffing – we need a great name for our ale… Fast!

Name the ale competition to be a ‘brewer for a day’ and WIN two dozen bottles of your own River Carnival brew

Wye Valley Brewery sponsors 2017 Carnival with competition to name the ale with the winner getting 24 bottles of the beer they help to brew.

Organisers of this year’s Hereford River Carnival have teamed up once again with Wye Valley Brewery and launched a competition to name a limited-edition ale that the local brewer will create especially for the 2017 River Carnival.

And the winner of the naming competition will get the chance to visit the Brewery in Stoke Lacy and join Wye Valley Brewery managing director, Vernon Amor, in creating the ale they have named.

And there’s no time to lose.  We need all your amazing ideas by 5th March so that the winner – it could be you – can join us at the brewery on Thursday 9th March. 

To help with your deliberations, the theme of this year’s River Carnival is mythical beasts, so embrace your inner beast whether mermaid or Minotaur and come up with a fantastical name for our ale.

Ideas for 2017 names should be sent directly to the team organising the River Carnival via email ( or via their Facebook page – and please share information on the competition and Hereford River Carnival on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or email the information to a friend.

The closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 5th March 2017.

The Hereford River Carnival will take place on Saturday 29th April 2017 and promises to be bigger than ever, with even more music, dance, great food and drink, sport and all the usual Carnival favourites… Such as, the colourful and crazy Street Carnival, the fun dog show, the City of Hereford Rotary Club Duck Race and, of course, the River Carnival procession itself, featuring decorated floats.

There will also be a special performance in the streets and on the River on the evening of Friday 28th April, with street theatre, music, dance and food – more details coming soon.

Carnival organiser, Leo Caithness says, “Wye Valley Brewery have been fantastic helping us to organise this competition, spreading the word about the Carnival on social media and critically supporting us financially. Without the support of businesses like Wye Valley Brewery, the Carnival simply would not happen.  We can’t thank the team enough.  We just wish more Hereford businesses would follow suit – even small businesses can help by joining our Business 100 Club.”

Abbie Gadd, Marketing Manager of Wye Valley Brewery adds, “As the region’s leading cask-ale brewery, we are committed to supporting the local community and charitable groups through events and activities.  Sink or Swim was a great success in 2016, we hope the creative brains of Hereford can come up with something even better this year.”

“This is a great prize and we hope that the River Carnival team will receive lots of entries.  We look forward to helping pick the winner and to creating a wonderful brew especially for 2017.”

The Hereford River Carnival has been so successful since its return in 2014, after a 40 year absence, that the organisers expect there to be even more than the 12,000 people and over 70 local groups involved last year will take part in 2017.

The Carnival is a day of fun for everyone, celebrating the beauty and vitality of the River Wye and the life that it brings to the city of Hereford.

For more information on the competition visit our website at or contact Polly Ernest on or Stuart Fox on  To get involved on the day, contact the Carnival on, like us on Facebook, herefordrivercarnival, follow us on Twitter @WyeCarnival, on Instagram @WyeCarnival or visit our website at

The brewery day must take place on Thursday 9th March to give the brewery time to brew the beer and bottle it in time for the Carnival.  The winner must be over 18 ensure that they are available on 9th March between 9am and 3pm.

Join our Business 100 Club

Hereford River Carnival is a charity (part of the Plynlimon Trust) run entirely by volunteers and although we actively and successfully seek funding from groups like Children in Need, the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund and get local support from groups like the City Council, we need funds to make the Carnival happen. 

Particularly we need funds to fulfil one of our main aims and ensure that the Carnival is open to everyone

Be a part of the Business 100 Club

This is where you come in.  We realise that some smaller businesses would like to make a contribution to make the River Carnival happen but cannot afford large sponsorship packages.  That’s why we’ve created the Hereford River Carnival Business 100 Club for those businesses that want to support us in some way.

What’s in it for you?

