Henley Festival Presented by Westcoast, the UK’s most glamorous music and arts festival, is thrilled to reveal the unmissable line-up for this year’s 40th anniversary celebrations from Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th July 2022.
Festival goers are invited to be part of an unforgettable experience when the boutique black-tie festival returns to Henley-on-Thames’ stunning riverside for five, spectacular summer nights, celebrating 40 years of music, comedy, art, dancing, gastronomy, fireworks and magical moments.
A truly unique event, Henley Festival is world renowned for curating a vibrant programme spanning pop, world music, classical and jazz, where art, comedy and gastronomy share equal billing with music – and this year is set to be the biggest year yet.
The show begins from the moment Festival goers step onto the green banks of the Thames, to be dazzled by the enchanting troupes of entertainers, to take a ride on the vintage fun fair, or to enjoy a glass of fizz on the Moët Champagne lawn with an unparalleled view of the river, and – after an evening of world-class music, comedy, dining and dancing – concludes with a jaw-dropping firework spectacular.
THE FLOATING STAGE HEADLINERS 2022
One of the world’s most successful bands, The Script, will open Henley Festival’s breath-taking Floating Stage on Wednesday evening. The blockbusting Irish trio – Danny O’Donoghue, Glen Power and Mark Sheehan – have 5 UK #1 albums, 6 billion streams and 2 million ticket sales to their name, and are now set to entertain the Henley crowd with their biggest hits and fan favourites from their career-spanning greatest hits album Tales From The Script. Henley Festival’s opening night will be brought to a fabulous close by euro-disco phenomenon Boney M. with the original lead singer Liz Mitchell, performing international chartbusters in the Festival Club.
On Thursday, one the most successful artists in UK chart history, Craig David, will perform an epic evening of his best-loved hits. Twenty years since the critically-acclaimed album, ‘Born To Do It’, changed his life, Craig has catapulted back into the charts and into the nation’s hearts – amassing over 5 billion streams worldwide on the way – and the demand to see his incredible live performances is higher than ever.
The legendary, incomparable Sir Tom Jones will return to Henley and the stunning Floating Stage on Friday evening to captivate the crowd with music from his 41st studio album Surrounded By Time. This record – which was recorded in his native Wales for the very first time, and went straight to the top of the UK charts – is Tom’s most personal collection to date, and further extends the extraordinary legacy of his career spanning over five decades.
On Saturday, revered DJ, broadcaster and global dance music legend Pete Tong, together with The Heritage Orchestra and Jules Buckley, will present an unforgettable evening of iconic classical electronic music. Inventively bold, Ibiza Classics will showcase Pete Tong’s enigmatic reimaginations of classic house tracks, transporting the Floating Stage audience all the way from Henley to the White Isle for a balearic party like no other.
This year’s Festival will close with an extraordinary 40th Anniversary Concert on Sunday evening, featuring an exclusive line-up of special guests to be announced. The Henley audience are invited to be part of something truly amazing as the Festival wraps up five spectacular summer evenings by celebrating 40 years of unforgettable memories.
JAZZ & SWING in the Spiegel Tent
Opening Henley Festival’s very own Jazz Club in the world-famous Spiegel Tent on Wednesday evening will be London-based trumpeter, composer and bandleader Kevin Davy, followed by a barnstorming set from the critically acclaimed funk and soul collective Brother Strut. On Thursday, singer, songwriter and guitarist Rosie Frater-Taylor will blur the lines between virtuoso jazz, folk, pop & soul with her sweet and unique sound, and Natty Congeroo & the Flames of Rhythm will top off the night with a flamboyant performance of their trademark, explosive swing, that is sure to get the Festival audience on their feet.
The Jazz Club will welcome the talent and the beehive that is Emily Capell – celebrated for her Amy Winehouse charisma and powerful voice – a frivolous Friday, followed by a rip-roaring performance from the all swinging and singing Flashmob Jazz. On Saturday, the hugely popular trumpeter and composer Jay Phelps will share his instantly recognisable warm and projecting tone with festival goers, and the fabulous Gracie & The G-Spots will be bringing blues, jazz and some silliness to the atmospheric Spiegel Tent. Five extraordinary sultry, summer evenings in the Jazz Club will be brought to a triumphant end by the Hugh Turner Quartet with their varied mix of jazz, blues and funky flavoured tunes, and The Jazz Defenders, performing their raw and vibrant compositions born out of a deep love for Blue Note Jazz.
WORLD & FOLK in the Bedouin Tent
Henley Festival’s beautiful Bedouin Tent will welcome more live music and bohemia, drinks and dancing than ever before, offering a taste of global world music as well as home spun British folk at its best. On Wednesday, Adam Isaac, who made it to the quarter-finals of BBC’s The Voice UK with the Friday’s headliner Sir Tom Jones as his coach, will take to the stage, followed by an after dark performance by guitar instrumental twangers of the highest Mexican order – the Bikini Beach Band – known as the kings of surf-noir. On Thursday, Brighton’s singer-songwriter Gina Larner will share her bewitching and intoxicating folk style, woven with country and pop-rock, and Showhawk Duo, made up of classically trained British guitarists Mikhail Asanovic and Jake Wright, will dazzle festival goers with their spectacular boundary breaking style, and unique blend of acoustic and electronic.
Friday’s festivities will be kick-started by up-and-coming singer songwriter Tom Webber, before the ultimate good-time party band The Cinelli Brothers – born out of a common passion for the electric Chicago and Texas blues – perform their original repertoire in the style of Chess, Stax and Motown. Saturday’s revelry includes the MOBO award-winning Jai Amore and the rootsy, good-time party band Cahoots, keeping the party rocking all night with their eclectic setlist. Closing the Bedouin Tent for this year will be Kat Eaton, showcasing her unashamedly bold vocals in an effortless blend of soul, and classic R&B, and then The Fifty Nines will bring their vintage style, charisma, unrivalled showmanship and a set list packed with floor-filling chart hits from every decade.
