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Latitude: Security stepped up at Suffolk festival after Manchester Arena bomb attack

PUBLISHED: 19:36 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:26 30 June 2017

Lucy Rose performs at the launch of the 2017 Latitude Festival at Henham Park, Suffolk. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Lucy Rose performs at the launch of the 2017 Latitude Festival at Henham Park, Suffolk. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Archant © 2017

Latitude Festival’s Melvin Benn revealed he’s met with high-ranking officers of the Metropolitan Police in the wake of last month’s Manchester Arena attack and is in almost daily contact with counter-terrorism teams across the country.

The launch of the 2017 Latitude Festival at Henham Park, Suffolk.  From left to right, Melvin Benn, Mumford and Sons' Ben Lovett, Lucy Rose, Sharon Reuben, Lucy Wood and Bessie Turner.   Picture: NICK BUTCHER The launch of the 2017 Latitude Festival at Henham Park, Suffolk. From left to right, Melvin Benn, Mumford and Sons' Ben Lovett, Lucy Rose, Sharon Reuben, Lucy Wood and Bessie Turner. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Some 40,000 people will descend on Suffolk’s Henham Park next month for the three-day music and culture event, now in its 12th year.

“We’ve developed a very pro-active position about changes and additional training for security - profiling and vigilance - not just for Latitude but our other festivals too,” said Mr Benn, director of organisers Festival Republic.

Changes at Latitude include dogs trained to sniff out explosives checking everything coming into the site via the production entrances. You will be asked to bring smaller bags into the arenas, with a team currently coming up with a sample size to guide festival-goers. There will be more bag searches.

“The reward for that is you feel safer. We’ll try to keep things moving, obviously. We as Brits wouldn’t want to be defeated and we’re not going to be but we have to be more vigilant.

Ipswich singer Bessie Turner will be performing the 2017 Latitude Festival at Henham Park, Suffolk.

 Picture: NICK BUTCHER Ipswich singer Bessie Turner will be performing the 2017 Latitude Festival at Henham Park, Suffolk. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

“The reality is Latitude would be a low target but everything’s a low target and everything’s a high target now.”

More than 750 acts will play across 15 different stages from July 14-16.

New literature and poetry highlights announced yesterday included Brooker-nominated Irish author Colm Toibin, who will discuss his latest novel, House of Names; a reimagining of the Greek classic tale of Clytemnestra’s family tragedy.

Recent Ted Hughes Award winner and spoken word-poet Hollie McNish will discuss her latest anthology Plum.

Melvyn Benn talks to the media at the Launch of the 2017 Latitude fesival. Picture: NICK BUTCHER Melvyn Benn talks to the media at the Launch of the 2017 Latitude fesival. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Music highlights include Pumarosa, who bring their live show straight from London to the Obelisk Arena hot off the back of their acclaimed debut album The Witch.

Ipswich’s Bessie Turner performed at Friday’s press launch. So did singer-songerwriter Lucy Rose.

Turner’s been described by BBC Music Introducing as a superstar in the making. Her debut single, Big Sleep, was only released in April but has already gained the love of BBC Radio One and BBC 6 Music.

Full line-up here.

Mumford and Sons are performing at this year's Latitude Festival Mumford and Sons are performing at this year's Latitude Festival

“It’s extraordinary we made it to 12 when, actually, it looked really difficult to do so in that first year when less people bought tickets than are stood in this room at the moment,” Mr Benn joked at the press launch.

He said it was also extraordinary they had more than 750 acts, including at least five or six recognised headliners; playing on 15 different stages and it was still only £197.50 for a weekend ticket.

“Somebody worked out that’s 26p an act - but anybody who thinks they’re just going to ring up and say ‘I’ve only got 26p can I come and see Mumford and Sons the answer is no’.

“Musically I think we have it nailed across the weekend... The kids’ area is massively important; we’re in our third year of the schools programme with 800 seven-11 year olds coming as an arts project. The comedy programme is off the scale.”

He was honoured Mumford and Sons had chosen Latitude as the first festival they’ve incorporated their Gentlemen of The Road stopover into.

“It’s a wonderful fit. I couldn’t ask for a band more suited to do that... it’s a dream come true for Mumford and Sons to curate that day with us. We’ve worked so well together, it’s been terrific.”

Mr Benn said the festival continues to break the rules and boundaries of what a festival should be via its programme, was determined to give new talent a platform and to always put festival-goers first.

“We feel very honoured and very privileged to be here 12 years on. The location is a dream... there’s a lot of years left in me and even more left in Latitude.”

Actor, writer, comedian and broadcaster Angus Deayton talks about resurrecting hit series Radio Active without his friend Geoffrey Perkins, modern comedy and life after Leveson.

The Encore Dance Company, featuring students about to graduate from the third year of their sixth form at the prestigious Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire, are visiting Ipswich’s Jerwood DanceHouse.

A painting that threatens to wreck the friendship of three men is the subject of smash hit comedy Art. Stephen Tompkinson tells us how he is having a ball being reunited with Nigel Havers and Denis Lawson for its 20th anniversary tour.

In a week where news of war dominates and once again ordinary people just like you and me are being plunged into yet more suffering, Kinder Transport, a play about the evacuation of Jewish children from Nazi Germany feels desperately timely.

The Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, has announced its line up for the autumn season with a raft of productions and entertainers set to visit the restored Regency venue.

Waveney Light Opera Group hopes audiences will get on their plates of meat for its production of My Fair Lady.

Katherine Ryan is best known for her caustic comedy style on panel shows such as Mock the Week and 8 Out of 10 Cats,

In his inimitable Cockney style he lobbed out a host of gags and funny stories to a near sell out audience.

This week the role of critics has come under scrutiny as one long-serving reviewer revealed a racist approach to the casting of classic plays. Arts editor Andrew Clarke says that while you should disapprove of his views, banning dissenting voices is never the answer

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