Latitude festival countdown begins

THE countdown to Suffolk’s flagship music event has begun as organisers prepare to welcome 35,000 people to the county next month.

Organisers will welcome festival-goers to the Henham Estate, near Southwold for the fifth Latitude, from July 15-18.

Yesterday, organisers revealed they are taking the festival’s arts credentials to the next level by launching the Latitude Contemporary Art (LCA) Exhibition and �10,000 LCA Award.

This year, six new and emerging artists are competing for the award which will be judged by Latitude Festival creator Melvin Benn, broadcaster and journalist Martha Kearney and young British artist Gavin Turk.

The winner will produce a new piece for the LCA Exhibition at the festival in 2011.

This year’s headline acts include Brit Award winners Florence and the Machine, indie pop band Belle and Sebastian, New York indie rock quartet Vampire Weekend and Australian electric music duo Empire of the Sun.

Mr Benn confirmed that festival favourites such as the coloured sheep would be returning this year and said he was not surprised that the event is a sell-out.

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He said: “Despite the recession, despite increasing our capacity by 5,000 people we have a sold out Latitude Festival and we sold out in record time. This says much about Latitude Festival and what it has become.”