Latitude boss 'super confident' about 2021 events going ahead

Crowds at Latitude 2017 - Paul John Bayfield

Crowds at Latitude back in 2017, Melvin Benn hopes crowds will be able to return this summer. - Credit: PAUL JOHN BAYFIELD

The boss of Suffolk's famous Latitude Festival said he is "super confident" that large gatherings will be able to go ahead this year.

In 2020, the Henham Park festival was one of many events cancelled across East Anglia.

But in a recent interview with NME Melvin Benn - managing director of Festival Republic, the company which runs Latitude - said he felt "super confident" about the prospect of large gatherings going ahead this summer.

Already the festival has announced Lewis Capaldi, Bastille and Snow Patrol will be among the acts to perform near Southwold between July 22 and 25.

Organiser of Latitude Festival, Melvin Benn. Picture: SARAH

Organiser of Latitude Festival, Melvin Benn. - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Benn said that any festival run at full capacity would need a plan based on both testing and vaccination.

“The plan was always based on the vaccine first and testing second,” he said.

"It could be a mix of both.

"I feel that we can get away with shows purely on testing.

"It’s immensely hard work, but operationally doable and hopefully unnecessary.

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"The Full Capacity Plan was always based on verification of being clear of Covid, or clear of being in danger of Covid.

“The vaccination and verification that you’ve had it would give you that safety of knowing that you’re not going to get super-ill.

"It will work providing that they can get the majority of the people in the country vaccinated, and as long as there are enough people at the event who have been vaccinated.

“The industry has always done what it’s needed to do to create great festivals in a safe environment.

"If the government say to us that part of that will be testing, then we’ll do that. I’m taking the government line – they’re going to vaccinate everybody.”

He added: “Imagine what fun it’s going to be.

"It’s going to be bloody awesome, isn’t it? Rain or shine, being out in that field with thousands of people, wherever it is, watching any band or your favourite band, I just can’t wait."