The Wokingham Paper

Drive-in party to replace Henley Festival for July 2020

THE UK’S first socially distanced party will be coming to Henley this July.

In place of the traditional Henley Festival, the event organisers have teamed up with Henley Royal Regatta to throw a Car Park Party. 

The event will run for three nights, from Thursday, July 9 until Saturday, July 11, with car park comedy, karaoke and cinema. 

Thursday night will see Car Park Comedy, run by The Comedy Store and will include live stand-up shows from notable comedians often seen on television shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats, Mock The Week, and Have I Got News For You. The comedians will be on stage one at a time, all social distancing measures will be in line with the current government advice.

Friday night will be an American drive-in movie experience, with two films: Mamma Mia and The Greatest Showman being screened. 

And Saturday night will offer Car Park Karaoke, performed live by The Massaoke Band. The band will be on stage with giant screens behind them projecting lyrics, so that families can sing along from their car. Organisers said the stage will be large enough for the band members to remain socially distanced at all times.

Nick Mattingley, CEO of the Henley Festival, said: “We are thrilled to host the first Car Park Party at our normal festival location, generously supported by Henley Royal Regatta. 

“We are working closely with industry professionals and our local authority to make sure that Car Park Party is in-line with the latest social distancing measures, giving the highest level of reassurance to attendees so that they are able to sit back, relax, laugh and sing their hearts out.

“In a year when Henley Festival Trust has no income from the festival we’ve had to fall back on innovative ideas to fill the gap, Car Park Party absolutely fits the bill, and all from the safety of your own car.”

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, and cost £35 per car. For more information, or to buy tickets, visit:

Measures put in place to ensure social distancing is maintained:

  • Pre-booked tickets mean that attendees can be contacted before, during and after the event
  • A traffic management team will be on-site and all vehicles will be parked two metres apart, and number-plates will be checked on entry
  • Tickets will be scanned through the windows, without human contact
  • Food and drink offerings will be available. Organisers state that vendors will be adhering to all the Covid-19 government guidelines
  • Toilet facilities will be provided with social distancing health and safety management and sanitation measures in place

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