Monday, 18 October 2021

Friends return to tradition with new music festival

THE organisers of a new music festival for Henley say they want to bring something different to the area.

THE organisers of a new music festival for Henley say they want to bring something different to the area.

The first Hideaway Music Festival will be held at the Fawley Hill estate of Sir William and Lady McAlpine on Saturday, August 3 from noon to midnight.

It is the brainchild of businessman Brett Fuller, from Cookley Green, and his friend Nigel Adams, from Christmas Common.

They worked together at the former Music on the Hill event, which ran on Watlington Hill for several years.

They have already secured a number of acts, including Megan Henwood, John Otway and Wild Willie Barrett, Nubiyan Twist and The Blockheads, who used to play with Ian Dury.

Mr Fuller, whose company designs and builds exhibition stands, said: “It is something that we have always wanted to do and is going to offer something different.

“I love live music but feel the huge, impersonal festivals have just lost their soul. There was talk of starting a music festival in the area with a handful of people and it was suggested that I spoke to Sir William and Lady McAlpine. They said that they had wanted to do that for ages and that I could have their field. They were very helpful and very keen for me to do it up there. When I got to the site I thought ‘wow, this is really hidden away’, hence the name.

“There are lots of events that happen round here, such as the Henley Festival and the regatta, and we all know about them. I went to the first three years of Rewind and while I thought it was good fun, it was the same every year. What was really missing was a traditional music festival.”

Mr Fuller, who has played in several bands himself, said Hideaway would have three stages and other attractions. “Nigel will be my right-hand man and will be organising the bands,” he said. “He was born and bred in Watlington and is a hedge layer by trade but he knows so much about music.”

Mr Fuller said that the acts secured so far are mostly through friends or contacts.

“We wanted reggae, ska, jazz and country music altogether,” he said. “There are a lot of people who we know, such as Megan Henwood, who plays with a drummer friend of mine.

“John Otway is a big pull. He used to play at Music on the Hill so he knows us. We never had him with Wild Willie Barrett, which was the original line-up, so it should be very exciting to have them back together.” The folk duo had a hit in 1977 with Really Free.

Other attractions at Hideaway will include market stalls, trains and fairground rides and there will be several food outlets and a bar selling real ales.

Mr Adams, who is married with two children, said: “There was a group of us involved in Music on the Hill, which ran for 11 years and I was the committee chairman for seven of those. It has not occurred for five years now and we felt the urge to have another festival as it is something we enjoy doing.

“My role is to put together the line-up. I think what we have is very impressive — we were trying for quality music while getting something to suit everybody.

“The venue is gorgeous and we want people to feel safe and be able to let their hair down.

“We want people to have a feel of being in a field with good quality food, music and entertainment but also to have the feel of a rock festival.

“We want to appeal to all generations and there is plenty for teenagers with lots of local new and upcoming bands.”

Tickets cost £35 each (under-12s go free) and are available from the In the Groove record shop in Reading Road, Henley, the Bread Bin in Watlington, the Fox and Hounds in Christmas Common and the Chequers in Fingest or from

TOWN councillors are to continue inspecting areas of Henley. The inspections were introduced in 2009 to ensure that property and land belonging to Henley Town Council is not being subject to encroachment. Each councillor observes one of 16 areas and reports back to the town clerk or parks staff.

Hilary King, the council’s administrator for finance and legal matters, suggested that the practice was scrapped after this year.

In a report to the council’s finance strategy and management committee, she said: “The parks service manager has no objections should the estate inspections cease as he believes his staff provide adequate inspection cover as part of their normal duties.

“It would also free up more of his time as there would no longer be a requirement to accompany councillors on visits.

“Even though the formal reporting would cease, councillors would still retain the ability to report any observations concerning the estate that need attention through the normal channels.”

Councillor Jeni Wood said the inspections should continue, adding: “I think it gives each councillor an area of ownership and they are more likely to be vigilant about their particular area.”

Councillor Will Hamilton said: “I enjoy doing my estate inspection. I think we should keep them as it is important to keep councillors close to the community.”

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “Every time I go to my local corner shop I have a look around to make sure everything is all right and I will continue to do so. Councillors should take ownership of their area.”

But Councillor Lorraine Hillier disagreed, saying: “I think it creates a lot of pressure and, to be honest, if I am walking around and see something then I will take a photo and send it to the relevant person.

“I think this report makes sense as the inspections become like witch-hunts. I don’t like that — I would rather just be a responsible councillor but not be held to account like this.”

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak said he wanted the inspections to continue but they should be carried out on a specific date to save council staff time.

Cllr Gawrysiak proposed that the inspections continued without council officers being present and that they be completed by a specific date.

Six members voted in favour with two against and the final decision will be made by the full council.

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