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What’s On Now? Get Down to Henley Festival 2018

Culture /

What’s On Now? Get Down to Henley Festival 2018

From Rita Ora to Grace Jones, and all the gourmet cuisine in between...


Heading to Henley Festival 2018? Read our guide before you leave to catch the biggest music acts, the hottest chefs, and the best art on display this year at the UK’s biggest black tie music festival. 


Henley Festival

Henley Festival 11 – 15 July

The Music

Rita Ora will open Henley Festival 2018 on the Wednesday 11 July night following the release of her long awaited album in Spring 2018. Another guaranteed crowd-pleaser will be Grace Jones, who will light up Henley Festival with her energetic headline set sure to include “I Need A Man” and her version of Piaf’s classic “La Vie En Rose”. Also on the line-up is multi-Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist Nile Rodgers. Saturday night will see Curtis Stigers and The Ronnie Scott’s Big Band present ‘Sinatra At The Sands.’

Henley Festival will close on the Sunday night with one of the UK’s foremost opera companies the English National Opera, performing with soloists, full orchestra and chorus with music from Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Madam Butterfly, Turandot and La Traviata as well as a little Gilbert & Sullivan. You can see why the black tie dress code is required…

The C&TH Festival Guide

The Food

But if it’s festival food that gets you excited, you won’t find a better culinary line-up than this one on the banks of the river Thames. Michelin starred chef Angela Hartnett MBE will be taking the reins of Europe’s biggest field restaurant, the Riverside Restaurant. ‘I am absolutely delighted to be working closely with the Henley Festival for the first time and to serve the food that I love at such a great and iconic event,’ said Hartnett. Other restaurant’s popping up at the festival will include Crooked Billet, The Spice Merchant, and Brasserie @ Jazz Club in the Speigltent, alongside street food from BBQ club, Snob Lobster, Jessecco Prosecco, Pizza Express and Audacious Crispy Squid, and champagne and cocktails from Moët Champagne Bar, Black Cab Coffee & Cocktails, Hotel du Vin and many more.

The Comedy

The Henley festival also boasts a stellar comedy line-up, with the likes of Paul Merton, Lee Nelson, Lucy Porter, Mark Watson and Dominic Holland and more. Up and coming comics includingSuzi Ruffell, Pierre Novellie, Rhys James, Flo & Joan, Alfie Brown and Adam Rowe are worth looking out for, too.

The C&TH Guide to Henley-on-Thames

The Art

Henley Festival’s ongoing support of independent artists and galleries continues for 2018, too. This year, the festival will be showcasing work from the Turner Prize nominated artist and Royal Acamadician David Mach, founder of the Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards, Charlie Waite, award winning sculptures Rosamond Lloyd and will also be collaborating with the contemporary art curator and aboriginal art collector Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi.

A Q&A with Sculptor David Mach

Henley is one of the few music festivals to showcase galleries, photography and artists: To what extent is it a a different process making work for a music festival than a gallery?

Its not much of a different process at all. It’s a temporary space like something in a gallery is a temporary space. I’ve worked in very unusual spaces like factories and a swimming pool.

Can you talk about your new works?

I’m making a lot of collage, tiny collages by beaches and new sculpture with nails and screws, hundreds and screws.

And the works that will be at Henley?

Sculptures, collage, 5 or 6 or seven pieces, very colourful and contemporary. They are by the water, so there’s a connection there.

Will you explain the process of making your coat hanger sculptures?

They are made in a very traditional way. I have to make a clay mould, then a plastic form is cast and the hangers are manipulated around that before it is removed. They take 4 or 5 months to make.

Your sculptures that incorporate Marilyn Monroe, aerobic dolls, 101 dalmations and Bowie are eye-catching. Can you talk about how pop culture influences your work?

I work in a public arena so it’s very difficult to escape. We can’t avoid consumerism and industry.

I’ve never seen coloured pins and foam used in sculpture, how did you find those materials?

I’m always looking for these things. It’s for me to seek out materials. I use materials like coat hangers, so its clear what they are and there is a language that we share about the things.

For more:

What’s on this week in the town? And in the country? Check out our culture diaries before you fill in yours. 


Topics: food / Music /

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