Monday, 18 October 2021

Demands of a diva

WHEN the big names perform at the Henley Festival, they often ask for the unexpected.

When Elton John came two years ago he wanted strawberries and a television so that he could watch Wimbledon.

The following night it was the turn of Shirley Bassey.

Paul Clerehugh, proprietor of the Crooked Billet in Stoke Row and Henley Standard columnist, recalls that before the Welsh superstar’s performance on the “floating” stage, she asked for caviar, so he arranged to have some brought to her.

Dame Shirley also complained about being chilly so Suzanne Yeates, event and artist manager at the festival, went to M&Co in Bell Street to buy her a cheap yellow knit to wear during her sound check.

The jumper was very different to the shimmering silver dress Dame Shirley wore on stage later.

“She actually left the site that night wearing it,” says Suzanne.

“Lovely little moments like that make working at the Henley Festival so special.”

It would interesting to know what Grace Jones asks for when she appears this year...

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