Saturday, 17 April 2021

Festival director to step down

Festival director to step down

THE Henley Festival's long-serving artistic director is to retire.

Stewart Collins, who has been involved with the annual summer event for the past 30 years, will step down after next year's festival which runs from July 7 to 11.

During his time in post, organisers say the event has grown its audiences “dramatically” and expanded its "significance and distinctiveness in the wider festivals market".

Over the past decades, headliners have included Sir Elton John, Sting, Dame Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Rita Ora, Joss Stone, Jessie J, Paloma Faith, Pet Shop Boys, Lionel Richie and Nile Rodgers and Chic.

Festival chairman Lord Carter said: “Stewart has been the creative force behind the festival for many years.

“His enthusiasm has only been matched by his local of the festival community and we look forward to his last hurrah.”

Mr Collins said: “My association with the Henley Festival has been one of the greatest joys imaginable in what has, happily, been a very stimulating and rewarding career.

“I have no intention of stopping what I do, of course, but my 30 years in Henley have enabled me to work with an astonishing array of artists and allowed some wonderful flights of fantasy in the course of delivering what is unquestionably one of the great events of the British summer. 

“I have also been privileged to work with a whole generation of young artists and performers who have gone on to establish wonderful careers in music, comedy, and the visual arts.”

Next year's headliners will be Madness, James Blunt, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Sarah Cox, Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The festival couldn't take place this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic so a “virtual” event was held online instead.

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