Henley Festival
Henley Festival

RISE at Henley Festival 2022

It takes opportunity for talent to succeed and Henley Festival is thrilled to have launched RISE,  a charitable programme to support and encourage young, emerging talent both in front and behind the spotlight.

As well as staging a world renowned music and arts event, as a charity, Henley Festival’s principal aim is to engage with and foster emerging talent.

RISE embodies these principles at a time when, post pandemic, breaking into the creative arts industry, back-stage and in front of the spotlight, is even harder than ever. The programme offers young, talented, comedians, musicians, and visual artists the opportunity to shine and to gain immersive work experience in festival production, performance, and management, and get help, advice, contacts, and support. Working with local colleges and universities, RISE will provide opportunities for budding lighting designers, sound engineers and stage managers to work alongside our high-profile backstage production companies.

The programme has been welcomed by RG Jones who are responsible for the audio-visual production at the festival. “We know the challenges that this industry presents for young people trying to find a way in, and the pandemic has amplified this. We support RISE as a way of addressing some of the problems faced. It is also great for us to have talented, enthusiastic, young people to work with.” Sheridan Burns who worked with RG Jones as part of RISE this year describes her time at Henley as a ‘great experience’ where she ‘learnt masses to help further [her] career in the festival environment.’ She noted ‘although the hours were long and tiring in the heat, the experience I gained was so worth it. My highlight was being able to watch the floating stage artists and interact with brand new, top of the range equipment.’

The programme is also committed to finding talent in the local community. Lizzie Wheeler, an award winning local, young printmaker, from Oxford was selected as RISE’s Visual artist and exhibited in the Festival Gallery. Lizzie said, ‘I am so grateful to Henley Festival for giving me this opportunity, it’s been such a good experience and the exposure I’m know will do all sorts of good for my career.’ Being her first high-profile exhibition, she says she had to learn quickly ‘how to organise and hang a solo show, present and talk about my work, but having face to face feedback was invaluable.’ Lizzie describes her experience being RISE’s Visual Artist as ‘an amazing springboard for young artists wanting to get their name out there. It’s been a massive boost to my confidence in selling and taught me so much too.’

Alongside the back-stage crew and visual artists, BBC Introducing in Berkshire teamed up with our RISE platform to give five local unsigned, independent artists a platform early evening in the Bedouin Lounge. Flo Blue who took to the stage on Thursday evening with her saxophone stated ‘being part of Henley Festival’s RISE and BBC Music Introducing Berkshire has not only given me the platform to showcase my music but also the experience of playing at new venues. I have gained new listeners and already been asked to perform at other events off the back of Henley, for that I am forever grateful for the opportunity.’  Henjila who performed on Saturday evening, said ‘it was a wonderful experience to perform at such a unique festival. I made a lot of connections that day with other artists, staff and made new genuine listeners. Thank you for the opportunity!’ She had to learn how to ‘match chemistry with a sit-down audience at the Bedouin lounge’ when she previously was used to supporting various artists at livelier venues. ‘We would urge all upcoming artists to reach out to Henley Festival to get the exposure, experience and opportunity to play at such a beautiful event under their RISE programme’ – Miya Miya. 

Marketing was another area Henley Festival’s RISE extended to, having Eleanor Crook join the team for the five-day festival week. She thanked Henley Festival for ‘giving her hands-on, real-time experience’ extending her knowledge in ‘creating Tik Tok’s and running the live socials throughout Festival week.’ Eleanor also assisted with the Press Team ensuring the arrival of all attending press and photographers went smoothly and helping usher photographers to the pit during the beginning of the floating stage performance. She describes this part as a highlight of her time working with the marketing department; ‘being so close to such huge names was an honour and an experience I will never forget.’

Ultimately, CEO Jo Bausor envisages RISE artists and crew in every area of the festival: “There are talented young people looking to break into other areas of the industry that we can help with, press office, catering, the professional experience available at the festival is widespread. We want RISE to give access to all areas.”

As we move into planning for the  2023 festival, we are set to expand RISE and provide more opportunities for emerging talent to join the team and gain vital experience helping them progress their careers in the performing arts world. Look out for our RISE stars in our 2023 line-up and listen out for more RISE updates coming very soon.

Watch our RISE film from 2022 here



There’s so much to experience at the Festival it’s worth being ready to go when the gates open at 5pm.


You can never be overdressed at Henley!



Head to the Moet Champagne lawn for a glass of fizz and an amazing view of the river.


All our non-bookable restaurants are open throughout the evening and are less busy during the floating stage concert.



The Festival has a black tie dress code.


The car park opens at 4pm, Festival gates open at 5pm.


Wristbands will be given out at the Festival gates upon presentation of a valid ticket.