Published on February 21st, 2014 | by Paddleworld
5th Open Canoe Festival – Europe’s Premier Rendezvous.
Drôme river / France. April 18/21 2014.
It’s Easter, it’s 10pm… and we’re all sitting around in shorts and tee-shirts as guests of one of canoeing’s most gracious hosts. This is following a superb day in which we negotiated almost 30 km of continuous (easy) rapids on the emerald-green waters the Drôme: an easily missed jewel of a river, sandwiched between the Vercors and Provence, nicely en-route to classic open canoe country from the Durance to the Ardèche, and from the Allier to the Orb.
So the atmosphere around the giant, iconic Tentipi is magnificent. Hundreds of like-minded ‘touring’ canoeists are sat around sharing experiences from the day. The local produce we’ve been eating has been excellent. We’re all at the most photogenic open canoe event in Europe. What’s not to like? Do canoeists’ gatherings (anywhere, ever) get any better?
Well – this Easter, it’s all happening again! Registrations are already pouring in for what will be the 5th (and biggest ever) Open Canoe Festival. This year, some 550 canoeists from across all of Europe will again be canoeing, partying and sharing experiences at THE big event of Europe’s open-canoeing year.
Of course, such idyllic conditions cannot be guaranteed… but Easter 2014 is late, so the odds are in our favour. In truth, the Open Canoe Festival triumphed through the drought of 2011 and through the floods of 2013… so no matter what happens, we’re expecting a treat!
So what’s on? Well, independent river descents (supported by a shuttle service) are the heart of the OCF. Around these, an international team of instructors offer a small programme of workshops, and around all of that, there’s a great festival!
Is the Drôme a river for novices? No, but hire companies generally operate on the stretch we use throughout the summer months. At normal water levels, we are looking at continuous easy rapids with sustained interest: perfect for the ordinary open canoeist.
Would you be interested in attending? Well, get online and take a look! Beware though: prior registration is essential, as the event is always oversubscribed! Fortunately, registration can now (for the first time) all be done online – just visit the website at www.opencanoefestival.com