LATITUDE: Festival-goers emerge after first night at Latitude

PUBLISHED: 13:53 13 July 2012 | UPDATED: 14:06 13 July 2012

Picture by Rob Fisher/Stella Pictures. 
Festival guests wade through the muddy conditions at Latitude, a music and arts festival in Suffolk.

Picture by Rob Fisher/Stella Pictures. 13/07/12 Festival guests wade through the muddy conditions at Latitude, a music and arts festival in Suffolk.

© Stella Pictures +44 7813 022858

Preparing for Latitude Festival can feel like a military operation.

But it is not until you wake bleary-eyed after the first night that you take stock on how prepared you are.

Take me. I have never been one to lug a big bag on holiday.

So, I took the sparse approach. A small back pack stuffed tight with the bare essentials: jumpers, waterproof jacket, toothbrush, sleeping bag, obligatory wellies, and deodorant for the odd refreshing squirt.

But as I peeled back the door to our pokey tent this morning (Friday July 13), I realised festival camping had evolved.

During the night, the small patch of grass in front our pitch had been transformed into a tent fortress.

In a bid to fight off the rain, the campers had erected two awnings over the top of their six-man tent and were cosying around a stove as they enjoyed a sophisticated dining experience of cooked breakfasts in the dry.

I did not have to search out the packet of biscuits in the bottom of my bag to get a bad case of camper’s envy.

But as I went in search of something to eat with a little more sustenance, I realised there was no one way of experiencing the Latitude Festival.

I spotted people traipsing along mud-churned paths in flip-flops, shorts and little else – shirking off the odd spit of rain.

Then there were the ultra-clean campers who appeared well-polished and glamorous as they joined long-snaking queue for the shower blocks. I wondered if any of them had paid a visit to the on-site barbers for a quick trim before tonight’s main stage performances.

However, I did feel a pang of sympathy for the odd person braving Latitude without a pair of Wellington boots.

You can spot them from a distance. Sliding about in converse trainers without grip, or looking down at the bottom of their sodden jeans with a grimace passed off as a smile.

But as I queued for the holy grail of festival breakfasts – a greasy fry up- my greatest respect was for the festival families who embraced the morning with vigour.

Youngsters, no older than four or five, could be seen sitting on their parent’s shoulders, while others were being dragged behind their mums and dads in luggage trolleys, which had been used to cart tents around the day before.

Latitude’s family-friendly ethos was on show. And everyone was enjoying the festival experience, despite the rain.

- To stay up to date with all the latest from Latitude, follow our live blog using the link at the top-right of this page or by going to

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