Sunday, 11 April 2021

Festival chief leaves after only one year

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HENLEY Festival’s chief executive has left after just over a year in the job.

The festival said Nick Mattingley’s departure was due to the postponement of this year’s event as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Mattingley said “sacrifices” had to be made to secure the festival’s future.

He told the Henley Standard: “Just over a year ago, I took over as chief executive of Henley Festival and was excited to lead this fantastic event.

“Sadly, the circumstances have meant this year’s event couldn’t go ahead.

“With the subsequent financial uncertainty, sacrifices have had to have been made to secure the future of the festival. Regrettably, I will be leaving.

“I would like to thank all the wonderful supporters of the festival for standing by us throughout a very challenging year.”

Mr Mattingley said his departure was a “collective decision” but that he didn’t have another job lined up at the moment.

He added: “I’ve been blown away by the support that there is in the local community. That’s something that’s very tangible and it is Henley’s festival.

“Everybody has supported it and will continue to support it, I’m sure.

“Collectively, we have all had to come to terms with what has happened this year. It’s heartbreaking when you put so much effort into something and you have to change everything

“Everything is affected. It’s not just the festival, it’s the whole economy.”

Jo Bausor, the festival’s head of marketing, will step up as interim chief executive, working in partnership with artistic director Stewart Collins and Emma Lerche-Thomsen, the membership development manager.

Lord Carter, chairman of the festival’s trustees, said: “Nick joined us to grow and expand the festival and the current situation has made that challenging to say the least. We will miss Nick but Jo and the team have a clear plan to steward the festival through the challenges presented by the current restrictions and back to full strength.”

The festival said there were no plans to recruit a replacement.

Mr Mattingley replaced Charlotte Geeves, who stepped down at the end of August last year to become executive director and chief executive officer of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre.

His career in theatre began as an independent producer before he joined the arts and entertainments division at IMG UK.

There he worked on projects including the Hampton Court Palace Music Festival, the English Heritage Picnic Concerts at Kenwood House and Audley End, annual concerts at Tatton Park, the ice rink at the Natural History Museum, London Bierfest and British Military Tournament for which he was the production director.

More recently he was shows director at the Royal Horticultural Society, looking after the flower shows at Royal Hospital Chelsea, Chatsworth House, Hampton Court Palace, Tatton Park, Cardiff and Malvern as well as smaller London shows.

His freelance work has included equestrian events such as the Longines Global Champions on Horse Guards Parade and the Spanish Riding School of Vienna at Wembley and the NEC in Birmingham.

He worked for exhibition design company Enigma in Marlow before going freelance to stage a tri-services military event in Saudi Arabia in 2022.

The festival is scheduled to take place from July 7 to 11 next year with this year’s full line-up. This comprises Madness, pop singers James Blunt and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge appearing in Disco Classical, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, presented by singer and musician Myleene Klass.

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