  • Your business and brand promoted through our website, social media and to 12,000+ visitors
  • Giving vital charitable support for one of Hereford’s brightest, best-loved, award-winning events that’s open to everyone
  • The chance to hear about news and events before anyone else via our online newsletter
  • Reduced priced tickets for other Carnival events
  • Your logo on the Carnival website and a link to your own website
  • Two tickets to the champagne reception on the morning of the Carnival
  • The chance to support something fantastic in your community

Put simply, if 100 Herefordshire businesses give us £100 that would go a huge way to ensuring the Carnival goes ahead and will enable us to do more work with schools and to stage more community making and music workshops which take place all over Hereford and are open to all.  They give everyone regardless of their background the chance to get involved in the build up to Carnival as well as on the day.

Profile on social media and via our website

Of course, you can give us more if you are able to and all contributions will be acknowledged on our website with a link back through to your site.  We’ll also publicise your support through social media and be happy to work with you on promoting your business to our followers and friends.

Be a part of something brilliant

For more information, please contact Stuart Fox (01432) 760204 / 07841 000431 or email:

Ale and hearty

This year’s Hereford River Carnival goers will have much to thank Peter Hill and Liz Harvey for, as they slake their thirst with a pint (or two!) of ‘Sink or Swim’ on the day.  Peter with a friend, spent a day last year creating a special, limited edition 4.0% ABV Pale Amber ale that will be on sale in the run up to the Carnival and on the day itself.

When asked about their idea for the beer name, Peter said: “Liz and I thought of a dozen names and sent them all in and luckily for us the judges liked the sound of Sink or Swim.  The brewing day has been absolutely superb – unfortunately Liz couldn’t make it, so another friend, Paul, joined me instead.  It’s been really interesting to see how the malts and hops are balanced with other ingredients to create different flavours and aromas; I certainly didn’t expect to be zesting pink grapefruit to go in the beer!  Head Brewer, Gareth and his team have been fantastic and we’d also like to thank everyone at Hereford River Carnival for setting this up.   We can’t wait to taste the fruits of our labour – ‘Sink or Swim’ we’re confident will taste great!”

Isobel Heywood, Marketing Executive of Wye Valley Brewery adds, “There were some great entries proving that there is no lack of creativity or imagination among the people of Herefordshire.  For us, Sink or Swim was the standout name.  Succinct and relevant to the Carnival, it also has a touch of humour and it is easy to imagine someone walking up to the bar and asking for a pint – always the acid test for us.

“Wye Valley Brewery is always keen to support local community events, so it’s a privilege for us to support something as quintessentially Herefordshire as the River Carnival.  Having its own specially-brewed cask ale should add to the occasion.  We would also like to wish all the Wye Valley Brewery pubs who are taking part in the river procession the very best of luck and we hope that one of them is victorious in winning the £250 prize for best dressed float, generously donated by the Mayor.”

Carnival organiser, Leo Caithness says, “The River Carnival is all about the people of Hereford.  This year, local businesses have been fantastic in getting right behind us to support the Carnival with sponsorship and fantastic prizes like this one from Wye Valley Brewery.  Cotswold Mini, East Friars B&B in Hereford, Bulmers, ABC Print, the Left Bank and Harrison Clark Rickerbys have also given us invaluable support alongside Hereford City Council, the Environment Agency and many others.”

The Hereford River Carnival on Saturday 30th April 2016 promises to be a fantastically fun event for all the family – with even more people, schools, businesses and community groups getting involved.

Despite a 40-year absence, the event has been so successful since its 2014 return, that the organisers expect this year’s Carnival to exceed the 7,000 people and over 70 local groups that were involved last year.

The Carnival is a day of fun for everyone, celebrating the beauty and vitality of the River Wye and the life that it brings to the city of Hereford.

For more information on the competition, visit our website at or contact Polly Ernest on or Stuart Fox

To get involved on the day, contact the Carnival on, like us on Facebook, herefordrivercarnival, follow us on Twitter @WyeCarnival or visit our website at

New Carnival Website

We’re pleased to launch our new improved website as we make exciting plans for River Carnival 2017.

We hope the new site is easier to navigate and find the information you need.

It includes our social media feeds, plus a new e-newsletter which automagically send you articles from our news pages the day they are published.

The site is continuing to be developed on the banks of the river (well, nearly) by Wye Design, who would be pleased to have feedback and ideas for improving it further.