Arcade Fire to play at Latitude festival

Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, Canadian indie-rockers Arcade Fire and Blur frontman Damon Albarn's new band have been announced as headliners for the Latitude festival this summer.

Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, Canadian indie-rockers Arcade Fire and Blur frontman Damon Albarn's new band have been announced as headliners for the Latitude festival this summer.

But organisers stressed that the festival was about more than just the music, as a programme of theatre, comedy, poetry, literature and film was also unveiled at a launch party in London. This July will see the second year of Latitude, which is held on the Earl of Stradbroke's Henham estate, between Beccles and Southwold.

It is Sunday night headliners Arcade Fire, who are noted for their live performances, who are causing most excitement among fans. Triple-platinum-selling Damien Rice will play on the opening night on Friday, while The Good, the Bad and the Queen finish the Saturday night. The new band is fronted by Damon Albarn, who has already found success with both Blur and Gorillaz, with the Clash's Paul Simon on bass.

But away from the bands, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts will also be running events, Liverpool poet Roger McGough will be reading his poetry, and Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank will be performing.

Mean Fiddler managing director Melvin Benn said: “With Latitude I wanted to re-format festivals and break the mould. Due to the success of last year, artists and performers are now approaching us to be involved.

“Having read comments on the message boards and forums from happy festival goers, it's clear that a lot of people found their festival home in Latitude, which is fantastic and something really positive that we can keep building on year on year.”

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Though there is some disappointment from fans who had hoped for performers such as Joni Mitchell and even Coldplay, estate manager Hektor Rous, son of the Earl of Stradbroke, said it was not just about the music.

He said: “It is not just a festival about the headliners, because that is what the other festivals are. The headliners give a feel for it, but I am just as excited about the poetry and about the Royal Court Theatre. The variety and diversity of stuff on offer is bigger than any other festival I know. I can't wait.”

With some acts still to be announced, the Magic Numbers and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are also confirmed for the music stages. Alan Carr, of Eight out of Ten Cats and the Friday Night Project, will be performing in the comedy tent alongside Stewart Lee, Mark Steel and Marcus Brigstocke. The literature tent includes Norfolk-based author Louis de Bernieres, author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and the theatre tent will see short plays from the Royal Court Theatre, including work written specially for the festival.

A children's area will include a book at bedtime each night, while puppet workshops, Bollywood dance classes and a Moulin Rouge cabaret run in the cabaret tent.

Amanda Berry, chief executive of Bafta, said: “I was bowled over by the imagination and thought that went into the events at Latitude last year and believe it is the perfect festival for Bafta to be involved with. We're planning an ambitious range of thought-provoking events to stimulate, surprise and inspire the festival audience.”

Tickets are now on sale at £112 for the weekend of July 12-15 or £45 a day, plus booking fees. The booking line is 0870 060 3775, or you can buy tickets through UEA on 01603 50 80 50 or www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk. Or visit www.latitudefestival.com.

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