I SHOULD not exaggerate the challenges of being the Henley Festival’s artistic director. I don’t lose sleep over making life and death decisions as do many people in other walks of life, but I still take hugely seriously the many decisions that contribute to the enjoyment of thousands of people at the festival.
Smiles and plaudits are profoundly welcome come July, disappointment and complaints absolutely not. And every festival simply has to be better than the previous. You can only ever raise the bar.
One of my most safely guarded computer files is the detailed log of events, acts and art shows that I see year on year.
Looking back at 2013, I logged upwards of 250 events, gigs, festivals, and gallery shows that I attended in order to unearth the best possible options for this coming July. Venues visited ranged from the obvious — like the Edinburgh Festival — to more obscure, such as The Nest in Dalston.
Acts ranged from Coldplay to a production of Beauty and the Beast inexplicably filled from beginning to end with nudity. That’s not coming to the festival by the way.