Monday, 23 July 2018

Festival to feature old and new pop stars

Festival to feature old and new pop stars

CHART-TOPPING singer Jess Glynne will perform on the opening night of this year’s 35th Henley Festival.

She will be followed on successive nights by the Pet Shop Boys, Goldie, Chaka Khan and All Saints.

The line-up of headline acts for the July festival was announced at a launch evening for about 150 friends, patrons and sponsors at Stonor Park on Monday evening.

There were cheers when artistic director Stewart Collins announced the names with the Pet Shop Boys and Chaka Khan attracting the biggest reaction.

He said: “This year it’s rich, beautiful, in depth and creamy and all those wonderful adjectives which I’m not allowed to write in the programme anymore!”

Singer-songwriter Glynne, who has had five No 1 hits including Hold My Hand and Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself, will appear on Wednesday, July 5.

The Pet Shop Boys — electronic pop duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe — will perform their Super Tour show on the following night.

Since 1985 they have achieved 22 top 10 UK hits and four No 1s, including West End Girls. They have sold more than 50 million records worldwide and have won three Brit Awards and been nominated for six Grammys.

Mr Collins said the pair had put on “the most remarkable” show at the Royal Opera House last year. On the Friday night, Chaka Khan, known as the Queen of Funk, will perform songs from a career spanning five decades, including I’m Every Woman and Ain’t Nobody.

The following evening it will be the turn of Goldie to present an orchestral version of his ground-breaking 1995 album Timeless performed by the Heritage Orchestra.

The festival will end with a performance by All Saints — Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis and Natalie and Nicole Appleton — who were one of the most successful bands of the Nineties with two multi-platinum selling albums and sales of more than 12 million records worldwide.

New to the festival this year will be a series of early evening concerts on the “floating” stage before the headline acts. The performers will include soul/R&B act the Stax Band featuring Beverley Knight, American pop/rock singer Vonda Shepard, Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, soul singer Ruby Turner and Henley’s own funk and soul band Brother Strutt.

There will also be special art installations using LED lights at the end of the main concerts before the fireworks are set off each night.

The Pure Heaven nightclub makes a return and the 25 comedy acts in The Salon will include TV regulars Angus Deayton, Russell Kane, Andy Parsons, Seann Walsh, Sara Pascoe and Mark Dolan as well as a number of up-and-coming comics.

The festival’s sculpture gardens will exhibit works by artists including Philip Jackson, David Ogle, Dawn Conn, Simon Gudgeon and Stephen Newby.

A number of local restaurants will have pop-ups at the festival including the Spice Merchant in Henley and the Dog & Badger in Medmenham and there will be street food from Jimmy Garcia’s BBQ Club, Newquay Sushi, Snob Lobster and Champagne, Pizza Express and Awesome Crispy Squid. The Dish will serve 800 covers a night at the Riverside Restaurant.

The jazz club will feature cabaret-style tables from where festival-goers can see performances by Ronnie Scott’s All Stars.

The Bedouin Tent will also be returning with a range of up-and-coming local talent.

A new selection of bizarre street performers will be roaming the festival site again this year. These will range from walking works of art to moustachioed muscle men on “beach patrol”.

The Sunday family day is also returning, allowing children to interact with outdoor theatre in a greenhouse with the Little Gardener. Former Britain’s Got Talent contestant Bruce Airhead and a mini musical adventure with Tommy Foggo — Superhero will perform on site.

Festival chief executive Charlotte Geeves said the programme had been a year in the making.

“We really excited about the programme and the diversity of the artists we’re bringing to the festival,” she said. Ms Geeves said she was particularly looking forward to seeing the “superb” Pet Shop Boys and Goldie and the Heritage Orchestra.

The festival’s chosen charity of the year will once again be the Children’s Society, which helps vulnerable youngsters.

Speaking at the launch party, chief executive Matthew Reed said: “My thanks for all that you have done over the last 12 months to partner with us and work with us. The work you are doing is enabling us to reach more young people.”

Robert, one of the young carers supported by the charity, told guests how his father suffered from Huntington’s Disease and his brother from Asperger syndrome.

He said: “I’ve had so much support and wonderful opportunities to learn and grow in many ways which I wouldn’t have had if the Children’s Society hadn’t been set up and run by such fantastic people and supported in lots of ways by people like you.

“When my mum told me I was a young carer I didn’t feel able to talk to anybody about it. Over time I realised that the only way stigmas can be overcome is for people to discuss them.”

The Honorable William Stonor, who hosted the evening, said: “We were really honoured that they asked to do the launch here.

“The festival is one of the key events for Henley and the whole region and it’s wonderful to be part of it in a small way.”

He said he was looking forward to seeing Pet Shops Boys and Ruby Turner perform.

This year’s festival will run from Wednesday to Sunday, July 5 to 9.

Tickets will go on general sale from 10am on February 17.

For more information and to book, visit www.henley-festival.co.uk

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