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Living my ‘Fest’ life!

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Before this week, I would never have put myself down as a ‘festival’ kind of girl.

Blame it on all those preconceptions of mud and mosh pits, the prospect of which had always sufficed, to keep my inner reveller at bay!

Nowadays, I look back on all these lost festival-going opportunities, with a vague sense of what can only be described as…regret.

After all, if any of the ones that I happened to pass up by default, were anything like Thursday evening's experience at The Henley Festival… then clearly, I've been missing out! 

Missing out on…

That spine-tingle of live music, that festival goers always talk about, but which never really made much sense…until now!

The joy of juxtaposing loaded fries with champagne and calling it ‘dinner’ 

The stop-you-in-your-tracks spectacle that is a summer sunset, foregrounded in power ballads and pyrotechnics! 

And that's just for starters...

These main sensory selling points aside, I have a feeling there is something much more visceral driving this event's notoriously sell-out reputation.

Perhaps it's the bygone era’ ness of it all? The stilt-walkers. The circus performers. The crowd-drawing 'have a go' pop-ups that seem to resonate with our almost universal need for play...and friendly competition.

Equally, it could be all that creative fodder, not just in the form of music, but also art and sculpture (this year's gallery features Morag Caister of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year fame, no less!) 

For me, it's most likely all of the above, coupled with the almost-magic that happens when sound and lighting wave their wonderous wand over the boyband beats of your youth!

Lastly, there is that all-important, yet significantly less-cerebral, incentive of... people watching!

Hands down, there is no better medium for this guilty pleasure, than fan-girling one's fellow concert goers as a conveyor of #dresspiration unfolds in real time. 

Granted, Henley is - by all accounts - a relatively soft introduction into festival culture.

The caviar of outdoor concerts - its riverside, black-tie formula sets it apart from the music gig masses…much to the delight of reluctant welly-wearers like myself!

Bottom line - I’m officially now a festival convert.

Maybe not to the tent-pitching, wet-wipe showering extremes that some festi's demand, but in the context of a glamorous, Thameside 90s pop fest like Henley…you can count me in!

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