Latitude: ‘We have the sunshine, the bands, the theatre’, Latitude organiser sums up the first day

PUBLISHED: 21:27 18 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:50 19 July 2014

A yoga class takes place during the Latitude Festival at Henham Park. Ben Kendall/PA Wire

A yoga class takes place during the Latitude Festival at Henham Park. Ben Kendall/PA Wire

The crowds came, the heat came and so did the music.

Latitude 2014 has leapt into action with some of the biggest names in pop playing to a packed Henham Park.

Lily Allen stepped in to headline after Two Door Cinema Club pulled out through illness.

The outspoken singer performed her hits to a jumping Obelisk Arena after the first full day on Friday. She even made a surprise appearance to play at The Waterfront Stage earlier in the day.

Melvin Benn, festival organiser, said it was “absolutely phenomenal” that Allen had managed to come and play.

“Lily is playing on the Sunday somewhere but she was not playing on the Friday night,” he said.

“It’s a phenomenal gesture, to say ‘I love Latitude’ and I want to be here. She’s not been here before but her dad has been a lot and he talks about it, so she wanted to do it - it’s absolutely phenomenal.”

Across the more that a dozen stages, artists from all backgrounds amused, intrigued and pleased the festival-goers.

Although Friday was not a sell-out Mr Benn confirmed the weekend passes had reached capacity.

“Latitude has sold-out for the weekend, there’s probably a small amount of tickets today (Friday) but it’s sold-out for the weekend,” he said.

“I am very happy for that; for some reason Latitude sells the same number of tickets every single year - it’s not always to the same people but it’s the same amount - it’s a hugely popular show, it’s very pleasing.

“We have got the sunshine, the bands, the theatre - everyone is here; we have got Lily too which is terrific.”

The secret ingredient to Latitude is often highlighted as the breadth of shows available.

From mega comedians like Dara O’ Briain to poets you may never have heard of; Latitude organisers aim to please from toddler to senior citizen. There was even a piano, donated by Mr Benn, available for anyone to play in the park.

Yesterday’s “secret” act were the chart-topping group Rudimental who made the Latitude crowd jump up and down for a very long time.

Mr Benn added: “It was hard to keep it a secret, they could not wait to tell people. They played last year to a massive audience, it was phenomenal.”

Looking forward to tonight’s headliner, Damon Albarn, Mr Benn’s face lit-up with news of a request for an extended set.

The Blur frontman’s performance will be 15minutes longer to incorporate more of his first solo debut album.

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