Monday, 20 September 2021

Festival to introduce ‘locals’ season ticket

THE Henley Festival plans to introduce a season ticket for local people in a bid to

THE Henley Festival plans to introduce a season ticket for local people in a bid to boost attendances.

It hopes to attract up to 7,000 each night of the five-day annual festival, almost 2,000 more than the average nightly attendance this year.

The expansion plans were revealed by chief executive Charlotte Geeves at a public meeting in Remenham on Tuesday.

The season ticket would allow entry on all five nights and would be available across all price bands.

Miss Geeves said: “What we want to do is introduce a season ticket open to only local residents. We have not worked out postcodes but it would be Henley and the surrounding areas. This would be for the five nights and on all ticket types. It will be financially a better deal than buying individual nights.”

This year the festival introduced a new £35 ticket, which provided access to the whole site except the grandstand and lawn in front of it.

Miss Geeves said this had proved popular, adding: “What we want to do is programme more to make that £35 ticket really good value.”

About 40 members of the public were present at the meeting at Remenham parish hall. Justin Sutherland, from Remenham, asked how many people attended the festival.

Miss Geeves replied that the attendance was 6,000 on two nights this year, Thursday and Saturday, and about 4,500 on the other nights.

“We would like to increase by a thousand up to 7,000,” she said. “That would allow for more reasonably priced tickets so more people could come and we could programme more work for people to see. We do not want to be a big commercial music festival.”

This year’s attendances were up by about 28 per cent on 2014, when the only evening to sell out was when the Jacksons performed.

The festival has a licence from Wokingham Borough Council that allows up to 20,000 people on the site, the same number as Henley Royal Regatta.

The festival also plans to hold an event during the day on Saturday to go with the Sunday family event that was introduced this year.

Miss Geeves said: “We want to work with community more in Henley and work with the residents.

“We want to become a dynamic, forward-thinking organisation. We want to grow public enjoyment and understanding of music.”

Michael Dudley, of Remenham, asked how much the festival donates to charity each year.

She responded: “In the last year we have given roughly £150,000 in grants to charity, both local and national. We try to make as much money as we can so it can all go back in grants.”

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