THE performance of one of the bands at the second Music on the Meadows in Henley was saved at the eleventh hour.
The Unknown Artists were one of the 23 acts in the line-up for the free music event, which was held in Mill Meadows from noon on Sunday.
But the band had to draft in two of its members, Alex Doherty, 19, and Beau Hulse, 20, at the last minute to replace their guitarist and bass player who were unable to attend.
Lead singer Christian Gittings, 15, from Nettlebed, said: “I thought it went pretty well. We were really good as a unit. We have been working together really well and we really enjoyed it.”
Beau, a park warden in Henley, added: “I think this event gives people in Henley a good platform to be heard.”
Christian, who attends Langtree School in Woodcote, said: “I think this event is great. It brings people together.”
About 3,000 attended the event throughout the day. Acts ranging from drama groups to rock bands performed on the bandstand.
Henley’s Acorn Music Theatre Company were the first to take to the stage with their production of The Three Little Pigs, which they invited members of the audience to join in.
Other youngsters who performed were Lottie and Louis Bell, Stacey Griffin, Alex Cousins, Maya Rees, Susie Longshaw, Katie Keeble, Emily McDonagh and Riona Fumi, Georgia Michael, Jade Allum and Bella Bull.
Rapper Teelow Awojobi, who studies at The Henley College, performed along with Seasons in Shorthand, Fish Hook, Buried Above and the Handsome Devils’ Club
There were rock and pop performances from Sophie Lloyd and bands Ignite The Sky, Goin’ Loud, To Burn and Blossom, Launch Control and Random Article.
Gillotts School pupil and aspiring DJ, Ross Duncan, aka The Stepper, performed between sets for the second year running.
It was only the second gig for rock band Buried Above. Drummer David Jordan, 16, from Wargrave, said: “I think Music on the Meadows is great. Even if we weren’t playing in a band we would have turned up anyway.” Random Article drummer Silke Blansjaan, 15, from Abingdon, said: “The crowd was great. I think we did really well.”
Henley Mayor Martin Akehurst said: “It has been fabulous. It’s such a showcase for local talent. I’ve got nothing but praise. It’s a really good event. The standard has been really high across the board.”
Stefan Gawrysiak, who had the idea for the first Music on the Meadows last year, said: “I thought we would do it once but the momentum has kept going.
“What I really like is that young people are doing quite a lot of the organising. It’s a free community event for the people of Henley and it’s fabulous.”
Henley singer and star of The Voice Jamie Bruce compered the event with Mollie Marriott, the daughter of Small Faces frontman Steve Marriott. He said: “Henley has always been a wonderful place to perform and very supportive. Today has been a celebration and it’s a joy to be here.”
Maggie Atkinson, who runs the Be There Henley youth project, organised the event with a committee of young people from the town’s schools.
She said: “I’m just over the moon. Not all of it is my taste but just to see the kids doing their stuff and really out there really pushing it, and passionate, that’s the thing.
“None of them have had the opportunity ever to perform to crowds like this. It’s so special to play to a really big audience.” The crowd crashed the stage for headliners The Razzles and sang along with the Beatles tribute act’s cover of All You Need is Love.
Mrs Atkinson said she hoped more volunteers would come forward to help run the event in future years.
“I hope the team will get bigger. It’s obviously a lot of work but it’s so worthwhile.”
Organisers are still counting money raised, which will go towards setting up a youth drop-in centre called The Listening Roomz, which will be run in partnership with Riverside Counselling, above event sponsors Magoos bar in Hart Street.
The next music event planned for Henley is a free battle of the bands and club night at d:Two on Friday, August 22, from 7.30pm to 10pm. Call 01491 635733 or 07732638443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
l THE Henley Festival has donated £1,000 to the Music on the Meadows festival.
Maggie Atkinson, said: “The money has been donated to us in order to promote the arts for young people in Henley and encourage them to get into music.”