Rewind Festival sells '80s pop from English countryside to Asia

Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:23am EDT
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By Jeremy Gaunt

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, England (Reuters) - The bucolic English riverside town of Henley-on-Thames is about to fill up with thousands of people in strange clothes: but not, this time, the boater and blazer brigade that bedecks its world-famous rowing regatta.

These tourists are Cyndi Lauper and Rick Astley wannabes - fans of 1980s pop music heading for the fifth annual Rewind Festival, an event fast becoming an international brand.

On display this weekend will be the likes of The B52s, The Pointer Sisters, Kim Wilde, Belinda Carlisle and Nik Kershaw, all stalwarts of the 1980s pop scene.

It is expected to come close to its full capacity of 40,000 weekend or single day tickets. Many will be wearing wild hair-dos, '80 sunglasses and maybe the odd fluorescent tutu.

"It's real bubble-gum stuff. If you like that era of music you are going to love it. It does what it says on the tin," said Paul Cadle, a fan who attended last year's festival with a group of friends.

Rewind, however, is not just a musical get-together on the banks of a river in the middle of "Wind in the Willows" country. It is turning into a global business.

Since setting up in Henley five years ago, Rewind Festivals have been spreading. A second edition was set up at Scone Palace, near Perth in Scotland, and there are now three in South Africa, one in Bangkok and another in Dubai.

Coming up, according to David Heartfield, chief executive officer of organizers Impresario Festivals, is a Rewind in Kuala Lumpur.   Continued...

A rower is seen training on the River Thames at Henley-on-Thames, west of London in this April 27, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files