Second Latitude pleasing the crowds

ONE successful weekend could be considered beginners luck for the organisers of Latitude. But as 20,000 people headed to Henham for the festival's second outing this weekend it was soon made clear that this is no flash in the pan event.

ONE successful weekend could be considered beginners luck for the organisers of Latitude.

But as 20,000 people headed to Henham for the festival's second outing this weekend it was soon made clear that this is no flash in the pan event.

With the festival becoming a complete sell-out - albeit only in the last couple of days - organisers Mean Fiddler knew they had struck festival gold.

Billed as much more than a music festival, Latitude has areas, arenas and marquees devoted to comedy, poetry, theatre, cabaret, literature and children's entertainment.

Henham Park makes for an idyllic setting, and while some festivals are full of visitors jostling for position, pushing each other around and drinking more than is advisable in the midday sun, Latitude has a more relaxed, calming feel to it.

The multi-coloured sheep that proved to be such a crowd pleaser last year were again grazing in their own area, while nearby visitors could relax in some deckchairs and overlook the lake for a quiet few minutes.

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And while last year saw festival favourites Snow Patrol steal the limelight, this year there isn't quite so many big names gracing the four music stages. But elsewhere, festival goers have been spoilt for choice.

As the sun came out over the Henham Park site yesterday, I joined hundreds of others in heading to the comedy tent to see television favourite Bill Bailey perform. And while the man who likes to bill himself as being part-troll seemed more than comfortable on stage, there were many of us who decided to stay outside the hot, crowded tent and enjoy the sun while laughing along.

Bailey is just one of many big name comedians bringing stand-up routines to the weekend with appearances from Alan Carr, Dylan Moran, Brendan Burns, Phill Jupitus, Josie Long and Jeremy Hardy, among many more not-so big names.

The theatre tent will host performances from a wide variety of acts throughout the weekend and yesterday that included Random Dance, the company formed by Dance East associate and Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor.

The poetry tent was a popular choice throughout the day, and anyone who wanted to see the biggest name of the day, Roger McGough, had to get there early.

Performance poetry veteran McGough proved why he's so popular with a slick and well-received set before handing the mic back to the new-comers who are snapping at his heels.

For full coverage of all the weekend's Latitude highlights see Monday's Evening Star.

Tell us your Latitude highlights? E-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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