Festival plans for country estate

An East Anglian country estate is set to become the venue for the country's newest music festival. Henham Park, near Southwold, is due to host Latitude, which it is hoped will raise Suffolk's profile and bring jobs to the area.

An East Anglian country estate is set to become the venue for the country's newest music festival.

Henham Park, near Southwold, is due to host Latitude, which it is hoped will raise Suffolk's profile and bring jobs to the area.

The “cultural experience” is organised by Mean Fiddler, the UK's biggest festival organiser, and if this year goes well could become a fixture on the festival calendar.

Organisers hope that people will travel from all over the country to enjoy music, theatre, comedy, art and even sculpture.


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Hektor Rous, who manages the estate for his father, the “Aussie” Earl of Stradbroke, said the festival would be “high-profile”, with an estimated 10,000 people camping across July 13 to 16.

“It is looking to be something I don't think England's seen before. It is going to be a cultural experience. It will be a totally new concept.

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“The most important thing is that there is going to be a lot of attention on Suffolk and Waveney. There will be a large knock on effect with regards to tourism and the local economy, which should further support the area's regeneration plans - pretty exciting stuff. There is going to be local produce and local involvement. It will be a fantastic thing for the area.”

The line-up and ticket prices for Latitude are still to be confirmed.

“It is just in the early stages of planning,” said Mr Rous, who added: “We are not talking big stage big area type events.

“I have got an idea of an on-site library and things like that. It will have a much more mellow feel then other festivals - while providing the best in real music talent. It will offer theatre, it will offer comedy, it will offer music. People will really come here to experience all aspects of the event. It is going to be fantastic.”

A spokesman for Mean Fiddler, which also organises the Glastonbury and Reading festivals and runs London's Astoria venue, said: “Latitude is inspired more by European festivals such as Lowlands, than anything currently on offer in the UK. Expect music, art, comedy, film, literature, theatre, performance art, dance, sculpture, workshops, restaurants and waiter service bars. In short - the best bits of all festivals rolled into one.”

The estate has been in the Rous family since 1544, though its current owner put it up for sale with price tag of £12m. Mr Rous convinced the family to give him a chance to save it, and is now working to bring more events to Henham, on top of the successful Wings and Wheels and Henham Steam Rally.

The family's plans to boost tourism also include a new hall on the estate, to replace one that was knocked down in 1953.

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