A MUSIC festival headlined by Madness, James Blunt, Myleen Klass, Sister Sledge and Sophie Ellis Bextor has been postponed for a year because of coronavirus.

Henley Festival was due to take place from July 8-12 but has been pushed back to July 2021.

The festival - the poshest event of its kind, with a black tie dress code - takes beside the River Thames, on the site of the town's Royal regatta, using much of the regatta's infrastructure.

The cancellation of the regatta, means the festival marquees and structures will not be available.

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A statement issued today says: "It is with much sadness and regret that the Henley Festival board of trustees and CEO Nick Mattingley have agreed to postpone Henley Festival for a full year, meaning that the festival will return from July 7-11.

Oxford Mail:

Myleen Klass

"Henley Festival has come to this difficult decision having assessed several factors very carefully including: Government advice, in particular travel restrictions and social distancing measures; Henley Royal Regatta’s decision to cancel for the first time since World War Two, meaning the festival site and structures will not be available; and, most importantly, the health and safety of the festival’s guests, artists, contractors and staff.

The festival will return next year with the full 2020 line up.

A spokesman said: "The festival is working hard to move all contributors, artists and talent over to 2021 in order to stage the festival already planned, and much anticipated, in this now turbulent year.

"Already we’ve had an amazing response and outpouring of support.

"Anyone who has already bought tickets for the festival, their tickets will be still be valid for the festival in 2021. Henley Festival will be contacting everyone who has bought tickets with options for next year.

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Mr Mattingley said: “We understand the immense disappointment after all the extraordinary work that has taken place to bring this much loved festival to Henley for its 38th year.

"We look forward to welcoming festival goers and artists back to the festival in 2021 to help us celebrate 39 years of this spectacular festival.”

Oxford Mail:

James Blunt

Winner of Best Headline Performance 2016 at the UK Festival Awards, Henley Festival has played host to many of the world’s most celebrated musicians for over three decades. Previous headliners have included Elton John, Shirley Bassey, The Beach Boys, The Jacksons, Tom Jones, Lionel Richie, Pet Shop Boys, Burt Bacharach, Jamie Cullum, Boy George, Jessie J, All Saints and Chaka Khan.

The festival’s comedy line up has previously included performances from Al Murray, Reginald D Hunter, Tim Minchin, Angus Deayton, Nina Conti, and Russell Kane. Michelin starred chefs cooking at the event include Albert Roux, Michel Roux Junior, Daniel Clifford, and Angela Hartnett OBE, while artists from Damian Hirst to Salvador Dali have had work exhibited at the festival. Established as a classical music charity event, the event is run on a not for profit basis supporting charitable projects many in Oxfordshire.