Henley hits a high!

Round & About

As the UK’s only black-tie festival, Henley Festival, between 10th and 14th July is glamour personified, offering Michelin-starred food, award winning comedians, critically acclaimed artists and the biggest names in popular, world, jazz and classical music.

Many festival goers arrive by boat, and the green lawns of the festival are transformed into a Great Gatsby vision, as black tie clad revellers spill across the festival site, champagne in hand, while fireworks explode overhead.

Established 37 years ago as a classical music charity event, Henley Festival continues to be run on a not for profit basis supporting charitable projects at both a national and local level. This year grants from the festival will go to two charities. Dedicated to supporting young people with depression, and encouraging discussions around mental health, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust was set up in memory of a young man who took his own life whilst suffering from depression. The Teenage Wilderness Trust supports students who find it difficult to engage with mainstream education by offering reengagement courses using bush craft, wilderness learning techniques and practical life skills to encourage students to get back into learning.

Pop icon and mega star Boy George will open the festival on Wednesday 10th July night. Universally recognised as one of the music scenes most iconic artists Boy George was recently presented with the Ivor Novello lifetime achievement award.The new-wave legend will bring his extravagant showmanship to Henley to kick start UK’s most dazzling festival weekend of the year.

On the Thursday night, multi-platinum selling artist Jessie J will return for the first concert of a three-year retrospective bringing back some of Henley Festival’s most popular artists. On Friday night, the festival audience are in for a treat as Brit Award and Ivor Novello-winning songwriting sensation Tom Odell takes to the floating stage.  In a Henley Festival first, Friday night’s performance by Tom Odell will be followed by a DJ set on the floating stage by the legendary Jo Whiley! Bringing you all the best tracks from the greatest decade for music, think Blur vs Oasis, Fatboy Slim, Primal Scream, The Verve, The Chemical Brothers, Faithless, The Prodigy and a whole lot more.

If you love Mamma Mia! Saturday night is for you, as Henley Festival welcomes the internationally acclaimed BJÖRN AGAIN show. Designed as a rocked-up light-hearted satirical ABBA spoof, the show rapidly achieved world-wide Cult status and acknowledged for singlehandedly initiating the ABBA revival which brought about ABBA Gold, Muriel’s Wedding and Mamma Mia! Hailed as “the closest thing you can get to seeing ABBA” by Benny Anderson himself, this brilliant band will bring the party and leave you with very sore feet! Henley Festival is delighted to announce that Classic FM’s popular film music programme Saturday Night at the Movies will be brought to life with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Pete Harrison, with guest soloists Johanna Röhrig (violin), Oliver Poole (piano) presented by popular Classic FM presenter Aled Jones. This special showcase will be filled with popular classical music used in iconic films from the past 50 years together with some of the greatest Oscar-winning original soundtracks.

The 2019 comedy line-up is set to be bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Ed Byrne, Andy Hamilton, Julian Clary and Murray Lachlan-Young among the biggest names of the 20 comedians performing at this year’s Festival. The comedy line up will also include a very special performance by the Richard Herring who will be recording the show for his podcast with Barry Cryer. One of Britain’s favourite comedians Julian Clary will also be bringing his jaw-achingly funny show to Henley. Brit pop era gem, stand up performer and poet Murray Lachlan-Young will present his latest stand up brilliance at Henley. After performing with the likes of Dita vo Teese and The Pretenders, Lachlan-Young’s set is not to be missed. In addition, up and coming comics including Vikki Stone, Kai Samra, Steve Bugeja and Luke Kempner will also be keeping audiences entertained.

Henley Festival’s very own Jazz Club in the stunning Spiegel Tent offers dining and live jazz music before and after the main headline act. Hailed as one of UK’s supreme boogie piano players after working with heavy weights such as The Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry, The Ben Waters Quartet will open Henley’s Jazz Club on Wednesday night with his delicious melting pot of musical influences. On Thursday night, The Dime Notes will bring their blues-drenched 1920s style New Orleans Jazz to Henley.

And there are loads more highlights including world and folk music in the Bedouin tent, Afrosamba are a Brazilian band covering styles such as Afro Brazilian Jazz, Samba and Bossa Nova.

Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett MBE will return to Henley Festival 2019 to run Europe’s biggest field restaurant, creating a bespoke menu exclusively for Henley, at the Riverside Restaurant. Angela Hartnett’s astonishingly creative, flawlessly executed dishes focus on purity of flavour and reverence for ingredients. A festival for food lovers, Henley caters for all tastes offering a huge number of restaurants and pop ups from street food to fine dining. Restaurant’s popping up at the festival will include Garden Bistro by Jimmy Garcia, Game Keeper, Halloumi Guys, BBQ Club and Snob Lobster, Hotel Chocolat, Jessecco Prosecco, Tonbo Japanese Kitchen and many more.

Artist duo Mike Blow and Alison Ballard will bring their unique British Arts Council backed audio visual installation Colony to the festival. Consisting of seven large spherical, sonic sculptures, the installation allow the audience to experience the physicality of sound through listening, touching, and hugging. Sculpture artists Brendon Hesmondhalgh and Laura Jane Wylder will also provide major works that will be placed around the festival site in addition to a plethora of galleries taking part in this year’s festival.

Henley Festival’s very own Jazz Club in the stunning Spiegel Tent offers dining and live jazz music before and after the main headline act. Hailed as one of UK’s supreme boogie piano players after working with heavy weights such as The Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry, The Ben Waters Quartet will open Henley’s Jazz Club on Wednesday night with his delicious melting pot of musical influences. On Thursday night, The Dime Notes will bring their blues-drenched 1920s style New Orleans Jazz to Henley.

And there are loads more highlights including world and folk music in the Bedouin tent, Afrosamba are a Brazilian band covering styles such as Afro Brazilian Jazz, Samba and Bossa Nova.

Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett MBE will return to Henley Festival 2019 to run Europe’s biggest field restaurant, creating a bespoke menu exclusively for Henley, at the Riverside Restaurant. Angela Hartnett’s astonishingly creative, flawlessly executed dishes focus on purity of flavour and reverence for ingredients. A festival for food lovers, Henley caters for all tastes offering a huge number of restaurants and pop ups from street food to fine dining. Restaurant’s popping up at the festival will include Garden Bistro by Jimmy Garcia, Game Keeper, Halloumi Guys, BBQ Club and Snob Lobster, Hotel Chocolat, Jessecco Prosecco, Tonbo Japanese Kitchen and many more.

Artist duo Mike Blow and Alison Ballard will bring their unique British Arts Council backed audio visual installation Colony to the festival. Consisting of seven large spherical, sonic sculptures, the installation allow the audience to experience the physicality of sound through listening, touching, and hugging. Sculpture artists Brendon Hesmondhalgh and Laura Jane Wylder will also provide major works that will be placed around the festival site in addition to a plethora of galleries taking part in this year’s festival.

And while the festival is an adult only event, Sunday daytime sees the festival turned into a huge playground for families and kids of all ages, with activities and entertainers, who captivate and enchant. 2019’s Family Sunday offers balloon making, glitter tattoos, music lessons, comedy for kids, toddler disco, choir performances. Comedian Murray Lachlan-Young will also be bringing his special performance of Modern Cautionary Tales for Children to Henley and Turn Around Theatre will be presenting the tale of The Thief, Fox and The Phoenix at the festival.

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