As we write, another fantastic Henley Festival comes to an end. This year, the popular black-tie musical event set in the beautiful surroundings of the riverside town of Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, drew in some of its largest audiences ever. A world-away from Glastonbury, the self-proclaimed ‘UK’s Most Magical Summer Party’, wowed the crowds with music, visual arts, fashion, street theatre, comedy and fine dining.
Each evening of the five night festival saw a well-known artist take to the floating stage to play to a 5,000 strong audience dressed to the nines and ready to dance.
Those who managed to get hold of tickets to the lawn or grandstand were able to watch the headlining act in awesomely close proximity. Others with general admission tickets wandered the fascinating grounds of the festival, enjoying the wider entertainment and numerous cocktail bars and eateries, whilst listening to the music from the side-lines. Those who had a boat rather than a ticket took to the water, mooring up along the riverbank to soak up the party atmosphere.
Artists this year included Jessie J, Lionel Richie (fresh from Glasto), The Gypsy Kings, Spandau Ballet and a George Gershwin-tribute with all-star guests including award-winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter, Laura Mvula and actress Shona McGarty. Each evening was rounded off with a bizarre water spectacle and a spectacular firework display, then festival goers headed to the party tents to dance well into the night.
If you live close enough and you’ve never been before, Henley Festival is well worth a visit. Guest stars are announced early in the year and there are rumours of some even bigger names taking to the stage in 2016. Be sure to get in quick though – festival tickets are the hottest tickets in town!