UK: Henley Festival, one of the UK’s more opulent festivals, will return to Henley-on-Thames from July 6 – 10 2016. Headlining the event will be Elton John and His Band, joined by Dame Shirley Bassey, BLAKE, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Bryn Terfel & the Welsh National Opera Orchestra, and Will Young.
Will Young said: “I’m really very excited to be closing Henley Festival on the Sunday night. I had such fun playing there last time, it’s such a beautiful setting on the banks of the river Thames, not to mention headlining alongside one of my favourite people, Sir Elton John.”
Brand new for 2016, jazz club Ronnie Scott’s will be making the festival its home for the full five days. Seated at cabaret style tables, festivalgoers will be able to watch performances by Ronnie Scott’s Allstars under the guidance of jazz maestro James Pearson while waiters discretely serve food and drinks.
Another new addition to this year’s festival is the New Music Stage, featuring 10 of the brightest names in new music. Taking over the newly-erected big top, Henley Festival will showcase up and coming talent with a five-day programme of unsigned acts taking place before the Floating Stage performance each night.
The nightclub Heaven will be bringing its sister club Pure to the festival, kicking off each night as soon as the headline act finishes on the Floating Stage.
Henley Festival will also quadruple its comedy bill in 2016, with Al Murray, Reginald D Hunter, Nina Conti, Dillie Keane, Richard Herring, Adam Kay, The Boy with Tape on His Face, Hal Cruttenden and Simon Evans as some of the names on the 20-comic line-up.
On the gastronomical side, Michelin starred chef Daniel Clifford will be taking the reins of Europe’s biggest field restaurant, creating a bespoke tasting menu exclusively for Henley, serving 950 covers a night at the Riverside Restaurant. Clifford’s dishes focus on purity of flavour and reverence for ingredients. He was AA Chefs’ chef of the year in 2015 and his restaurant ‘Midsummer House’ in Cambridge holds two Michelin stars, garnering widespread acclaim and cementing his reputation as one of the best chefs in Britain.
Clifford said: “I am incredibly excited to work at such an iconic event as Henley. The Riverside Restaurant will be the fine dining offering for guests with dishes such as Sautéed scallop, granny smith apple, celeriac and perigold truffle puree and Seared Cornish mackerel, piccalilli Chantilly, and pickled white cabbage.”
For festivalgoers who prefer to eat on the go, there are plenty of other food options. Ronnie Scott’s will offer superb steaks, Ronnie style burgers and fish pie with a fine dining twist. A stalwart of the festival, Paul Clerehugh will be present throughout the week with his bespoke festival menu at The Crooked Billet, offering British food using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Cooking up a storm of authentic Indian food, Hasan & Bashir deliver Northern Thali to hungry festivalgoers at the Spice Merchant Pop-Up. For street food enthusiasts, attendees can head to The Top for a diverse mix of cuisine and a banquet of first class food to go.
Events company rhubarb have been confirmed as the food partner for Henley Music Festival 2016 and will be managing the catering for the Riverside Restaurant, Ronnie Scott’s, and The Terrace. Glen Sutton, Director of Events for rhubarb, said: “We are delighted to partner with Henley Music Festival. This is an exciting addition to our events portfolio and our culinary team are preparing a range of beautiful and delicious menus to further enhance what is set to be a fantastic few days of music and celebrations.”
Embellishing the proceedings will be an international collective of street theatre entertainers, cabaret stars, buskers and entertainers, plus a Digital Cabaret and visual arts.
Finally, Sunday at Henley festival is Family Day, where kids can enjoy festival site and interact with children’s entertainers, musicians, comedians and street entertainers including Beatbox star Shlomo, comedy from Jay Foreman, and leading circus company, Upswing as well as taking part in crafting sessions and making art, while parents can relax in the festival grounds.
Henley Festival and The Children’s Society are working in partnership to bring inspiration and vital support to thousands of children who care for their parents and family members. The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. They also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future.