The swankiest festival of the calendar will return to Henley this summer, and the line-up is set to be one of the most eclectic yet.

The black-tie Henley Festival, which takes place on the banks of the River Thames, will take place from July 11 to 15 and will feature the festival's best-loved staples as well as a few surprises.

Opening the festival on Wednesday, July 11 will be 'Anywhere' singer Rita Ora who will be headlining the festival's iconic Floating Stage.

A new feature for this year's event will be a BBC Introducing set, with performances throughout the five-night festival from some of the region's best up-and-coming talent.

Music and fashion icon Grace Jones will headline the festival on Thursday, while Chic featuring Nile Rodgers will keep the party going on Friday night.

Saturday will see a change in tone of headline act as Ronnie Scott's Orchestra performs the hits of Frank Sinatra, and the English National Opera wrap up the festivities on Sunday night before a spectacular fireworks display.

Sunday is traditionally family day at Henley Festival, and this year will see a performance from CBeebies star Mr Bloom (aka Ben Faulks) who will no doubt keep the children (and the mums!) entertained.

Comedy also plays a huge part in the festival, with performances by Paul Merton, Mark Watson, Lee Nelson and Lucy Porter sure to keep everyone laughing throughout the evening.

Henley Festival is famed for its art and 2018 will be no exception. With installations to rival London's Lumiere Festival, the organisers are hoping guests will take plenty of photos and selfies with many of the pieces.

At the launch event on Monday, Creative Director Stewart Collins said: "As a festival, we really do listen to our guests' feedback. Last year they told us there wasn't enough classical performances, so we hope they will be pleased with this year's line-up.

"We have the right to make changes, as well as the right to make mistakes, and we have learned from those mistakes. One of the problems we faced last year was with the fireworks, so we have moved them back to the other side of the river so our guests can enjoy them in all their glory."

This year, Henley Festival will be partnering with two local charities, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, which aims to increase the awareness of mental health and depression, especially in young people, and The Teenage Wilderness trust, which helps youngsters who struggle to engage with mainstream education.

Mark Bailey from the Teenage Wilderness Trust said: "It is so fantastic that Henley Festival has chosen such gritty charities to support this year. We are both relatively small charities so their support is just invaluable to us.

"The line-up looks fantastic, there really is something for everyone there and it looks like it is going to be a great event yet again."

Sir Mark Waller, Chairman of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust said: "I have been a long-time supporter of the Henley Festival, so to be recognised by them this year is very much appreciated.

"The Government has pushed mental health awareness up its list of priorities recently, but our aim is to ensure that it stays there and that people are not afraid to talk about mental health."

The festival's director, Charlotte Greeve added: "We are so excited to announce this year's line-up, a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get these names on-board and we cannot wait to see them perform.

"Some of these acts take years to book, and some of the performances will be exclusive to us, such as the English National Opera. Seeing them perform in our riverside setting will be truly magical, and hopefully we will be introducing a brand new audience to the genre too."

Tickets for Henley Festival go on sale on February 5. For more information visit