Latitude will be back

The last of the festival hardcore crawled out of their tents at Latitude this morning with heads slightly sore, but nevertheless, full of magical memories from the weekend.

The last of the festival hardcore crawled out of their tents at Latitude this morning with heads slightly sore, but nevertheless, full of magical memories from the weekend.

The festival had been for many an ideal retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, created by the overwhelming amount of culture on show at the festival and the genuine friendliness shown by all attending towards each other.

As the festival was in its first year, it clearly did not have the resources or budget to draw in international superstars, but the combination of predominantly British talent and a wide array of alternative arts tents ensured that the event was an indisputable success.

Snow Patrol and The Zutons drew in the crowds on Friday that subsequently appeared to be the most popular day of the festival. The combined energy of both bands made sure that the enormous expectations of punters were well and truly lived up to.

The festival concluded on Sunday with headline performances from the legendary Mogwai and the gently rousing Jose Gonzalez.

The joyful mood throughout the weekend was further accentuated by the beautifully presented grounds of the Henham Park Estate, where the festival was held, and of course by the sublimely sunny weather. The organisers catered for every small detail, and the normal issues of arduous queuing, confusion due to lack of signs, and an absence of toilet paper, simply did not come in to play. Instead there were free gondola rides, waiter service from the bar and ornate artwork hidden amongst the woods.

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As well as Theatre and Comedy Tents there were also Tents dedicated to (general) literature, poetry and cabaret.

A host of local talent was also on display - Laughing Lizard, the ex-Suffolk College poetry group took the Poetry Tent by storm with their contemporary nursery rhymes. Aisle 16 and friends, another poetry group made up of ex-UEA students, included in their set a battle-rap between Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung and The Small Change Theatre Company gave an open-air, condensed and light-hearted performance of Twelfth Night.

With the conclusion of the festival comes the inevitably clean-up. To the certain delight of the organisers, it appears that this will be a relatively easy task, due to the respectful nature of the campers and the considerate crowd. Let us all hope that this Latitude is the first of many.

MORE than 10,000 people attended the weekend-long Latitude Festival at Henham Park, near Southwold and Hektor Rous, estate manager, forecast it would become the region's “hottest ticket” next year.

Mr Rous, who father, Keith, the so-called Aussie Earl of Stradbroke, owns Henham Park, said the festival had been “sensational”.

“There has been a real buzz in the air and everyone has had a fantastic time. This has been the first year for the festival but it will come back. People have already started asking about it and I think it will be the hottest ticket in town next year,” he said.

Mr Rous said he measured the success of the event by the look on people's faces.

“The first person across the bridge was smiling from ear to ear and we have seen thousands of happy people enjoying themselves.

Every effort had been made to integrate the event with the environment with a bridge across the lake and restricted access to sensitive wildlife areas.

“The sort of people who have come are interested in the environment and they are not the kind of people who will do anything to harm it. They have thoroughly enjoyed the setting

“We are not trying to emulate other festivals. This is unique and in the years ahead will stay the way it has started,” Mr Rous added.

The festival, which began of Friday, was organised by Mean Fiddler, the same company responsible for the Glastonbury and Reading festivals.

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