Henley Festival 2009 to include Katherine Jenkins, John Barrowman, Jo Brand and many more

Posted: 3rd July 2009

With the Regatta now well underway, The Henley Festival, which follows hard on its heels, is gearing up for a terrific 5 days of music, art, comedy, street theatre and spectacle.

Featuring Katherine Jenkins, John Barrowman, Arthur Smith, Jo Brand, The Bootleg Beatles, Three Mo' Tenors and many more, the Henley Festival runs from 8th - 12th July. Last minute preparations are in full swing, even before the handover of the site and the rebuilding of stage, tentage and sound systems can begin. On order for chefs Albert and Michel Roux is a feast of fine ingredients, including, we're told, 4,000 bottles of champagne, 10,000 bread rolls and 2,000 portions of smoked salmon. The Riverside Restaurant, where the majority of these will be served, is probably the biggest a la carte restaurant in Europe, with up to 1,000 covers per night.

That, of course, is just for the guests. We talked to Suzanne Yeates, Event Manager for the Festival. She said, "Throughout the week we also serve some 1,000 meals to artists and crew. And we have to service all kinds of requests made through performers' 'riders' (the extras specified by artists in their contracts). Over the years we have found ourselves supplying 70 new towels to one band of 5 musicians, while another performer asked for clean towels that are not new. We source special kinds of honey (for singers' voices), pens and postcards of Henley with the stamps already on them - almost anything that's asked for."

No two riders are ever the same. Says Suzanne again, "The Henley Festival is one of the most complicated ever events to organise. This is because the performers are so varied and therefore so is the audience. People come to the Festival from all walks of life and to see a myriad of different acts. That's what makes it so exciting and keeps us on our toes!"

With the monthly forecast looking good, brilliant last minute news that comedian Jo Brand is joining the line up, and the thrilling prospect of rarely-seen sculptures by the great surrealist, Salvador Dali adorning the riverbank, while more of his work's in the Towpath Marquee (sponsored by Hotel du Vin), this certainly looks like a Festival to treat yourself to.

Henley Festival 2009 runs from 8th-12th July. For tickets and programme information, visit www.henley-festival.co.uk or contact the box office on 01491 843404.

Generous sponsors of this year's Festival include: Invesco Perpetual, Westcoast, Laurent-Perrier champagne, Lavazza, Hotel du Vin, Southern Electric.

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