We spoke to Charlotte Geeves, Henley's Festival Director, to get the lowdown on what families can look forward to down at the riverside this summer
Henley Festival, 6th-10th July, 2016
This is a new festival to us – please can you tell us a little about it, is there camping?
Henley is a boutique Festival taking place over five days, celebrating the best of UK and international music and arts at a quintessential British location. It’s a place to soak up the atmosphere and be entertained whilst experiencing a vibrant programme from pop to world music, classical to jazz, blues to cutting edge new musicians, where art and gastronomy share equal billing with music - and there’s no camping.
What can Henley Festival offer for children and families?
We’re creating an amazing Family day on Sunday where families and young people can play, dance and create to see breathtaking theatre, dance and music. The Family Sunday will provide an experience where art and music are embedded across our Festival site. On offer will be a broad range of musical, theatrical and visual performances for all age ranges. Sunday will see work created by young people including local community performance groups such as Henley Youth Choir and the Reading Swing Band, plus work for young people with some of the UK’s most exciting companies bringing their new work which has been specifically made for families and young people.
How did you become interested in the theatre, as a child yourself?
I always enjoyed theatre as a child but my real interest came once I started secondary school. I knew from the age of around 14 that I wanted to work in the arts. And I also knew I didn’t want to be an actor.
Why do you think it is important to encourage children into the arts?
I think the arts is incredibly important for children as it gives them an opportunity to be inspired and invigorated, empowering them to explore the world on their own terms through live performance.
What will be the highlights of this year’s Henley festival, for families?
I have two personal favourites who will be performing at the Family Sunday this year, Science Blast: The Greatest Scientists and Kapow from 2 Faced Dance.
What is new for this year?
There are new venues, more music, more comedy, new chefs producing amazing food and new project with young carers in partnership with the children’s society.
Singer Will Young will be appearing on Family Sunday at Henley
We are always hungry – what kind of food will be available?
The food ranges from fine dining menu from two-Michelin star chef Daniel Clifford, dining at Ronnie Scott’s, Paul Clerehugh from the Crooked Billet will be bringing his fantastic gastro pub food to the Festival and the Spice Merchant their northern thali cuisine. They’ll also be a variety of street food on offer including smoking buns, crabbie shack, pizza express with a range of the classic pizzas and dough balls plus milo & hector ice-cream sandwiches and licking pops.
Do you have any tips for families, about what to bring with them to Henley?
If it’s wet, then wear welly boots and a rain coat. If the sun is out, then just bring themselves. They can bring food with them, if they want, but there will be plenty of food suitable for families across the site.
What makes this festival different to any other in the UK?
It’s a black tie boutique affair, on the river, for five nights at the beginning of July.
What are you personally most looking forward to, at this years’ festival?
Reginald D Hunter, Elvis Costello, Ronnie Scott’s and all the Family Sunday!
Find out more about Henley Festival and book tickets online, now