Latitude spirit not broken by deluge

MUD-SOAKED music fans endured erratic bouts of torrential rain on Suffolk’s sunrise coast this weekend.

The sixth Latitude festival came to a climax last night with reformed Britpoppers Suede rounding off proceedings.

An eclectic selection of performers was, as usual, sprinkled with local and untapped talent as well as crowd-drawing headliners.

The festival prides itself on being regarded an alternative to the conventional outdoor music event.

Billed as “more than just a music festival”, punters had a wealth of ways to stay entertained – and, in some cases, dry.

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The trademark multicoloured sheep watched nonchalantly from the sidelines of a heaving Henham Park, where the music articulated a weekend full of performance, arts and family-oriented activities.

Melvin Benn, managing director of organisers Festival Republic, said he was delighted with the event’s success – despite the weather.

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He said: “I think it has gone amazingly well. Some have said it is November weather in July. What it has done is tested the resilience of the land and that has stood up pretty well – it has been better than I anticipated.

“It has also tested the resilience of the festival-goer. They are festival-goers that come prepared.

“It hasn’t dampened the atmosphere at all. I spend a lot of time chatting with people and their reaction has been enormously positive.”

A new feature of this year’s festival was the Inbetweeners area – design for the oft uncatered-for teenage audience.

Framlingham’s own Ed Sheeran drew a partisan turn-out for one of the weekend’s memorable sets, while some of the scheduling decisions proved less convincing, epitomized by the acknowledgement of Paloma Faith by a fragmented crowd made up of pop-loving tweens and bemused fans of The National awaiting the Cincinnati headliners’ arrival.

The bill also had room for maturing acts like 80s New Romantic Adam Ant and Merseysiders Echo and the Bunnymen – both going down well with a variously aged crowd.

Perhaps the most eagerly received appearance away from the music stage was a banter-laden conversation by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on their BAFTA winning mini-series The Trip.

An unreserved set from KT Tunstall provided some recognisable chart-friendly tunes like Black Horse and Suddenly I See.

The woodland surroundings again provided an enchanting backdrop for the festival – worth about �5million a year to the local economy.

Organisers Festival Republic have made it their home for the another 15 years after signing a deal with the Rous family, which runs the Henham estate.

The music promoters expect to make a profit from Latitude for the first time this year.

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