Friday, 23 July 2021

Festival promising 'biggest band ever'

JESSIE J and the Gipsy Kings will both headline at this year?s Henley Festival

JESSIE J and the Gipsy Kings will both headline at this year?s Henley Festival.

The 26-year-old singer will take to the ?floating? stage on July 8, the opening night, while the Grammy award-winning group will appear on the Saturday evening.

Organisers say they have booked their ?biggest band ever? for the final night but will not reveal their identity until nearer the time.

Artistic director Stewart Collins broke news of the latest acts at the event?s official launch at Phyllis Court Club in Henley on Monday night.

About 100 people attended the event, including Reading FC co-chairman Sir John Madejski, BBC Radio Berkshire presenter Mike Read and Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave.

Also present were the festival?s chairman Sir Michael Rake and new chief executive Charlotte Geeves.

The guests were entertained by street theatre duo the Flying Buttresses, who appeared at last year?s festival, and youngsters from Henley?s Acorn Music Theatre Company. Mr Collins said: ?Lots and lots of exciting new things are happening this year.

?We want to generate the most fantastic surplus and we can lay this golden egg by staging one of the most incredible events in the country. We are lucky to have a unique and remarkable formula and once again I believe we are raising the bar.

?The most important thing about the Henley Festival is that there?s so much going on across all evenings. There is a lot of change going on and the site and restaurants will look very different this year.

?All in all, it continues to develop and we hope you will go and shout about it, remembering that it is a festival with a true heart and mission. We raise a lot of money for good works and that makes us different from many other events.?

Also appearing this year will be soul legend Lionel Richie while singers Laura Mvula and Gregory Porter will be appearing with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Who Got Rhythm?, a tribute show to George Gershwin.

Comedians who will appear include Mark Watson, Adam Hills and Adam Kay.

Jessie J, best known for her No 1 hit Price Tag in 2012, has sold more than 11 million singles and 2.5 million albums and was a coach and mentor on the BBC?s talent show The Voice.

She said: ?So excited to be headlining the opening night of the Henley Festival this year and performing alongside the likes of Lionel Richie.?

The Gipsy Kings, featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, sold out when they last appeared at the festival in 2008.

They have been playing together since 1978 and have sold more than 14 million albums.

A band spokesman said: ?We love playing Henley Festival and the audience that comes out ? we look forward to the fiesta.?

The 33rd annual festival runs from Wednesday to Sunday, July 8 to 12. A total of 6,000 tickets will be available for each night and will go on general sale on March 19.

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