Sunday, 18 November 2018

Music on the Meadows

MUSIC on the Meadows, a festival for families and young people is to be held in Henley.

MUSIC on the Meadows, a festival for families and young people is to be held in Henley.

The festival will be held in Mill Meadows on Saturday, June 1 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

It will feature 12 local bands performing on the riverside bandstand.

Organisers hope to win support from George Harrison’s widow Olivia and son Dhani and each band will pay tribute to him by playing a Beatles song.

In January, Mrs Harrison wrote to the Standard to say that she would like a community project rather than a statue as a memorial to her husband.

The event will resemble the Come Together festival, which was held for four years until 2008 when it ceased because Henley Town Council withdrew funding.

Deputy Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak, chairman of the organising committee, said: “It’s a grassroots festival for local bands to showcase their talent. It will be free and we hope it’s a wonderful community event for everyone in Henley. There’s not a lot going on for young people and we hope this will be the start of more of these types of events in the town.”

Other members of the committee include Maggie Atkinson, who runs the Be There Henley youth project, Lisa Hobbs, who chairs Henley Youth Festival, and a number of young musicians.

Pablo Bowman, frontman of the band Komodo Krimes, will be responsible for organising the bands.

It is also supported by James Lambert, a PR company owner, who collected 2,000 signatures on a petition calling for a memorial to Harrison.

Mrs Atkinson, of Queen Street, said: “I and many others volunteering for Be There Henley believe the youth of our town are worth investing in. We’re rich on youth talent in Henley and it’s fabulous to give them a stage to showcase it.”

Other attractions will include flash mobs and a performance by youngsters from the Acorn Music Theatre Company. There may also be display by a graffiti artist.

The Henley Decorative and Fine Arts Society has pledged £500 to buy a giant canvas as a backdrop for the stage. Pots of paint will be sold to families to decorate the canvas.

In the build-up to the festival, a battle of the bands competition will be held at Magoos bar in Hart Street.There will be heats on March 28, April 25 and May 23 with the final taking place at the festival.

The winning act will win £500 and be signed up to Eight Ray Music, a music agency based in Henley that provides acts for events. A CD recording, promotional photo-shoot and professional performance opportunities will also be part of the winner’s package.

Katie Moberly, whose band Katie and the Dragons may perform, will help publicise the festival and organise the bands.

The 17-year-old, of St Mark’s Road, said: “I hope we can organise a day that attracts all ages, where there’s lots of things for people to do and brings the town together.

“Henley has a special community feel and things like this are really nice to let the people who perhaps don’t feel part of that already get that vibe.”

Katie, a pupil at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School in Marlow, added: “If it gets a mention with George Harrison that would be something really special because he was a great musician.” Sophie Lloyd, 17, of Fair Mile, is another potential performer who is helping to organise the festival.

She said: “This event is really important for young people and it’s good to be involved.”

Jake Clark, from Highmoor, will help organise the sound and lighting and could perform with his band Blackjaxx with whom he sings and plays bass.

The 14-year-old, a pupil at Gillotts School, said: “We want to put the town on the map in terms of music and I think this festival will be great. We hope to get a big audience and for this to lead to more music events in the town.”

The festival, which is scheduled to run from 2pm to 8pm, is subject to approval by the town council.

Anyone interested in performing should contact Cllr Gawrysiak via the town hall and anyone wishing to register for the battle of the bands competition should call Laurence Wilson at Magoos on (01491) 574595.

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