AWARD-WINNING COMEDY in The Comedy Club
Henley Festival’s stellar reputation for the biggest and best comedy continues for this year’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Leading the laughs is the multi-talented Jo Brand, long established as one of the UK’s best comics, award-winning Andy Parsons – fan favourite on TV shows including Live at the Apollo, QI and Mock The Week – alongside king of the surreal one-liner Milton Jones, comedian, presenter, actor, author and scriptwriter Russell Kane, and TikTok sensation and resident Tower of London funnyman Tom Houghton.
Edinburgh Fringe favourite Ivo Graham will be sharing a shambolic hour of frantic domestic updates, Britain’s Got Talent break out star Jonny Awsum will be bringing his unique brand of musical comedy, and to tickle funnybones even further there will be performances from Yorkshire’s superstar Maisie Adam, fresh from recent guest appearances on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Have I Got News For You and The Last Leg, Newcastle’s brightest new talent Lauren Pattison, the “UK’s only declared Conservative comedian” Geoff Norcott, some reliably silly, unpredictably meaningful comedy courtesy of Alice Fraser, plus Aaron Simmonds, Triple Threat Comedy with Holly Stars, Helen Bauer and Ria Lina, prolific joke writer Glenn Moore, and much more.
FESTIVAL FOR FOOD LOVERS
Henley is the Festival for food lovers, with Michelin starred chefs cooking up a storm in the past few years including Angela Hartnett MBE, Albert Roux, Michel Roux Junior and Daniel Clifford. New for 2022, Henley Festival will welcome the prestigious ‘Dish’ to the stunning Riverside Restaurant. Proud to support British farming and seasonal, locally sourced produce, Dish will offer festival goers an outstanding fine dining experience of exceptional quality and innovative design. From fine dining to street food, the raft of pop-up bars and restaurants adorning the riverside is sure to tantalise all taste buds!
VISUAL ARTS SHOWCASE
Henley Festival will continue their impressive visual arts programme, displaying fine art, photography and sculpture from some of the UK’s most talented artists, photographers and galleries. Hollandridge Group is delighted to be curating the art and sculpture at this year’s 40th anniversary edition of the Festival. Over the years Hollandridge has built up an extensive, international database of artists, galleries and works of art including paintings, photography, sculpture and drawings.
Two leading contemporary art galleries Panter & Hall and Zuleika will bring a collection of inspiring artworks and sculptures, and Luminosi Trees will create a magical forest along the grassy banks of the Thames: embellished with thousands of globe lights, the elegant, six foot Art Deco trees will transform into moving patterns of light synchronised to a soundscape as the sun goes down. Influenced by contemporary and urban art, Whitsable’s Tommy Gurr will share his large scale, striking canvas artwork with Festival goers, with further artists set to exhibit including Arabella Ross, Biddy Hodgkinson, Holly Frean, Marcus Hodge, alongside Rob and Nick Carter.
RISE: HENLEY FESTIVAL’S NEW CHARITY INITIATIVE
Henley Festival was set up in 1982 as a charity, with a mission to stage a music and arts Festival for the local community. Nearly 40 years on, this core purpose remains the same. Talent is everywhere but opportunities less so – particularly following the devastating effect of the pandemic on the cultural sector. To coincide with the 40th anniversary, Henley Festival will launch a new charitable initiative – RISE – to nurture the next generation of talent take their first steps into the wonderful world of performance and creativity, both in front and behind the spotlight.
RISE will provide opportunities for young musicians, comedians and visual artists to perform or show their work, as well as helping them before and after with marketing and production. This will sit alongside a work experience programme to support aspiring talent working ‘behind the scenes’, including sound engineers, lighting designers and stage managers. Watch out for RISE performers across the Festival week!
Taking over the Festival site on Sunday, there will be a whole host of wonderful activities and performances for children of all ages and stages. Highlights include a thrilling, hilarious and high-energy show of astoundingly original magic and laugh out loud comedy in the form of Gizmo’s Marvellous Magic Show, Carlos Airhead will dazzle children with his metamorphosis from man to a six-foot balloon, plus MC Grammar will be tackling subjects from football to volcanos in his hugely popular Wonder Raps.
For young comedy fans, the Festival is thrilled to present Jones and Barnard with their family friendly Variety Spectacular Show packed with giggles, juggling and escapology; Cookie the Clown will be giving out balloon models and laughs for free; Mr Pineapple Head will perform is captivating vintage and silent clown routine; and aspiring young entertainers can perfect their own performance skills in the Comedy Club 4 Kids and Theatre Club 4 Kids.
For creative little ones there will be workshops galore with Henley Youth Choir sharing singing tips, Henley Youth Festival nurturing young artists, Funky Faces offering face-painting sessions, Tommy Gurr sharing a live Doodle Jam for all children to get involved, plus Henley Literary Festival will be on hand for storytelling sessions. And if that’s not enough Adora Bubbles will share their magic amongst flurry of bubbles and smiles! With a jam-packed exciting programme, Family Sunday at Henley Festival promises an unmissable day out for the entire family.
Each iconic evening at Henley Festival is brought to a jaw dropping close with a spectacular firework display designed by the passionate pyrotechnic professionals at Titanium Fireworks, the team behind some of the UK’s biggest firework shows in the last decade including The Mayor of London New Year’s Eve celebrations, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Liverpool River of Light, Hull 2017 City of Culture, England 2015 Rugby World Cup, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the London 2012 Olympics. Henley is the only music Festival working with Titanium, and their extraordinary brand of sparkle is the perfect way to celebrate 40 years of magical and unforgettable memories.