In this week's column, Liz Terry, the leader of Reading Borough Council, hails the coming of 'festival season' with Water Fest, the Climate Festival, Readipop and Pride all set for the coming weeks and months. Councillor Terry writes:

Festival season is here. Reading is known internationally for hosting one of the UK’s biggest summer music festivals every August Bank Holiday weekend.

But I’m proud to say that the annual free festivals put on by the Council are among the most popular for local families.

We welcomed a record number of visitors to Forbury Fiesta last month with more than 10,000 people enjoying the launch of this year’s Reading Children’s Festival.

Those three weeks of low-cost children’s activities have just come to an end we are now looking forward to Water Fest this Saturday (June 8).

Like the Children’s Festival, Reading Water Fest is marking its 35th year, which is a great achievement.

I know so many people who love coming to the event where we celebrate the waterways around Reading, especially the Kennet and Avon Canal.

As well as all the entertainment, workshops, community stalls and activities, one of the real pleasures is the number of people you bump into while wandering around the site.

You are almost guaranteed to come across a friend or colleague among the thousands of visitors in the Forbury Gardens, Abbey Ruins or along the Kennet.

It’s also a great opportunity for local arts groups to show off their talent and for Reading’s charities and community organisations to promote their causes and raise money.

This year’s Water Fest has an environmental theme and I am looking forward to browsing the Charity Super.Mkt stalls and seeing The People’s Catwalk, involving the designer Wayne Hemingway.

Water Fest is also hosting the launch of the Reading Climate Festival which is organised by Reading Climate Action Network.

The Council is pleased to support the two-week festival which will feature more than 30 free events and activities in person and online.

The programme includes wellbeing walks, advice on reducing energy bills, children’s workshops and samba parade, Youth Mobilisation Day, exploring Reading’s Library of Things, and the Big Lunch Reading in Forbury Gardens on Sunday 16 June.

The festival ends on Show Your Stripes Day which focuses on the famous warming stripes graphic created by University of Reading climate scientist Professor Ed Hawkins MBE to highlight the rapid heating of the planet.

The Council also works with a number of local organisations to support them to put on events in Reading, such as the Readipop Festival in July, Reading Pride in August and Down at the Abbey independent music festival in September.

We are also really pleased to be working with many of these festival organisers on a national pilot scheme to make sure events are as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.

The Green Events Code of Practice focuses on issues such as energy use, travel and transport, food and drink, waste management and water at festivals, and locally the trial includes the Council and organisers of major national occasions such as Reading Festival and smaller community events like East Reading Festival.

Whatever type of music, entertainment or activities you prefer, I am confident there will be something for you to enjoy in Reading this summer.