Phyllis Court

Henley Royal Regatta 2019

22 July 2019

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On the 180th year of Henley Royal Regatta the sun shone as athletes from schools, clubs, universities and national teams took to the river competing in 300 races for 23 coveted trophies.

Over the five days, our prime location on the finish line afforded Members and guests spectacular views of this world-renowned event. In addition to watching the racing there was an array of dining options and bars as well as fun day-time roaming and evening events at Phyllis Court to enjoy.

This year the Waterfront Pimm’s and Champagne Bar was unveiled for the first time. Its upper deck served as an exclusive viewing platform for Desborough Marquee guests, while downstairs it provided another location from which guests could purchase summer drinks, which of course included Pimm’s and Champagne, as well as bottled beer and wine. On the lawn, after the successful introduction of evening entertainment on two days in 2018, this year guests were treated to four nights of outdoor entertainment, each of which was accompanied by a hog roast and  a themed supper. These events again proved to be the perfect antidote to an exciting day of rowing and an abundant selection of delicious food and drink.

On Wednesday, as the Chef served up Caribbean BBQ jerk chicken on the Terrace, steel band ‘Phase 5’ returned to the lawn. Dressed in their bright Caribbean shirts they performed a varied repertoire, from ballads to reggae and soul to calypso, which enhanced the merry atmosphere after the first day of racing on the river. A stilt walker circulated, as the crowd donned complimentary flower garlands entering the spirit of the occasion.

A trio of talented classical guitarists called Andalus took to the lawn on Thursday playing a mixture of Latin and flamenco music. They were joined by three flamenco dancers whose expressive movements and claps captivated the audience. Flavoursome chicken and shellfish paella was served on the Terrace completing the fiesta!

It was a DJ and magician who entertained on Friday. Summer party music rang out across the lawn accompanied by laughter and astonished gasps as Johnny Oxford delighted guests with a range of magic tricks and effects. The themed supper was classic fish and chips. As the light began to fade, the Desborough Marquee was transformed into the perfect summer party venue with mood lighting for the launch of the Desborough After Party. This event, which was premiered in 2019, sold out in a matter of days! Those lucky enough to have acquired a ticket, either by spending the day in the Marquee or buying one of the 100 extra tickets available, were treated to a fabulous party with our DJ playing summer party classics and few requests too!

On Saturday ’The Rio Trio’ performed relaxed, witty and romantic jazz on the lawn with tunes from the 1920s and 30s. Meanwhile in the Ballroom, the grand finale of our evening events was a glamorous black-tie affair with a three-course gala dinner. The ’Stars of British Jazz‘ took to the stage and treated guests to a buoyant and chirpy performance.

With face painting, a bubbleman  and a magician, over 200 youngsters joined us on Sunday for a fantastic family day. The final races took place on the river and brought the total number of records broken this year to 10!

There were infamous trophies for the taking including The King’s Cup. This year, in commemoration of the centenary of the 1919 Royal Henley Peace Regatta, male and female military athletes (from Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the UK, USA, Germany and the Netherlands) rowed against each other for the trophy after a 100-year hiatus. The cup, which was made with pieces of historic metal from each of the countries taking part, was won by the United States Armed Forces. As the day drew to a close all the hard-earned trophies were awarded in the ceremony to victorious rowers, who may treasure them for a year before the contest begins in earnest again in 2020.

2019 marked not only the 180th year of Henley Royal Regatta but it could also be the last five-day event. It has now been confirmed that Henley Royal Regatta will start on Tuesday in 2020 and be a six-day event.

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