Thursday, 20 February 2020

Festival selling fast after initial website glitch

Festival headliners selling fast after initial website glitch

TICKETS for this year’s Henley Festival are selling fast, say organisers.

All 2,000 £65 general admission tickets for the Saturday night, when Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge will perform, have been snapped up and there only 150 left for the Friday night when Sophie-Ellis Bextor will be on the “floating” stage.

Tickets went on general sale on Thursday last week and Jo Bausor, the festival’s head of marketing, said: “Sales are going really well. We have had a really strong showing across all five nights.

“I haven’t seen it go this well at this point in time for a couple of years so it feels like the programme has been very well received.

“I think a lot of people want to come to the festival at the weekend regardless of what’s on the ‘floating’ stage because they are our longer nights and there’s so much to do and see.”

She said that Madness, who will open this year’s festival, were also proving popular, adding: “It’s a real singalong — everybody knows the songs and they just give a brilliant show from the minute they hit the first note.”

Mrs Bausor said the slowest-selling night so far was the Sunday when the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will perform with ceremonial trumpeters, a corps of drummers and Highland bagpipers.

“That’s quite normal at this stage,” she said. “We have still had a lot of interest in it, especially with the addition of the military theatrical elements, and we have Rory Bremner that night too so I am expecting it to pick up.

“We’re a charity and not-for-profit so our aim is to sell out every night so keep buying tickets, Henley.”

The other headliner is James Blunt, who will perform on the Thursday night.

The line-up, which was announced on January 29, has received a mixed reaction.

Kim Bennett was unimpressed that Madness were returning seven years after their last appearance.

Writing on the Henley Standard’s Facebook page, she said: “Again? How boring.”

Others posted emojis indicating they were looking forward to seeing the group’s frontman Suggs.

Kaarin Weber said: “I’ve seen James Blunt and Madness at Epsom racecourse. Madness are really good so up for seeing them again.” Writing on the festival’s Facebook page, Lynn Holloway said: “I’m not impressed with the line-up this year at all, sorry.”

Gaynor Parfitt said: “Might be a bit of fun, eh? Lovely.”

Philip Solo said: “This year’s line-up overall is very disappointing. I was expecting much better acts. I always attend multiple days.

“Maybe I will skip this year and hope 2021 will be a lot better.”

Festival chief executive Nick Mattingley said: “I think we have captured the zeitgeist. There are acts there for everybody.

“I’ve had lots of positive comments and in terms of our ticket sales so far it’s extremely strong.”

Meanwhile, the festival has apologised after people were unable to buy tickets for about half an hour on the day they went on general sale because of problems with the booking system.

The tickets were due to go on sale at 10am on Thursday but would-be buyers reported problems on the festival’s Facebook page, saying a message was displayed stating that tickets were only available to selected members.

Others reported getting to the front of the queue online, only to end up at the back without being given the opportunity to buy any tickets.

The same thing happened last year when people were unable to buy tickets for more than an hour.

Deryn Hughes wrote on Facebook: “Been trying to book tickets since 10am on website but it’s not allowing access. Help!”

Cath Fawcett said: “Nightmare website — I seem to recall it was like this a year ago. I had to go through the countdown about four times then the site told me tickets were not on sale to the public.”

Louise Chapman wrote: “This happened last year too — sooooo annoying and frustrating. Been sat here patiently in the queue and then you get to first in the queue and can’t do anything.”

The festival said: “We apologise that some of you experienced problems using our booking system.

“We are investigating why this occurred for the second year running and are working with our service provider Patronbase to ensure it does not happen again.”

This year’s Henley Festival will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, July 8 to 12.

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