Thousands of music fans to descend on Play Fest at Quidenham

The popularity of live music festivals continues to grow in Norfolk as thousands are expected to flock to the inaugural Play Fest this weekend.

The two-day event, based in the grounds of New Eccles Hall School at Quidenham, near Attleborough, will thrill up to 2,500 people with scores of live bands, DJs and performers, including The Futureheads, Darwin Deez, Frank Turner and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly.

Organisers and cousins Olly Rigden and Olly Sear are hoping to make the fledgling event an annual staple of the UK's summer festival calendar placing Norfolk firmly on the radar of live music fans from across the country.

But is not the only event to secure some of the music industry's big names with King's Lynn's Festival Too - one of the largest free festivals in Europe - boasting The Feeling, songstress Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Hoosiers among its line-up, while the new Norfolk Spectacular will provide fans with award-winning acts such as Tinie Tempah, N-Dubz and Chipmunk, proving the area's appetite for large-scale music events continues to grow.

In Suffolk, the Latitude Festival, which returns to Henham Park, Southwold for its sixth year in July, now attracts 12,000 people and will host artists such as Paolo Nutini and Suede.

Dion Clements, spokesman for Norfolk Spectacular, which will take place on September 3 and 4 at the Norfolk Showground in Costessey, said: 'I don't think these festivals have been handled in Norfolk before and I think it's possibly been, until now, slightly overlooked. It is suitable for these types of events - there are some fantastic arenas and locations.

'I think there is appetite within Norfolk. The open air concerts we've been running have been very popular and I think that the appetite for festivals generally across the country is quite large at the moment.

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'People are very keen to go away for a weekend. Festivals combine maybe hedonism, a bit of getting back to nature and fantastic live music.'

Play Fest's organisers, who both have backgrounds as music promoters in Norwich, have put together their extravaganza in just six months.

Mr Rigden, 29, who grew-up in Tacolneston, said: 'We've put music events on in Norwich and decided at Christmas over a drink how cool it would be to do our own festival. We have a great team on board who have been working really hard and now it's here.

'I'm nervous, I'm excited. I can't explain how I feel. It's surreal for us.'

They said feedback from other festival organisers had been 'phenomenal' and reaction from the public had swelled following Play Fest's initial announcement in February.

Olly Sear, 26, originally from Wymondham, added: 'A lot of festivals at the moment around here start off with about 500 people and a few local bands in a field but we thought we'd skip that part and just go for it.

'It's a massive rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish. We're on site every day seeing it being built from the ground up. Words cannot describe it.'

Both have already pledged the return of Play Fest for next year. Tickets for the festival, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, are still on sale costing �65 for a full weekend ticket or �37.50 for a one day ticket.

For more information, visit www.playfest.co.uk

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