The Henley Festival (4 – 8 July) Celebrates 30 Years of Glamour on the Banks of the River Thames With a Star-Studded Line Up

  • The quintessential English summer party with 5 nights, 7 stages, 4 art galleries, Albert and Michel Roux Jr dining and 25,000 revellers in black-tie
  • Make a weekend of it: Set in England’s answer to the Hamptons on the banks of the river Thames just 1 hour from London with 5 Star Hotels, Spas and Restaurants the Henley Festival provides the perfect excuse for the ultimate mini-break
  • Headline Acts confirmed: Sting, Lulu, Tim Minchin, Katherine Jenkins, Olly Murs, Alfie Boe, Blue, Nathan Pacheco, Laura Wright and Peridot

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The Henley Festival is celebrating 30 years at the heart of the English summer season with a line up like never before staged once again at the unique location on the banks of the River Thames.

As well as the headline acts black tie revellers can enjoy candlelit dining at award winning chefs Albert and Michel Roux Jr’s riverside restaurant, or have a more relaxed bite at one of the Festival’s six other brasseries and pavilions. Along the riverbank world-class acts from the worlds of jazz, opera, pop, theatre, comedy and cabaret entertain while pop-up art boutiques and sculpture lawns bring major galleries and artists to the Festival [full details below]. The headline festivities end each night with a dazzling firework display at around 10pm before partygoers dance into the night at the Festival’s resident nightclub. All profits go to charity.

Headline acts confirmed include:

  • Sting opening the Festival on 4 July.
  • Opera sensation Katherine Jenkins and American singer/songwriter Nathan Pacheco on 5 July.
  • One of 2011’s biggest selling classical artists Laura Wright, acclaimed tenor Alfie Boe and co-writer of the Olivier award winning musical Matilda,Tim Minchin on 6 July.
  • Sixties-songstress Lulu joined by Peridot, The London Community Gospel Choir and 00’s No.1 boy band Blue on 7 July.
  • X-Factor finalist Olly Murs will be closing Festival on 8 July.

The ultimate English mini-break:

Henley-on-Thames is 60 minutes by train, 35 Minutes by car or 10 minutes by helicopter to the Festival’s helipad from London. England’s answer to the Hamptons is overlooked by the beautiful Chiltern landscape of wooded hills and green fields, ideal for walks and picnics. Many guests choose to make a weekend of it and stay in one of the many five star hotels, quaint bed and breakfasts, spas or guesthouses.

Examples of where to Stay:

  • The Hotel du Vin is a character property, located in the former Brakspears brewery, only 50 yards from Henley’s waterfront. Food and wine take high priority here; with al fresco dining encouraged,
  • The French Horn, nestling at the foot of the Chilterns at Sonning is a traditional English country house,
  • Danesfield House Hotel and Spa is set in 65 acres of estate grounds with a Michelin Starred restaurant on the outskirts of town

The dress code:
Think British lawn chic. Billed by Vogue as one of the most unmissable events of the summer season - the dress code is strictly black tie –Ladies come resplendent in sizzling cocktail dresses and jewels, or gorgeous evening gowns fit for a summer’s evening. For gentlemen the quintessentially English black tie with a twist of eccentricity and a dash of daring is the order of the evening. Younger festival goers also put on their best bib and tucker (strictly no jeans or fleeces please).

Tickets are selling fast at, and can also be bought from the Festival box office: 01491 843404.  Tickets are priced from £35 per day. All Festival profits go to local charities [details below].

Henley Festival 2012 acts:

Cabaret and performance:
Among the stand-up comedy acts on offer are Have I got News for you! regular Dr Phil Hammond (4 July), Fascinating Aïda star Sarah-Louise Young (6 July), and charismatic Canadian comedic Craig Campbell (7 July).

The Festival’s signature cabaret acts, The Roving Company of Eccentrica, will amuse, entertain, surprise and shock guests with their unique brand of street performances, spread throughout the Festival’s grounds.

World-class dining:
Revellers enjoy candlelit summer nights dining at Albert and Michelin Starred Michel Roux Jr’s Festival riverside Roux restaurant, try the Terrace Restaurant or Café du Soir, (no booking required) - or have a more relaxed bite to eat at one of the Festival’s street-food concessions.

FEAST! Contemporary arts programme
Pop up art boutiques and sculpture lawns bring major galleries and artists to the Festival. The Festival’s visual arts programme includes FEAST! - an exceptional range of selling exhibitions - including the Festival’s famous Sculpture gardens - that showcases major international established artists and emerging talent.

2012 highlights include:

  • The serious surrealism of Alexander Vorobyev
  • Abstract contemporary art by Jeffrey Kroll and Nicolas Ruston
  • The Festival’s annual sculpture garden featuring the work of British sculptor Roland Piche and Auguste Rodin’s iconic masterpiece The Thinker.
  • “Carbon Art” specialist Alastair Gibson
  • Aboriginal Art from Australia
  • Body painted optical illusions created live by Australian artist Emma Hack

All profits to charity
The Henley Festival is a not for profit organisation. All profits raised go to local and national charities across the Thames Valley. This includes creating and funding the Henley Festival Orchestra which provides over 80 young people with a musical instrument, tuition and performance opportunities throughout the year. The Henley Festival Orchestra also enjoys the opportunity to work with outstanding international performers including Nigel Kennedy and Jon Lord.
Find out more here:

Stewart Collins, Henley Festival Artistic Director said: “To celebrate the Festival’s landmark birthday we’ve really pulled out all the stops. This year’s programme promises to be one of our most sensational to date – after all, 30 years is an achievement for any event and we wanted to see our guests celebrate in style. The Henley Festival is renowned for leaving our guests with magical memories and this will be an unmissable year for regulars and newcomers alike.’

The Henley Festival is sponsored by Invesco Perpetual, Westcoast, Lavazza Coffee, Benham Goodhead Print and Courtiers amongst others, the Festival showcases some of the best loved artists and performers from the classical, jazz and contemporary music world, as well as talent drawn from the global cultural scene, from sculpture and street theatre acts to poetry and art.

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Henley Festival Press Office:
Kallaway PR
• Rajina Gurung, Sussanah Glynn, Will Kallaway:
• Telephone 0207 221 7883 or email
• Henley Festival images:

Telephone box office: 01491 843404
Tickets go on sale to the public: 15 March 2012
Tickets priced from: £35 per day.

Become a Friend of the Henley Festival:
Friends enjoy benefits such as priority booking for Festival tickets and boat moorings, free upgrade of tickets if available and an invite to the directors Champagne reception.
Full details can be found here:

Opening times:
Wednesday 4 July: 18:00 – 00:00
Thursday 5 July: 18:00 – 00:00
Friday 6 July: 18:00 – 01:00
Saturday 7 July: 18:00 – 01:30
Sunday 8 July: 18.30 – 23.30

Getting to the Festival
Getting to Henley on Thames is quick and easy:

  • Train: 60 minutes from London Paddington
  • Car: 35 miles (or 40 minutes) along M4 motorway from London
  • Helicopter: 15 minutes from London to the Festival’s helipad

The Henley Festival Trust
The Henley Festival is not for profit. All profits and Festival Friends membership fees go to local and national charities across the Thames Valley including brain injury charity Headway and creating and funding the Henley Festival Orchestra. Donations are distributed through the Henley Festival Trust, which is funded by the Festival.

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