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Henley Festival

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Concerts on the River Thames

The Henley Festival is much more than just a music concert; it is a full blast party meant to be shared, treasured, and revived year after year. The iconic, but unexpected venue for this experience is the River Thames. See leading music bands and artists such as The Beach Boys, Madness, Paloma Faith, and Jamie Cullum perform live on a floating stage. Other highly anticipated shows include a James Bond Gala, which will be presented by Joanna Lumley. Strictly Come Dancing stars, Kristina Rhianoff and Robin Windsor will give a dramatic dance performance to the scores of the James Bond films; there will also be comedy acts, drummers, and exciting firework displays on the riverside lawn.

Henley Festival is from 10th-14th July, with tickets between 80-120. If you are looking for something for the whole family, however, you could book tickets to Saturday's Family Concert, which is only 5 for adults and 3 for children. The one-hour show will be held at The Salon and performed by Henley Festival Orchestra, and will include music from films such as Pirates of the Carribean.

Music is not the only thing on the cards; with four different galleries along the bank, there is no end to The Visual Arts Feast. See futuristic landscapes by Tom Leighton, Ewan David Eason's interplay of opposites, neon sculptures by Nicolas Saint Gregoire, and admire new talent at the Young Masters Art Prize exhibition.

As you wander round, look out for a whole cast of eccentric characters and street performers: The Time Minders give homage to Salvadore Dali in their melting clock costumes (don't rely on them to get to your concert on time), three French horseman will be training for the next Olympics, two ex astronauts want to offer you a weightless experience in their caravan, and Granny Turismo will be driving round in their motorised shopping trolleys. While they're in the trolleys, for you it will be all aboard Delinus 03, the smallest taxi in the world.

While you're taking a break from all the entertainment, replenish your energy with some fine dining. Pop-up restaurants range from light-bite cafes and an informal terrace, to gourmet service from Michel Roux Jr. All reservations should be made at the same time as buying your ticket.
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Why? Fun for music lovers
When: 10th-14th July
Phone: 44 (0)1491 843404
Where: Henley on Thames
Cost: 80-120 festival, 60 picnic, 3-5 family concert
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