James River Batteau Festival
Frequently Asked Questions from Participants
The information listed below is designed to help participants plan their trip and take advantage of what the festival offers.
-General Info: A color brochure containing site info, a general description of each day on the river, as well as a road map of each campsite is available as a free download (PDF). You may also want to visit the Fesitval Info page.
-River Flows: As of writing just about a month out we have had a great deal of rain and the James and her tributaries are full! Lots can change between now and June 15. Keep track of river flows by going to batteau.org, clicking on James River Levels at the top of the page, scroll to the James River Basin, and then pick a monitoring site along our festival path. A good water level is 2930cfs. Keep an eye on the sky and river levels so you know what to expect when we hit the old timey Riva!!!
Where does the James River Batteau Festival (JRBF) start? Where do we Launch from?
The JRBF is an 8 day 120 mile float from Lynchburg to Richmond, VA. Canoes, Kayaks, and Batteaux can be launched at Riveredge Park ramp on the Amherst County side of the river. (Do not leave cars in the lot overnight). Batteaux will be stopping across the river at Percival’s Island from 10:00 – 11:00AM where there will be a small festival with vendors, live music, and spectators to observe the launch.
(View and print the 2019 JRBF Brochure for general info about the festival including brief descriptions of each river day. It also has a map showing festival stops and a simplified road map between each stop.)
Where can my family and/or friends watch the Launch?
Families, friends and spectators are encouraged to park and walk the Blackwater Creek Trail out to Percival’s Island (by the LOVE sign Downtown) for the “Lynchburg Launch.” Starting at 10:00 am there will be artisans, vendors and live music along the path as you make your way to see the Batteaux and crews. The Batteaux and crews will leave Percival’s with a Roll Call by Jeff Taylor at 11:00AM.
Where can I camp each evening?
The James River Batteau Festival could not exist without the generous support of landowners who host us year after year. Campsites are on a first come first serve basis. Please respect their property by staying in designated camping areas, picking up after yourself, and being especially careful to avoid fields with crops!
Is there a fee for Canoeists and Kayakers to attend the JRBF?
As always we encourage canoeists and kayakers to enjoy the river with us! We ask that you contribute $5 per night or $25 for a week as a camping fee, payable at the t-shirt booth. There are significant costs associated with putting on the Festival and we appreciate your financial support! Camping fees can be paid in advance online.
How do I get back to my vehicle after floating each day?
There are a few conoeist and kayakers who manage multiple day floats without a vehicle. Patrons who plan on having a vehicle each evening at camp will need to make arrangements to be shuttled back to the previous campsite to retrieve their vehicle. Many hitch a ride with other patrons heading back to the previous campsite, but do not rely solely on this method.
Do I have to bring enough food for the 8-day trip?
Each year we partner with a variety of food vendors to offer an affordable dinner at each site. Many of these are civic groups for whom the festival represents an opportunity for fundraising. Consider simplifying your planning and supporting our vendors by purchasing dinner at each site! You are welcome to bring your own food and cooking setup; please remember that if you pack it in – pack it out.
Is ice available on the Festival?
Ice is available for purchase each morning, either at local stores or provided by the festival. When provided by the festival it is on a first come first serve basis.
What do I do with my trash?
Trash disposal is available at each site, either by the festival or county dumpster. Please ensure all of your trash makes it to the appropriate spot!
Will fresh water be available at each site?
Bring your own water at all locations. This is key to beating the summer heat.
Am I allowed on the Batteaux?
Batteau crews are always open to meeting patrons on the river and answering questions about their Batteau and the festival. Batteau Etiquette 101 – always ask a Batteau Captian or crew member before boarding a Batteau. If your canoe or kayak is tied to a Batteau while floating down river be sure to adhere to all instructions of the Batteau crew when it comes to your boat and whether you need to detatch. The Batteaux are HUGE and heavy – safety is the top priority for everyone while out on the river.
How is the James River Batteau Festival (JRBF) connected to the Virginia Canals & Navigation’s Society (VC&NS):
For over three decades, the VC&NS has worked tirelessly to promote knowledge and preservation of our state’s historic navigation resources. VC&NS members were critical in the discovery and preservation of batteaux in the basin dig in Richmond, have actively worked to preserve canal relics, and have published a wide array of river atlases detailing both the character of rivers and the geographic and historic sites that populate them. Without the VC&NS, the JRBF wouldn’t have come into existence and could not continue. Please consider joining our parent organization, the Virginia Canals & Navigation’s society. Click here to join online or join at the T-shirt booth while on the festival. The VC&NS has the James River Batteau Festival Trail Atlas for sale online and will also be at the VC&NS booth along the river.