Looking from across the river from the Phyllis Court Pavillion where this year’s Henley Festival will take place again in July, special guests, trustees and patrons enjoyed a champagne reception to officially launch this year’s Festival on Monday evening.
Sir Michael Rake, Chair of the Henley Festival and the new Chief Executive, Charlotte Geeves invited guests to join them to find out about plans for this year’s event.
Sir Michael opened his introduction by welcoming Charlotte and saying, “Charlotte with her a wealth of experience from running festivals, and her new injection of energy she will take us on the next part of our journey.” He then went on to say, “The Henley Festival’s success means that our charitable work will give more support to music and art in the wider community. This year we will be continuing our a major partnership with The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts plus local projects including Camp Mohawk, Henley Youth Choir and Headway.
Stuart Collins, Artistic Director then announced the headline acts for this year for the Wednesday (Jessie J) and Saturday (Gipsy Kings) and said that the Sunday night would be “biggest band ever which would appeal to the younger audience but would be announced on 19 March.
Stuart then said, “Lots and lots of exciting new things are happening this year. “We want to generate the most fantastic surplus and we can lay this golden egg by staging one of the most incredible events in the country. We are lucky to have a unique and remarkable formula and once again I believe we are raising the bar.”
“The most important thing about the Henley Festival is that there’s so much going on across all evenings. There is a lot of change going on and the site and restaurants will look very different this year.”
“All in all, it continues to develop and we hope you will go and shout about it, remembering that it is a festival with a true heart and mission. We raise a lot of money for good works and that makes us different from many other events.”
Guests included Reading FC co-chairman Sir John Madejski, BBC Radio Berkshire presenter Mike Read and Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave who were entertained by street theatre duo the Flying Buttresses, who appeared at last year’s festival. Roving entertainment at this year’s Festival will include an aquarium on wheels!
Back again for this year will be Saturday and Sunday day events for families to come and enjoy the Festival.
Tickets for general sale go on sale on 19 March. For more details go to www.henley-festival.co.uk/