Henley Festival welcomes two of the biggest names in the music industry to the famous Floating Stage
As a wonderful way to kick-start the Summer Social Season, we couldn’t wait for the 40th anniversary of Henley Festival, the UK’s only black tie festival. Set on the majestic riverbanks of Henley-on-Thames – a little over an hour outside London – the event proved to be a riot of colour, carnival, cuisine, comedy and music.
We were treated to glorious sunshine, with the legendary Sir Tom Jones taking to the Festival’s famous Floating Stage – positioned right out over the River – to perform some of his best-loved classics, along with more recent work from his new album, Surrounded By Time. A truly brilliant performer, even at the ripe old age of 82, the singer showed seemingly no signs of slowing down. The crowd, myself included, was absolutely captivated by his performance, and it just goes to show why he really is one of the greats.
Of course, Henley isn’t just about the music, and we also made sure to enjoy the array of artworks. This year, the Festival had partnered with the Hollandridge Group, who had curated some truly fantastic pieces from some of the UK’s leading artists and galleries. These were displayed alongside a magical forest of six-foot-tall Art Deco trees, created by Luminosi Trees.
We returned to the Festival for the much-loved Family Sunday, which proved to be an idyllic summer’s day, and were pleased to see superstar mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE. The Welsh really do have the best voices! Whilst basking in the warmth of a British heatwave, Katherine took to the stage for a performance with singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti (with an impromptu encore from the wonderful Beverley Knight – which we certainly weren’t complaining about!), before Katherine brought the roof down, with her crystal clear voice ringing out across the River to close the 40th anniversary celebrations, as fireworks exploded through the night sky.
This year’s Festival celebrations may be hard to beat, but with a brilliant team behind it, we’re already looking forward to Henley Festival next year.
Images courtesy of Adam Sorenson