Latitude supremo Melvin Benn has revealed exciting plans for the 10th birthday of the festival next year.

Latitude Festival 2014 from the air. Photo: Mike Page Latitude Festival 2014 from the air. Photo: Mike Page

Monday, July 21, 2014
9:35 AM

Latitude supremo Melvin Benn has revealed exciting plans for the 10th birthday of the festival next year.

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Reflecting on a “heavenly” festival this weekend – with gorgeous sunshine punctuated by a Saturday night lightning storm – he said Lily Allen “smashed it” and was delighted that Damon Albarn was joined by Graham Coxon for a mini Blur reunion.

And he said that he is minded to break with tradition next year by inviting a previous Latitude headliner back for the first time ever.

“There’s one particular headliner that I’ve got on my mind that for me would say a lot about the festival,” he said. “I’ve been clear in the past that we don’t want the same headliners twice, but I’ve got a couple of people I want to come back.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for the last three to six months.

“I’m almost certainly going to add another stage next year, and another area.

“I’ll make the festival footprint bigger, even if I don’t make the capacity bigger.”

He said the new stage would be small and “tucked away”, adding: “I know exactly what it will be called, but I can’t tell you.”

This year’s festival was headlined by Lily Allen, who stood in for Two Door Cinema Club who were forced to cancel due to illness, Damon Albarn and The Black Keys.

“It feels like the best atmosphere that we’ve ever had,” said Mr Benn. “We’ve always had a fantastic atmosphere, but maybe it’s the weather this weekend.

“I feel we had a great balance this year.”

While a storm hit in the early hours of Saturday he said it had no impact beyond dampening down the dust, and lightning towards the end of Damon Albarn’s Saturday set only added to the atmosphere.

Brit pop legends James had to postpone their Saturday set until Sunday due to flight problems, but Mr Benn said they were so eager to play that they delayed their flights to LA on Sunday to play the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage at midday.

He revealed that he spoke to Lily Allen after her headline performance on Friday, and she told him she thought it was her best performance ever.

“Lily Allen was just amazing,” he said. “She absolutely smashed it.

“She was just buzzing afterwards. It was a joy.

“When she played the Waterfront Stage [for a surprise mid-afternoon performance] I just thought ‘this is going to work’.

“It was terrific.”

Asked about his favourite performances of the weekend, he said: “Agnes Obel was mesmerising.

“I had hoped it would be good, but nothing prepared me for how good it was.”

He said the yoga, a new addition to the festival this year, was “mobbed” with a queue of more than 100 people and the piano garden was also a success.

And while he said he has had nothing but positive feedback about the unashamedly middle class spectacle, he smiled: “We do have an incredibly polite audience.”

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