Monday, 23 October 2017

Chief defends line-up and ticket price rise

Henley Festival logo

THE chief executive of the Henley Festival has defended this year’s programme after it was criticised on social media.

Charlotte Geeves responded to comments made on the festival’s Facebook page, where the ticket prices also came under fire.

Grandstand tickets cost from £70 to £170 and lawn tickets from £60 to £150. The general admission tickets, which used to cost £35, now range in price from £45 to £55.

Kim Bennett wrote: “So not impressed with this line-up. Definitely not worth paying £199 for limited edition tickets. Very disappointing after last year.”

David Sharpe said: “Seriously underwhelming. Should be plenty of tickets available, maybe at discounts closer to the time?”

Janet Weston wrote: “So agree... obviously all the money was spent last year. There are some great people touring this year... where are they?”

Michelle Mead said: “Totally underwhelmed. In my opinion these acts are not in keeping with the usual spectacular and magical standard of Henley Festival (especially given the hype!)”

Ms Geeves told the Henley Standard: “I think music is an incredibly subjective thing and that’s the beauty of doing a music festival because what one person likes, another person will not like.

“You get to programme a wide choice of music which people choose to come along to or not. We don’t programme to one particular type of person or audience. We hope to get a wide range of audiences to the festival.

“But everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we listen to all those comments and all that feedback and take heed of that for future years.”

Ms Geeves said the festival had done just that after last year, when the maximum of 7,000 tickets were sold for two nights, by reducing the capacity to 2015 levels but with that had come an increase in ticket prices.

“We’re protecting the quality of the programme right across the board,” she said. “Our costs go up year-on-year. Our spend on the artistic programme has increased.

“One of our priorities is that we focus on the quality of the artistic programme and we invest in the quality of the programme.

“For what we offer I believe we’re competitive and I believe we’re still accessible. We held our ticket prices for a two-year period.”

* What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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