FESTIVAL ORGANISER Broadwick Live is launching a new 15,000-capacity classical music festival at Henley, in partnership with Classic FM, on the back of a “surge” of new younger listeners to the station.
By The River will be staged on the banks of the River Thames, headlined by Alfie Boe, Sir Karl Jenkins, classical guitarist Milos and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Tickets cost £55.
With both the festival business and the radio station owned by media group Global, the new event will benefit from cross promotions and economies of scale, including a site and infrastructure share with fellow Broadwick event Rewind (40,000), the following weekend.
“Classic FM always had a hankering to do an outdoor event,” says Neil Wyatt, festivals director at Broadwick Live.
“We came up with a proposal to create a commercial event which we felt would really raise the bar on outdoor classical concerts. There are some brilliant events out there from pure classical to crossover shows. But we can take our experience from [fellow Broadwick event, 12,000-capacity] Festival No. 6 and add a layer of experience for the audience. We want the atmosphere to be an indulgent, lovely day in high summer with world class performances on stage. In future the event could grow to two days or a larger capacity.”
Classic FM reported Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) figures last year showing that its listeners had risen to 5.8 million, 1.2 million of whom are aged under 35.
“Classical music is a growing market as the growth of classical dance music by the likes of Pete Tong with The Heritage Orchestra or Hacienda Classical shows,” says Broadwick Live CEO Gareth Cooper. “Classic FM has demonstrated that the audience is growing and listeners are getting younger.”