Saturday, 25 November 2017

Festival to cut number of tickets

FEWER tickets will be available for next year’s Henley Festival and prices are to increase slightly.

Chief executive Charlotte Geeves said the decision to reduce the capacity at the event was in response to feedback from people who had attended this year.

There had been complaints of congestion at a “pinch-point” behind the grandstand, near the lavatories.

Next year there will be 6,200 tickets available for each night of the five-day festival, down from 7,200 this year, but the same number as in 2015.

Ms Geeves said: “In response to the 2016 audience feedback we are going to reduce the level of tickets we are going to sell and go back to our capacity of 2015 because that was better.

“On the festival site we have a pinch-point which was highlighted this year with the additional audience numbers.

“Although the site can take significantly more people, our audience moves in the same direction at the same time, which exacerbates this pinch-point and we want to make it less of one.”

Ms Geeves said that some audience members had found it “not pleasant” to go to and from the performance area, adding: “The site felt very busy and not in a way that some of our audience liked. We have listened to all feedback and have decided to act.”

She said that ticket prices would increase “a little bit” having been largely held for the past two years.

Ms Geeves said: “We are reviewing our prices and they will increase incrementally to ensure the quality of the festival, audience enjoyment and the grants we give are protected at all costs. We are not-for-profit so any money we make will go out.”

Meanwhile, the festival has been shortlisted for best headliner and best hospitality at the UK Festival Awards.

Elton John’s sold-out performance on the opening night is up against a host of other performances, including Rihanna at the V Festival and Calvin Harris at Creamfields, a dance festival held in Cheshire.

The festival is named alongside the likes of Glastonbury and Download in the hospitality category.

The headliner of the year award will decided by a public vote while the hospitality award is judged by an expert panel. The winners will be announced on November 28.

Ms Geeves said: “We are really thrilled to be shortlisted as it puts Henley Festival and also Henley on the map and both of these, our performers and programme, are really important to keep the vibrancy of the festival and ensure its longevity.”

Next year’s festival will be held from Wednesday to Sunday, July 5 to 9.

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