Latitude 2021 is 'really happening'

Latitude sign pink sheep Picture: MEGAN ALDOUS

Latitude 2021 will be able to go ahead, organiser claims - Credit: Megan Aldous

The organiser of Latitude has said today the 2021 Suffolk festival will be able to go ahead in July after talking with the government. 

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, said discussions with the Treasury and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had gone well and he had confidence restrictions will be eased on July 19. 

Mr Benn admitted he was "disappointed" after Freedom Day was delayed for four weeks from June 21. 

Organiser of Latitude Festival, Melvin Benn. Picture: SARAH

Organiser of Latitude Festival, Melvin Benn. - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He added: "On reflection, I think it actually gives much more certainty of Latitude being able to happen than if he had loosened things on Monday because the country will have strangled the variant’s ability to spread to a greater degree through increased vaccination than if we had opened fully this coming Monday.

"So, for much of the week I have been in conversation with Government on Latitude in particular and I’m very confident after those talks that Latitude will be able to go ahead.

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"There will be more detail on the specifics next week but with this in mind, we will be announcing even more artists and day splits tomorrow as a demonstration of my confidence.

"More details will follow but we’ll 100% keep you updated every step of the way. We’re very excited – it’s really happening!"

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Festival Republic will run another pilot event with Download Festival this weekend, where 10,000 festival-goers will have to take a lateral flow test before they arrive, while staff will also be regularly tested.

Mr Benn said: "We did it in Liverpool and it was amazing. 58,000 people came to events and there was hardly any spread of the virus. It was proven effectively that it was no more dangerous than going to the supermarket, it was probably safer.

"From that point on my mantra became 'festivals save lives'."

There has so far been no confirmation from the government that July 19 will be the date when all restrictions will ease as the vaccination programme continues. 

The Latitude Festival is set to take place in Henham Park, near Southwold, from July 22 to 25. 

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