Muddy conditions fail to deter Latitude Festival crowds

Festival-goers have continued to turn out in their thousands to a major Suffolk festival this evening, despite the heavy rain from earlier today.

Organisers Festival Republic announced yesterday that Latitude Festival, based in Henham Park, between Beccles and Southwold, had sold out for the fifth year running.

Tonight will be the first time festival-goers will get the chance to marvel at the variety of art, sculpture, insulations and illuminations that decorates the 'Faraway Forest' area of the site, which is also home to Saturday night's Winter Ball.

The visual display features current students and graduates work from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, who together form the Winter's Ball Collective.

Florence Mein and Kate Auster present their work 'Paper Sculptures', Eve Gardiner and Yohanna Alem have also transformed part of the forest into a knitted Narnia and Georgia Clemson's sculptures 'Cocoons' are hanging high in the trees.

Ben Clarke, 23, has travelled from Norwich city centre and this is the first time he has attended the festival.

He said: 'The traffic was a nightmare getting in. I travelled by car and sat on the A145 for over an hour.

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'I decided to come to the festival this year as there is a good line-up of comedians and I am mostly looking forward to seeing Omid Djalili.'

Louise Smith, 22, from Beccles, also said it was her first year at the event and was looking forward to the experience.

'Embarrassingly I have never actually been to a festival before so I am a little nervous about what to expect.

'The funniest thing so far has been putting the tent up as it's been a little bit muddy. The atmosphere here is just incredible and everyone seems to have a smile on their face.'

There are over 10 arenas at the event.

As well as musical headliners The National, Paolo Nutini and Suede, throughout the site there will also be theatre performances, poetry readings, film screenings, live music and spectacular displays over the lake.

Other highlights of the event will include Norfolk-based Seasick Steve, originally from America. The former homeless drifter was discovered by musician Jules Holland and shot to fame two years ago.

In the comedy arena visitors will be treated to Dylan Moran, famous for his role in Black Books where he worked alongside Bill Bailey and Hollywood actor Simon Pegg, who he also worked with in the movie Run Fat Boy Run.

Other familiar comedic faces such as Alan Carr will be delighting the crowd.

Sisters Lisa, 27 and Emma O'Brian, 25, left east London at 7am this morning and said it is their third time at Latitude and also the highlight of their year.

Emma said: 'We love coming to Latitude. It's got something for everyone and we like the fact that there's more to it than music.'

Lisa said she has mostly been looking forward to seeing the painted sheep again.

'Only at a true country festival would you find something wacky like that,' she added.

'It only took us about 45 minutes to put our tent up but we did get rather muddy. I'm glad the rain has stopped now though.'

The crowds will also get their first glimpse of the new permanent 'Writer's Bridge' officially opened last week.

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