Last weekend we headed over to the very lovely Henley-on-Thames with a hop, skip and an enthusiastic jump. Dressed in our finest and ready to experience some first class live music beside the Thames. We weren't disappointed, an excellent evening at The Henley Festival did we have indeed!
The festival, which began back in 1983, is a five day feast of music, art and culture nestled neatly away on the beautiful banks of the Henley riverside. The floating stage plays host to a variety of acts and wonderful music throughout the week. We had the pleasure of watching the magnificent Philharmonia Orchestra play their way through the delights and magic of the Gershwin songbook. Accompanied by the soothing and soulful tones of the very brilliant Gregory Porter and Laura Mvula and with a surprising special guest, Shona McGarty who plays Whitney in Eastenders but who also has the most stunning of singing voices.
Dressed in our finest gear, this is a black tie event so out came the best suit and best dress, and armed with a glass of bubbles we spent the few hours before the live music soaking up the atmosphere, exploring the beautiful sculptures and watching the variety of performance artists do their thing.
There are a number of bars and places to stop and buy yourself a tipple or two. As well as a choice of fine dining restaurants, including Roux at the Riverside and Atul Kocchar at No. 14, for which you can make a reservation and enjoy a truly exquisite meal. We decided not to pre-book and made our way over to the fabulous Crooked Billet pop up to sample some of their delicious offerings. Here we happily shared and tucked into a salt beef sandwich on rye and some seared sea bass in a caraway roll - amazing! Just what we needed to keep us going for the rest of the evenings activities.
Once the fun of the live performance on the floating stage had ended there was still much to get involved in and enjoy. This year saw a dazzling firework display take place every night, plus once the dark set in the real shenanigans began when it came to dancing the night away with the rest of the evenings revellers! The Bedouin tent provided live music late into the night and a great place to grab a cocktail and shake our stuff on the dance floor.
We really had a fantastic time at this lively festival. Leaving behind the wellies and cider that had accompanied us to Glastonbury just a few weeks prior, this black tie and bubbles affair is certainly a lovely experience, a festival of a different kind and a place that we hope to visit again next year if we get the chance. I hope you enjoyed a little peek at the evenings activities and that it may tickle your fancy for a visit of your own in 2016!