A new festival is born

It really was a weekend to remember. More than 10,000 people listened, laughed and laid back in glorious sunshine, as some of the country's top entertainers came to a quiet corner of Suffolk.

It really was a weekend to remember. More than 10,000 people listened, laughed and laid back in glorious sunshine, as some of the country's top entertainers came to a quiet corner of Suffolk. It was a festival perfectly suited to this genteel part of the world, just up the road from Southwold and on an aristocrat's country estate.

The three-day Latitude Festival, featuring the Zutons (pictured), came to a close last night after a successful introduction.

Of course there were the students, the punks and hippies, but this seemed like a family festival.

The usual crowd of teenagers and twentysomethings included plenty of 50 and 60-year-olds and hundreds of has-been punk-rockers rekindling their love of live music, this time with children in their arms.

Nobody threw pints of beer at the stage. It was even clean, the toilets worked, and there was no mud but plenty of dust. It seemed like Glastonbury would have been the first time round.

Not that it was perfect - the food and drink was as over-priced as you would expect, a couple of the smaller acts didn't turn up, and music fans grumbled that most of the bands finished by 9.30pm.

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Now the organiser, Mean Fiddler, is already making plans for next year, and estate manager Hektor Rous knows that his gamble has paid off.

For the Earl of Stradbroke's son, putting on Latitude was an experiment, and the same could be said for most people who came.

But it was an experiment that worked, and 10,000 people who spent this weekend on a north Suffolk country estate can say they were there first.