Thousands pitch up for Latitude festival

Rob GarrattSuffolk's Henham Park is already starting to fill up with thousands of people putting up their tent for the three-day multi-art extravaganza that is Latitude.Rob Garratt

Suffolk's Henham Park is already starting to fill up with thousands of people putting up their tent for the three-day multi-art extravaganza that is Latitude.

The festival's site, near Southwold, officially opened yesterday with hordes of eager campers getting in early to claim the best pitch.

And thousands more people are expected early today with acts on the festival's many stages kicking off at 11am.

Yesterday afternoon there were reports of two-hour queues to get on to the site after following the 2pm opening.

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Sharon Reuben, head of artists and guest liaison, said: 'Because the weather is beautiful and people are so excited, they have been chomping at the bit to get in.

'It's a buzzy site and people are putting up tents all around.'

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A total of 15 different stages, arenas and venues are hosted in the temporary mini-village, with a turn-out of 25,000 expected over the three-day event.

Today's highlights see new acts like Bat For Lashes and Ladyhawke competing against more established rockers like Squeeze and The Pretenders.

Headlining tonight on the main Obelisk stage are eighties stars The Pet Shop Boys. Meanwhile today's comedy highlights include Mark Thomas, Robert Ince and Tim Vine.

Forecasters say we can expect relatively dry few days throughout the festival, which runs until the end of Sunday.

Experts at UEA's Weatherquest centre said it was likely to rain tonight, but said the worst would quickly be over.

Forecaster John Law said: 'We're looking at a good start to the day on Friday, however as you go towards the afternoon, there will be showers coming from the west for most of the day.

'It should stay dry until about five or six in the afternoon and then you'll see some showers and some of them will be quite heavy. The showers will continue to pour away overnight.

'It should be fine on Saturday; quite cloudy but dry. Overnight expect a few spots of rain, but no great amount, and it should stay dry on Sunday.

'The rain will make it quite wet underfoot, so 10 pegs should go in the ground quite easily.'

For all the best news, reviews and gossip from this year's festival - and to have your say on our Latitude blog - log on to

BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6 Music will also be providing coverage of the event.

Latitude has been hailed as the most first family-orientated festival, with a secure family campsite and its very own children's arena.

Billed as being 'as diverse as the rest of the festival', it features books, art, music, theatre and more - all for kids.

Sharon Reuben, head of artists and guest liaison, said: 'It became apparent very early on that festivals were changing and there was a new family demand - it's something we've invested a lot of time and money into developing.

'There is a generation of young parents interested in music, culture and art, who have a family - this way they can come along and enjoy it.'

Here are five reasons to take the family to Latitude:

1 - Kids can become budding wildlife explorers thanks to pontoon rides, wildlife trails and after-dark events hosted by Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

2 - The Utensils Puppet Show guides children through the process of making a pizza from scratch and then let's them loose to make their own lunch.

3 - Twisted Tea Cups by Woolly Balloon is a multi-sensory, interactive performance based on Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter's Tea Party. The children are guided on a fantastical, surreal journey through the forest,

4 - The Angel Gardens is an area for kids to play and get to know each other, with free books to take away.

5 - Family doesn't just mean kids, and there are plenty of relatives who may prefer curling up with a good book to a night of rock n' roll. As well the highbrow literary stage, the festival has its own book club.

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