Latitude: Festival party gets into full swing

A WORLD of weird and wonderful shows and performances basked in the sunshine as the Latitude Festival got into full swing.

The four-day music and arts extravaganza is now in its third day with sell-out crowds of 35,000 people enjoying a vast wealth of entertainment.

After the event got off to a soggy start with mud greeting festival-goers arriving on Thursday night, the temperatures took a turn for the better yesterday – although the forecast for the weekend is gloomier.

Yesterday’s festival-goers were treated to sunshine as they took in the sights and sounds of 18 stages and areas, featuring world-leading names in music, comedy, theatre, film, art, literature, poetry, cabaret, fashion and dance.

The music stages got under way yesterday with American indie band The National headlining the Obelisk Arena at the heart of Henham Park.

They topped a bill on the main stage that included performances from Paloma Faith and Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall.

Elsewhere on site, there were huge queues for the Film and Music Arena to see comic star Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon talk about their TV series The Trip, answering questions from screenwriter Richard Curtis.

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Melvin Benn, managing director of organiser Festival Republic, said: “There is a wonderful atmosphere on site, that always comes through at Latitude.

“It grows and grows and gets better every year – we are constantly making little improvements. So far this year we are very pleased with how it is going.”

He said he did not expect any of the forecast rain to spoil proceedings. “The majority of people who come to Latitude are very well prepared – they don’t come on a whim. I expect we will see the nicest and most exquisite wet weather clothing you can get.”

Some of the quirkier sights on site included The Faraway Forest, featuring sculptures, illuminations and installations in the estate’s woodland, and the Electric Hotel, a voyeuristic fly-on-the-wall outdoor dance spectacle by Sadlers Wells.

Tonight sees Paolo Nutini headlining the Obelisk Arena, which will be opened with a performance by chart sensation Ed Sheeran, from Framlingham.

Other top music stars set to appear include Seasick Steve, Rumer, Echo & The Bunnymen and 80s pop legend Adam Ant.

Ipswich-based rapper DELS is performing on the Lake Stage, as will be Ipswich rock band The B.Goodes.

Suffolk-born actor Ralph Fiennes will be holding a question-and-answer session in the Film and Music Arena while Omid Djalili headlines the Comedy Arena, where there will also be a live version of hit TV show Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

British indie veterans Suede will bring the music stages to a finale tomorrow night, while top comedian Alan Carr headlines the Comedy Arena.

The weather could take a turn for the worse today, with some heavy rainfall expected in the morning and temperatures set to drop to 16C, according to WeatherQuest. It will brighten up through the day and tomorrow should also start fine, but there is a warning of further rain and maybe even thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon and evening. “It’s definitely a festival for waterproofs and wellies,” said forecaster John Law.

Suffolk police said there had been eight reported thefts from tents while two warnings had been given out for drugs and a 17-year-old boy had been charged with cannabis possession.