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Festivals are all about wallowing in mud and not showering for days.

But, if the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the run-up to the Olympics have got you in the mood for all things proper and British, there’s a wealth of posh events happening in the capital this summer. 

Celebrating its 30th year, the Henley Festival in July promises to be a glamorous affair. It’s been billed by Vogue as one of the most unmissable events of the summer season, so ditch the wellies and style yourself with British lawn chic in mind. Don a cocktail dress or smart suit for this strictly black-tie, five-night party, which will be taking place on the affluent banks of the River Thames, set in the quintessentially English countryside. 

Instead of soggy burger and chips from a van, guests can enjoy dinner by candlelight at Albert and Michel Roux’s riverside restaurant, or at one of the numerous pop-up bistros.

And don’t expect thrash metal or pumping tunes – remember, this is a sophisticated affair. Instead, more than 20 acts will be performing jazz, opera, pop, theatre and literature. Sting will be opening the festival on July 4; Katherine Jenkins will be belting out opera on July 5; and Aussie funnyman Tim Minchin will be taking to the stage on July 6. Over the weekend, there will be an Eighties party vibe from Lulu on Saturday, and loveable rogue Olly Murs headlines the closing night.

On display will also be work by Adelaide-based visual artist Emma Hack, who created the stunning body art for the music video of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know.

Hack, 39, says: “Guests can expect to see a visual delight of illusionist art. It’s unique, original artwork that looks amazing lifesized. I’ll also be available to chat to guests about my work.”

Hack usually spends between eight and 15 hours painting her models into their background. Speaking of working on Gotye’s video, she adds: “It was exhausting, but completely satisfying – it took 23 hours to create and was the most difficult creation I have ever worked on!”

Another lavish affair taking place this summer is the Royal Hampton Court Festival. For a feast fit for a king, dine on celebrity chef-inspired delights in the tranquil setting of a royal garden. Jamie Oliver is preparing picnics for the event, which is celebrating its 20th year, and boasts headliners such as Katie Melua, Liza Minnelli, Van Morrison and Jools Holland, as well as an impressive fireworks display. 

The concerts are set in the grand open air Base Court of the historic building – so don’t forget your umbrella (chances are it will rain), although emergency ponchos are available to buy cheaply.

Melua, who has sold more than 11 million albums worldwide, says: “Although the concert is outdoors, performing in the courtyard does feel very intimate. 

“In many ways you get the best of both worlds and you can really connect with the audience even though you are singing under the stars.”

Henley Festival. July 4-8. £35. 
Henley, RG9
1AH  
Station | Henley-on-Thames 
henley-festival.co.uk

Hampton Court. 14-24 June. £37.50+
East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU   
Station | Hampton Court 
hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com

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Posh festivals: Henley Festival's 30th birthday - this summer's most unmissable event
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