PICTURE GALLERY: Glade techno music festival begins at Houghton Hall

It probably would not have been Sir Robert Walpole's cup of tea but thousands of excited party-goers were arriving at the first British prime minister's former Norfolk home today for the start of a techno music festival.

Houghton Hall, near Fakenham, may initially appear to be an unusual choice of venue for such an event but Anselm Guise, director of the Glade Festival, is cautiously optimistic that it would be welcomed by the local community.

Mr Guise said: 'There's been a great atmosphere here so far and we've not had any problems at all.

'The police, the council and the landowners have all been very helpful so far.

'The impact and disturbance that this event has on the local community in terms of noise and traffic issues is not yet known but we have our fingers crossed that people will be happy with us.

'If this is the case we will be delighted to come back next year and will start making plans for that to happen next week.'

Mr Guise said that the 5,500 ticket festival is expected to sell-out over the weekend.

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With the artists and the 2,500 crew members included there will be as many as 8,500 people on site for the festival which started yesterday and will run through until Sunday.

Mr Guise said: 'The sort of music being played here is very popular across Europe and also in places like Brazil, Japan and Australia so there will be quite an international crowd here and some very interesting people.

'It is a very unique festival because of the kind of acts that we have performing here.

'It is for artistic and creative people, for connoisseurs of techno music because we have some very well-regarded underground performers here.'

Headline acts include Trentemoller, Drumcode Records, Global Communication and Andrew Weatherall.

Glade Festival was organised at Houghton Hall in just five weeks after the planned venue, Mansion House, in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire pulled out.

It originated from an arena at the Glastonbury Festival and became a festival in its own right in 2004.

For the first five years it was held at the Wasing Estate in Berkshire and some 16,500 people attended the 2007 festival.

It was held in Winchester in 2009 but cancelled last year due to financial problems.

Mr Guise said: 'Glade grew too quickly and became something that we didn't want it to be.

'We've kept it smaller this time. We like it this way and feel it has more integrity. There are no big commercial sponsors with Glade.

'I've been to a music festival in Nevada where people are not allowed to bring any money in.

'They have to bring in their own food and drinks and they share it with other people at the festival. It's quite crazy but it's making a point about being anti-commercial.

'Unfortunately we can't afford to do that at Glade but it is that sort of ethos that we are going for here and that creates a great atmosphere.'

He added: 'I'm a DJ myself and I got into organising music festivals because I wanted to have somewhere that I could play my music. I'm really looking forward to performing tonight.'

Mr Guise is working with Secret Productions, the team behind The Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire, on Glade Festival.

He said the festival has a strict no-drugs policy; anyone aged 13 to 17 was not allowed in; and under-12s accompanied by an adult were allowed free admission.

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