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Rain hides to make growing festival a success
Published 18/08/14

THOUSANDS of revellers flocked to Fawley Hill for the second annual Hideaway Festival last weekend.

The festival, which this year was expanded to three days, featured music and entertainment from more than 40 acts over three stages.

Among this year’s highlights were Scottish band Big Country, who drew a huge crowd to the Hideaway stage on Sunday, and headliners Dreadzone, who saw thousands of festival-goers watch their set on the main stage on Saturday night.

Henley “boy band” No Direction, featuring town centre manager Peter McConnell, also played at the festival’s acoustic stage, along with Henley singer-songwriter Megan Henwood.

A total of 25 acts played on the Saturday, with music starting at noon and running until 11pm.

One band, formerly known as Maybe Neverland, even renamed themselves Fawley in honour of the festival’s location during a set on the main stage.

Despite wind and rain on Sunday, the festival was full of visitors on all three days. As well as the music there were market stalls, fairground rides including a ferris wheel and a seating area made of hay bales built around a metal sculpture of the globe in the centre of the site.

Festival-goers were also able to camp at the festival, owned by Sir William and Lady McAlpine, overnight during the weekend.

The event was started last year by businessman Brett Fuller, of Cookley Green. Mr Fuller said: “We had a fantastic weekend, there was a really good vibe with lots of lovely people and some great bands. It’s gone down really well.

“Big Country filled up the tent and they were a great headline act to have on Sunday.

Alabama 3 and Dreadzone were also fantastic on Saturday, we had about 1,000 in front of the main stage dancing.

“We have gone from a one-day event to a 48-hour event over three days, which is great because people can pick and choose when they want to come. It’s worked out really well for a lot of people.”

Co-organiser Laura Lister added: “We had a big shower and even hail on Sunday but it cleared up later and everyone got together to make the best of it.”

After building on the success of the festival’s first year, in which more than 1,200 people attended the one-day event, Mr Fuller hopes Hideaway will become a successful annual festival in Henley.

He said: “It’s early days but the plan is to keep doing the right things every year and give people a really good product where they don’t have to pay lots of money.

“The first three years are crucial for new festivals but as long as you keep doing that people will come back.”

More than 2,000 people attended the festival over the three days, many of whom bought tickets on the gate.

The festival opened at 6pm on Friday and 10am on Saturday and Sunday, ahead of the first acts at 7pm and 12 noon respectively. The festival closed at 6pm on Sunday.

PUBLISHED 18/08/14

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