Latitude festival sells out

Sarah Brealey Tickets for this year's Latitude festival in north Suffolk have already sold out.Organisers are thrilled at the rise in popularity of the £3m music and arts festival in its third year. The line -up includes bands Franz Ferdinand and Sigur Ros alongside comics Bill Bailey and Phil Jupitus and the Royal Court Theatre.

Sarah Brealey

Tickets for this year's Latitude festival in north Suffolk have already sold out.

Organisers are thrilled at the rise in popularity of the £3m music and arts festival in its third year. Last year all 20,000 tickets sold out a few days before the festival, but this year weekend tickets have sold out six weeks before it starts - even though the capacity has increased to 25,000. All the weekend and Saturday tickets have sold out, and there are just 200 Friday and Sunday tickets left.

The festival, at Henham Park, between Beccles and Southwold on July 18-20, features Franz Ferdinand, Interpol and Sigur Ros, as well as comics Bill Bailey, Ross Noble and Phil Jupitus, dance company Sadlers Wells and the Royal Court Theatre.

Melvin Benn, who is the managing director of Festival Republic and dreamed up Latitude, said: “We have got to breakeven point this year, when we thought it might take us four or five years. The additional sponsorship from Pimms has pushed us past the breakeven point.

“But the festival is not about the money. It is done for the love of it. It is very much a personal favourite for me. It represents what my life is. I don't think there is a better place in the world that Sigur Ros could play than this. Sigur Ros are a perfect fit for Latitude.”

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But he hinted that the festival might not always stay at Henham Park, saying: “I would like to think it will be here for a long time. Latitude has a life of its own if we had to move it we would do. I would hope that Henham would be its home for a long time to come.”

Tania Harrison, who has put together the arts stages, said that the arenas had been made bigger to cope with increased numbers. The comedy tent in particular was often packed last year.

She said: “Now the festival is bigger and people are more aware of it, it means that I get to ask bigger artists to perform. Hanif Kureishi, who is my personal favourite author, is coming. I have asked him several times but now Latitude is more well-known it is easier for me to approach authors.

“The poetry is always really popular. People get really surprised about how witty and contemporary poetry can be - we have poems about Posh and Becks. Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy are both widely tipped to be the next Poet Laureate and we are privileged to have them at Latitude.”

The festival is being sponsored by Pimms, Uncut and Tuborg, and new for this year will be a Pimms bar in an old Routemaster bus and an island in the lake serving Pimms to just two festival-goers at a time who are taken there by punt.