‘My home is not a toilet’: fury after floating festival sinks into anarchy

Regent's Canal Canalival aftermath

Regent's Canal choked with bottles. Photograph: George Steptoe.

Broken glass, beer cans and abandoned dinghies lined the Regent’s Canal towpath in the wake of a floating party that has drawn widespread condemnation from residents of the area.

The Canalival, an event promoted via social media and billed ominously as the “Atilla the Hun of flotillas”, was cancelled at the last minute, with organisers voicing fears about safety and “waterborne pathogens”.

But defying the warnings to stay away, hordes of people streamed into the stretch of canal from Gainsborough Studios to Broadway Market, partying well into the early hours of Sunday morning and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

As recriminations flew over who to blame for the chaos, residents painted scenes of anti-social debauchery in which homes were urinated on, drugs including cocaine were openly passed around and the nests of birds that live along the canal were rammed by boaters and trashed.

Charity the Canal and River Trust today bemoaned the “lack of co-ordination” and “dreadful mess” strewn about the waterway, adding: “We are not happy with the organisation of this event, with the lack of co-ordination and the dreadful mess left in its aftermath.

“We are grateful for the people who volunteered to help clean up yesterday, and to our own contractors who worked for more than 12 hours, from 5.30am on Sunday, to clear all the rubbish and broken glass from the towpath. We are all now counting the cost.”

Bill Bolloten, a 54-year-old education consultant who lives in London Wharf said: “It was characterised by ineptitutde of organisation at every level.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful. Who are Canalival? They don’t have a website or address, or any names or numbers. It’s completely unaccountable. There’s no means of dialogue, participation. It’s amateurish, ramshackle party-loving idiots who want to have fun no matter what the expense or consequences. They’re completely oblivious to the concerns of local residents.”

Unconfirmed allegations of criminal damage to property and waterfowl being killed by partygoers have been circulating on Facebook.

The Hackney Citizen has contacted Hackney Police to inquire about whether any arrests were made and whether these allegations are being investigated and is awaiting a response.