Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Deputy mayor plans community music festival for families

HENLEY’S next mayor is on a mission to bring more music to the town.

HENLEY’S next mayor is on a mission to bring more music to the town.

Stefan Gawrysiak, the former assistant head of Gillotts School, plans to stage a community and family music event and a performance by Henley Symphony Orchestra to coincide with the last night of the Proms.

He says that both events would be held in Mill Meadows and would be open to everyone.

Speaking at a meeting of the town council’s Mill Meadows and river sub-committee, which he chairs, Councillor Gawrysiak said the community event would resemble the Come Together Festival, which stopped running in 2008 after four years.

The not-for-profit festival showcased local musicians and artists and featured free workshops for families but ceased when the town council withdrew funding.

Cllr Gawrysiak, who is currently deputy mayor, said he would organise the event with Henley Youth Club, the Be There Henley group and anyone else who was interested and there would be no onus on the council, except to offer advice. He would be seeking sponsors.

“This festival will include acoustic music and bands and the aim is to make it a regular event,” he said. “This year I am thinking about a Saturday in June, perhaps to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.”

He said he was talking to James Lambert, a PR company owner from Friday Street, who collected more than 2,000 names on a petition calling for a memorial statue for George Harrison until the former Beatle’s widow Olivia said she would prefer a community event.

Councillor Jeni Wood said: “This is a really great idea. The only cold water I am going to pour on it is the neighbours — all those houses along the railway line and the apartments for the elderly across the river — because the sound will carry.

“I think you will come up against them and you would have to think very carefully about anything you do down there.”

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “We would have to inform people around that area.”

Cllr Wood replied: “I think you would have to do more than let people know it’s going on.”

Mayor Liz Hodgkin said: “I used to love the Come Together Festival but that was on Marsh Meadows, where we do not allow anything now.

“This is different from what we would normally allow and it is very important that people have their say and I am sure they will.

“Perhaps we should be having it during the day — I think there is a lot of work to do.” Councillor Sam Evans said the orchestra concert could divide people’s loyalties if it was held on the last night of the Proms, adding: “You could stream the Proms on a big screen as having them both would be fabulous.”

Town clerk Mike Kennedy said: “We do have a licence from the district council which permits us to hold performance events at Mill Meadows.

“There are conditions that are attached to that and one is that we have to notify in advance all affected residents and monitor noise to make sure that it is not above the required level.

“I do not think we need to ask residents — we have permission to do it, all we have to do is consult and tell them.”

Cllr Gawrysiak added: “We are only at the exploration stage at the moment.”

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

Cllr Gawrysiak, who is currently deputy mayor, said he would organise the event with Henley Youth Club, the Be There Henley group and anyone else who was interested and there would be no onus on the council, except to offer advice. He would be seeking sponsors.

“This festival will include acoustic music and bands and the aim is to make it a regular event,” he said. “This year I am thinking about a Saturday in June, perhaps to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.”

He said he was talking to James Lambert, a PR company owner from Friday Street, who collected more than 2,000 names on a petition calling for a memorial statue for George Harrison until the former Beatle’s widow Olivia said she would prefer a community event.

Councillor Jeni Wood said: “This is a really great idea. The only cold water I am going to pour on it is the neighbours — all those houses along the railway line and the apartments for the elderly across the river — because the sound will carry.

“I think you will come up against them and you would have to think very carefully about anything you do down there.”

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “We would have to inform people around that area.”

Cllr Wood replied: “I think you would have to do more than let people know it’s going on.”

Mayor Liz Hodgkin said: “I used to love the Come Together Festival but that was on Marsh Meadows, where we do not allow anything now.

“This is different from what we would normally allow and it is very important that people have their say and I am sure they will.

“Perhaps we should be having it during the day — I think there is a lot of work to do.” Councillor Sam Evans said the orchestra concert could divide people’s loyalties if it was held on the last night of the Proms, adding: “You could stream the Proms on a big screen as having them both would be fabulous.”

Town clerk Mike Kennedy said: “We do have a licence from the district council which permits us to hold performance events at Mill Meadows.

“There are conditions that are attached to that and one is that we have to notify in advance all affected residents and monitor noise to make sure that it is not above the required level.

“I do not think we need to ask residents — we have permission to do it, all we have to do is consult and tell them.”

Cllr Gawrysiak added: “We are only at the exploration stage at the moment.”

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

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