Latitude will entertain 20,000

East Anglia's biggest music festival will be nearly twice as big as last year, organisers revealed last night. The Latitude festival, in Henham Park, near Beccles, will entertain 20,000 people from July 13 to 15, up from 12,000 last year.

East Anglia's biggest music festival will be nearly twice as big as last year, organisers revealed last night.

The Latitude festival, in Henham Park, near Beccles, will entertain 20,000 people from July 13 to 15, up from 12,000 last year. And there are just 3,000 weekend tickets left, with Sunday tickets having sold out and Saturday tickets on the verge of selling out.

Yesterday saw the official launch of the festival's second year. It is the creation of Mean Fiddler managing director Melvin Benn, who also runs the Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds festivals. He said it was “incredible” that the festival was set to sell out in its second year.

Mr Benn said he planned for Latitude to last longer than he did - but he would still make no money from putting on the “absolutely wonderful” £2.75m festival.

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“I won't make money this year. Year five is when it starts to make money. If I break even in year three, I will be very pleased,” he said.

“I want this to outlast me. I believe in festivals as a place where people come and have a lovely time and have a great weekend. They become part of people's culture. They can last forever. Reading is one of my festivals and I first went to that in 1972; Glastonbury has been going for 30 years.”

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The Henham Park site has a licence for 30,000 people, but Mr Benn said he wanted a more intimate festival. “I could sell more tickets but I am choosing not to because I don't want it to get too big too quickly,” he explained.

About 40pc of those who have bought tickets so far are from the east of England, with the rest coming from all over the country.

Hotels and bed and breakfasts in surrounding villages and in Halesworth, Southwold and Beccles are set to cash in, though thousands of people will camp on the site.

Hektor Rous, the Henham estate manager and son of the Australian sixth Earl of Stradbroke, said the festival was not a major moneyspinner for the estate but a way of raising its profile and marking it out as a place that wants to do things differently.

“It is important for us that it is here. It helps to support local hotels and tourism. People will be staying here, buying food, going to shops, buying petrol from service stations,” he said.

He expected it to be even better than last year, he added, saying: “There will be something absolutely magical for everyone that was at the first one. They are really striving to keep it new and innovative and fun.”

Weekend tickets are £112, day tickets £45, plus booking fees. Available from venues including Norwich Arts Centre, UEA students' union, Ticket Queen outlets across Norfolk, and HMV, or by calling

0870 060 3775 or visiting

t This year's Latitude festival will open with an orchestra whose performers are hanging from the trees, and who will pick up their instruments again the next morning so that orchestral strains drift their way through the tents of waking campers.

Also on the Thursday evening, arriving festival-goers can settle down to a high-definition screening of Alfred Hitchock's first film, the Lodger, with new score commissioned by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta).

It will be experiences like these, as much as headline performances from the likes of Arcade Fire and Damien Rice (pictured above), which will make up the magic of Latitude.

Musically, Sunday night looks strongest, with Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker (left) supporting of-the-moment indie rockers Arcade Fire, and this is reflected in the fact that Sunday day tickets have sold out, though tickets for Saturday, when Damon Albarn's new band The Good, the Bad and the Queen is headlining, are hot on their heels.

Watch out for Findlay Brown, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Yorkshire who is tipped for greatness, and Phil Collins, a Turner Prize nominee who creates photographic and video installations of people doing odd things.

The comedy line-up is also strong, with Bill Bailey, Alan Carr, Mark Steel, Phill Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke (below) - “better than any other comedy line-up you will see this year, including Edinburgh,” according to organiser Melvin Benn.

Among the poetry, Bollywood dance lessons, magicians and theatre there will also be local talent, with singer-songwriter Tom Baxter, who was born in Bungay, and author Louis de Bernieres, who lives nearby. Even the Bafta involvement has a local connection, in that chief executive Amanda Berry, who has a home in Southwold, asked to get involved after visiting the festival last year.

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