Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Nile Rodgers and Rita Ora to headline festival

Nile Rodgers and Rita Ora to headline festival

DISCO legend Nile Rodgers and his band Chic have been named as one of the headliners for the 36th Henley Festival.

Pop superstar Rita Ora will appear on the “floating stage” to open the five-day extravaganza in July and singer-supermodel Grace Jones will also perform.

Jazz singer Curtis Stigers will appear with the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band and the festival will be closed by The English National Opera.

The five-night festival of music and the arts will also include 25 comedians and an array of food and drink from across the globe.

Artistic director Stewart Collins said: “We have Rita Ora, a fantastic, vibrant, young artist. Grace Jones, the legend. Nile Rodgers, the superstar and the Sinatra big band night.

“On Sunday, the English National Opera will be coming to the festival’s stage. They will be doing some of the most fantastic operatic music.

“Those who have supported us for many, many years understand what that means for that kind of night. It will be beautiful on the river, with the sun in the sky and beautiful music sweeping us throguh to the end of the festival. 

“We are so proud to have got the English National Opera because this is not something they do and we have them as almost an exclusive.”

About 80 friends, patrons and sponsors were invited to a special launch event in the grandstand at Phyllis Court Club on Monday where the line-up was revealed ahead of today’s official announcement.

Four-time chart topper Ora, 27, received the loudest cheer from the assembled audience when she was announced by Mr Collins.

She is set to release a new album later this year and is number six in the UK singles chart with Anywhere.

Her hits include How We Do, R.I.P., Hot Right NowRadioactive and I Will Never Let You Down.

She will be followed on Thursday by Jones, who shot to fame in the early Seventies as a catwalk model. 

Jones, 69, moved from the runway to the recording studio in 1977 to record her debut album Portfolio.

She is also well known for playing May Day in the 1985 bond film A View to a Kill, where she possess superhuman strength as chief henchwoman to bad guy Zorin – playing by Christopher Walken.

Her set will include her reinvention of Edith Piaf’s classic La Vie En Rose and is guaranteed to include dance-club hits and a string of costume changes.

Two-time grammy winner Rodgers, a noted composer, producer and guitarist, has been a music legend across five decades and will perform on Friday.

He co-founded Chic with bassist Bernard Edwards in 1976 and they went on to generate chart-topping hits including Le Freak, Everybody Dance and I Want Your Love.

More recently he has worked with Daft Punk, Avicii, Disclosure and Sam Smith.

Jazz vocalist Stigers, also a celebrated saxophonist and songwriter, and the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band, including many of the UK’s finest jazz musicians, will take to the stage on Saturday.

They will look to summon the chemistry of Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra as they present Sinatra At The Sands. The album was at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1966.

It includes classics such as Come Fly With Me, One For My Baby, My Kind of Town and It Was a Very Good Year.

The English National Opera will appear under the baton of music director Martyn Brabbins to close the festival on Sunday. 

It will include a 70-piece orchestra and a 40-strong choral section.

Their repertoire includes many of the great operas including Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Madam Butterfly, Turandot, La Traviata and Gilbert & Sullivan.

New to this year’s festival will be a nightly performance by acts from BBC Music Introducing.

It was created 2007 to support unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar musicians. Its alumni include Florence and the Machine and Ed Sheeran.

British country band Pearl, Berkshire-based singer-songwriter Lorne, folk singer Alex Green, indie-pop artist Cecil and acoustic folk and roots quartet WolfNote will all perform.

Pop-noir songstress and Henley local Purdy will be amongst the line up in Henley Festival’s own jazz club in the Spiegel Tent.

She will perform on Thursday with other acts across the event including Ray Gelato and the Giants, The Staks Band, King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys and Miss Kiddy and the Cads.

The Bedouin Tent will be returning with music from across the world as well as showcasing local folk talent Megan Henwood.

Among the names signed up for comedy across the festival include Have I Got News For You favourite Paul Merton, serial prankster Lee Nelson and impressionist Jon Culshaw.

It also includes Lucy Porter and Dominic Holland as well as up and comers Suzi Ruffell, Pierre Novellie, Rhys James, Flo & Joan, Alfie Brown and Adam Rowe.

Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett has signed on with the festival and will be creating a bespoke menu for the Riverside Restaurant.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to be working closely with the Henley Festival for the first time and to serve the food that I love at such a great and iconic event.”

Several local restaurants have pop-ups at the festival including the Spice Merchant in Henley and the Crooked Billett, run by Paul Clerehugh in Stoke Row.

There will also be street food from BBQ club, Snob Lobster, Jessecco Prosecco, Pizza Express and Audacious Crispy Squid.

Champagne and cocktails will be available from Moët Champagne Bar, Black Cab Coffee & Cocktails, Hotel du Vin and many more.

Some of the country’s most talented artists will be showcasing their work at this year’s festival.

This includes artist David Mach, landscape photographer Charlie Waite, sculptor Rosamond Lloyd and a selection of works from aborignal art collector Jennifer Guerrini Marald.

More artists, galleries and curators will be announced later this year.

The festival site will be transformed into a huge playground for families and children during the day on Sunday.

The 2018 family Sunday will include entertainment from children’s favourites Mr Bloom, Mr Danger and Fun & Gamz.

There will also be balloon making, glitter tattoos, music lessons, comedy for kids, toddler disco and choir performances.

Each night will be topped-off with a firework display designed by Titanium Fireworks.

Their previous shows include the 2012 London Olympics, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the London New Year’s Eve Fireworks display and Hogmany in Edinburgh.

Currently, the Henley Festival is the only music festival the company work with.

The announcement on Friday also included presentations by the festival’s charity partners for this year – the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and the Teenage Wilderness Trust.

Tickets go on sale on February 5. 

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