New festival will be 'magical' - vow

A NEW festival set to feature some of the brightest acts in music in the grounds of an historic Suffolk country estate will be “magical”.That was the claim made yesterday by Melvin Benn, managing director of Mean Fiddler Festivals, who is behind the Latitude Festival taking place at Henham Park, between Halesworth and Southwold, over the weekend of July 14 to 16.

By David Lennard

A NEW festival set to feature some of the brightest acts in music in the grounds of an historic Suffolk country estate will be “magical”.

That was the claim made yesterday by Melvin Benn, managing director of Mean Fiddler Festivals, who is behind the Latitude Festival taking place at Henham Park, between Halesworth and Southwold, over the weekend of July 14 to 16.

He said: “As soon as I arrived at Henham Park earlier this year and saw just how glorious the setting was I knew we had to create a festival here that will be magical.


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“We have been greatly assisted by Hektor Rous, whose family have lived on the estate for the past 500 years, and I am convinced that Henham Park will also become the home of the Latitude Festival for many years to come.”

The event is being promoted as “more than just a music festival” and it is certainly living up to that billing although music will play an important part in the weekend's entertainment.

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There are at least 75 live music acts performing at four separate stages on the park.

“We have some great star acts that are naturally receiving a lot of attention but there is also the opportunity for a number of promising East Anglian acts that have a strong following in this part of the world to play to a large audience,” said Mr Benn.

On the opening evening of the festival, top act Snow Patrol will be playing their first live act featuring songs from their new album Eyes Open as well as hits from their multi-platinum selling album Final Straw.

Other acts performing on Friday evening include The Zutons, a Liverpool-based band whose sax-rock style has proved a big hit with live audiences as well as achieving success in the album charts.

On Saturday Mercury Award winner Antony and the Johnsons will be making his only UK performance this year.

Another top act making their only UK appearance of the year at the festival are post-rockers Mogwai who will be taking to the main stage on Sunday.

However, away from the music arenas there will be plenty of alternative entertainment on offer all through the weekend with cabaret acts, comedians including television star Sean Lock and a children's art and theatre area.

James Holloway, artistic director at The Cut arts centre in Halesworth, will also be producing a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night performed by local actors.

“Diversity is the main thing here,” Mr Benn said. “I want to bring that genteel, less manic feel that European festivals have to Latitude.”

Estate Manager Hektor Rous said he is delighted that Henham Park is hosting such a prestigious event as he hopes it will give the whole area a boost.

He added: “I am really excited about this festival and believe it will be a great success.

“I want not only to promote Henham Park but hope that people attending the festival will fall in love with north Suffolk and want to keep coming back.

“It is hard to believe that top acts such as Snow Patrol will be playing on my front lawn. I want as many people to come along and enjoy the occasion with me.”

nWeekend tickets cost £95 play booking fees. Day tickets for Friday, Saturday or Sunday, cost £40 plus booking fee.

Weekend ticket prices include car parking and camping. Day tickets only include car parking. The credit card line is 0870 060 3775 or online at www.meanfiddler.co.uk or at www.seetickets.com

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