HENLEY Festival is returning in 2021 after a difficult year that saw the huge attraction go virtual.

The physical festival is a huge draw for music fans every year, but the Covid-19 outbreak meant it could not be held in the usual way in 2020.

Despite the setback, the glamorous festival, on the banks of the River Thames, will be returning with its full black-tie splendour from Wednesday, September 15, to Sunday, September 19.

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The return of a physical event will once again see party-goers arriving by boat as they step onto the green lawns of the festival which will be transformed into a Great Gatsby vision, as black-tie clad revellers spill across the festival site, Champagne in hand, while fireworks explode overhead.

This year’s line-up includes British pop band Madness, multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter James Blunt, singer-songwriter sensation Sophie Ellis-Bextor, legendary Special Guest Kathy Sledge from Sister Sledge and Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox with her Just Can’t Get Enough 80s set.

As well as a superb Jazz line-up with performances from Moscow Drug Club to Natty Congeroo & The Flames of Rhythm amongst others, Henley Festival’s stellar comedy line-up includes the legendary Al Murray, Iranian comedian Shappi Khorsandi, Edinburgh Comedy Award – Newcomer of the Year winner Olga Koch, Matt Forde, Anuvab Pal and many others.

Runner-up on series 12 of Britain’s Got Talent Robert White and the first stand-up comedian in Britain to use a communication aid in his routines, Lost Voice Guy, will also be keeping audiences thoroughly entertained, alongside a whole host of up-and-coming comics.

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Madness will open the festival on Wednesday night, while James Blunt will headline the floating stage on Thursday night.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor will headline on Friday, followed by Sara Cox.

Lovers of Disco are in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat on Saturday night, as a collection of the world’s most iconic dancefloor hits are reimagined, reinvented and brought to the floating stage by a full 36 piece orchestra, live band, singers and dancers for an amazing performance of Disco Classical, along with legendary Special Guest, Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge.

On Sunday, September 19, the unforgettable new Don’t Stop Me Now presents a magical evening of Queen, Abba and the Bee Gees in a rock and symphonic spectacular celebrating their greatest hits including Bohemian Rhapsody, Staying Alive, Mama Mia and many more.

Featuring a quartet of rock vocalists – all stars of recent West End hits – full rock band and the outstanding 52-piece English National Orchestra, the full symphonic arrangements are blended with a great rock band and top international singers performing all your favourite numbers.

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As well as Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi and Rory Bremner, Milton Jones will be bringing his hilariously clever one-liners to Henley’s comedy line up, involving puns delivered in a uniquely deadpan and purposely neurotic style.

As well as live jazz in the Spiegel tent and world and folk music in the Bedouin tent, artwork by the UK’s most talented artists, photographers and galleries will be on show.

Foodie fans can rejoice as Michelin starred chef Angela Hartnett MBE will be returning to Henley Festival 2021 to run Europe’s biggest field restaurant, creating a bespoke menu exclusively for Henley, at the Riverside Restaurant.

Restaurant’s popping up at the festival will include Garden Bistro by Jimmy Garcia, Green Box, Oink, BBQ Club, Hotel Chocolat, Jessecco Prosecco, Black Cab Coffee Company and many more.

Sunday sees the festival transformed into an enchanting playground for families and children of all ages, with a whole host of dazzling activities, performances and concerts.

Headlining the stage on Family Sunday is award-winning children’s presenter and double MOBO winning saxophonist YolanDa Brown who will present the spellbinding Henley Symphony Orchestra. From glitter face painting, eccentric comedy and theatre shows to interactive performance art, Family Sunday is a whole day dedicated to nurturing adventurous, curious and creative little minds.

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Globe-trotting theatre troupe Creature Feature will roam the grounds as hugely lifelike and interactive gorillas for the day, for kids who love music there will be jazz and funk fuelled storytelling taking them on a magical adventure under the sea from Groove Baby whose latest show ran at London’s Southbank Centre, and for kids that love to have a giggle, hilariously silly comedy-duo Mad Etiquette will be performing one of their critically acclaimed skits.

Henley Festival is topped off each night by a jaw dropping overhead firework display. The sparkle that we all need, 2021’s fireworks display will be designed by Titanium Fireworks, the team who have put on some of the UK’s biggest firework shows in the last decade including the 2012 London Olympics, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the London New Year’s Eve Fireworks display and Hogmany in Edinburgh, as well as pyrotechnics for some of the biggest names in music including Adele, Will Smith, Coldplay and Take That. Henley Festival is currently the only music Festival which Titanium work with.

See henley-festival.co.uk.