Excitement of Latitude continues

Dan HaynesThe flags were flying and the trees were swaying as a hefty wind whipped up the excitement on the second day of Latitude Festival.The eclectic festival in Henham, south Norfolk, was yesterday blessed with a mixture of hot sunshine and pleasant shadow as rolling clouds passed through a blue sky.Dan Haynes

The flags were flying and the trees were swaying as a hefty wind whipped up the excitement on the second day of Latitude Festival.

The eclectic festival in Henham, south Norfolk, was yesterday blessed with a mixture of hot sunshine and pleasant shadow as rolling clouds passed through a blue sky.

But a swirling wind added an air of drama to the occasion, as punters saw their hats taken off their heads and a stage had to be temporarily closed to reinforce it against the gusts.

Music fans were turned away from The Sunrise Arena for a short time in the late afternoon as staff members made sure that the tent would hold out against the weather, although things were back to normal by the time the next band were due on.


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Billed as a festival for all, the unlikely mix of music, theatre, comedy, poetry and art had attracted an unlikely mix of people, from young families to trendy teenagers.

Many had stayed up late the previous night to catch a set legendary Tom Jones, who had lured such a crowd that a number of fans had to be turned away to avoid over-populating the arena.

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But there was little sign of fatigue yesterday morning as punters wound their way through the woodland and rolling fields to catch some early morning music.

First act on the Sunrise Arena was singer-songwriter Matthew P, a local boy who started his set with the words: 'I come from about eight miles that way,' before soothing the crowd's hangovers with his warm voice and upbeat folk-pop.

Another local band worthy of a mention was Norwich outfit These Ghosts, whose pounding dance beats and basslines interlaced with achingly emotive melodies had the early afternoon crowd in raptures.

Russell Kane also produced a great set at the Comedy Arena, managing to prise claps from the audience's hands as he shamelessly attacked the festival's supposedly middle-class punters by calling it 'Latte-tude'.

From its painted sheep and its obscure artwork dotted around the walkways, Latitude has an eccentric edge that surpasses many festivals, and many seemed surprised to come across a rehearsal for a production of The Wind in the Willows as they walked through the Wood area. A crowd of people had gathered to watch the show, which seemed to be going on amongst and around the punters.

From the rippling lake and lush pine woodland to the bold colours of the flags and tents, the festival is a treat for the eyes. It is on a relatively small scale compared to many similar events, and has a calmer pace, which feels true to its Suffolk base. Although the festival had pulled people in from all over the country, the festival still feels quintessentially East Anglian.

Matt Starling, 42, who had come to the festival with his wife and two young sons, said: 'It's a family-friendly festival, and it feels comfortable. There's not too many drunk people, which is nice. There's a lot of space for the amount of people.'

Many people said they had come to see Florence and the Machine, which were headlining the main Obelisk Arena later, but were otherwise content to meander around the site and enjoy whatever they stumbled across.

As well as the stages there were plenty of stalls to peruse, selling all manner of goods, from attachable tails to 'spiritual doorknobs,' and food on offer ranged from ostrich meat to falafels.

James Farry and his partner Caroline Stowell, both 27, had travelled down from Manchester during the day on Thursday and managed to see Nigel Kennedy. 'He was good but I think he was drunker than we were,' said Mr Farry. 'I really want to see Belle and Sebastian tomorrow but otherwise I want to wander around and get a taste of everything.'

Latitude continues today and Sunday.

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