THE trees of Henham Park were lit up in reds, greens and blues, and giant illuminated water lilies floated on the lake. Once again the Latitude festival took the beautiful Suffolk landscape and added a touch of the surreal and the unexpected - as well as plenty of entertainment.
THE trees of Henham Park were lit up in reds, greens and blues, and giant illuminated water lilies floated on the lake.
Once again the Latitude festival took the beautiful Suffolk landscape and added
a touch of the surreal and
the unexpected - as well as plenty of entertainment.
For most of the 25,000 visitors it was a weekend to remember.
The Guillemots, The Coral and Seasick Steve were among the acts playing at the £3m event, and celebrity visitors included Geoff Hoon, the Arctic Monkeys and Natalie Imbruglia.
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There was a whole string section, xylophones and glockenspiels on stage as Sigur Ros played their headline set on Saturday night. Some people loved it - although the next morning's Early Edition cruelly dubbed it “lift music”. Marcus Brigstocke said: “It was like listening to one long bank advert. Halfway through I'd arranged a mortgage.”
The weather proved almost as diverse as the entertainment on offer. Sunday was mostly dry, but on Saturday festival-goers hardly knew whether to wear sunglasses and vest tops or raincoats and wellies as sunny skies gave way to downpours within minutes of each other. On Friday night patches of rain drove a few people away from Scottish indie-rockers Franz Ferdinand's set. Do You Want To and Take Me Out proved to be the crowd-pleasing moments, with the latter seeing the crowd dancing and clapping along in unison.
The set finished with a scorching rendition of
This Fire, the only disappointment being the lack of an encore.
On Sunday Phill Jupitus was joined on stage by Marcus Brigstocke and Ross Noble - who both hosted their own shows at other times over the weekend - for a sometimes-hilarious hour of improvisation. On Saturday Bill Bailey performed to an audience thousands strong, only a small proportion of which could actually see him.
And the night was rounded off with Interpol, with Nick Cave's band Grinderman and Debbie Harry's Blondie going head-to-head on different stages immediately beforehand to help bring the night to a triumphant conclusion.
But it was Elbow who summed up the weekend with a triumphant set as the sun went down and the clouds went pink. They finished with a rousing rendition of a Day Like This, whose chorus ran “Well anyway, It's looking like a beautiful day”. The song was note-perfect, the rain was forgotten and the words seemed absolutely true.
On Monday, as the clean-up began, organisers said Latitude had cemented itself on the festival map after organisers hailed this year's show the “best one yet”.
Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, which runs the event, said: “I was really, really pleased with the show. I feel it hit all the right marks. Unquestionably the best one yet.”
Mr Benn said the event would be back next year and would be a firm fixture in the festival calendar for many years to come. He said: “We came of age. We are quite a young show and I felt we got a lot of things right. We were providing something that I think the public appreciated.
“We're definitely coming back next year - we are already beginning the planning - and we will be coming back for years to come.”
Mr Benn, who founded Latitude, said people he had spoken to over the weekend had been full of praise for the event. He said: “People were saying it was magical - the best festival they had ever been to.”
But some festival-goers, and visitors to the area who did not attend Latitude, had problems getting trains home. Hugh Hales, from Halesworth, said his partner had to stand on his way to London.
He said: “I put my partner on his regular train back to London from Halesworth to find a two- carriage coach packed to capacity. He sent me a text saying the train was so full they were unable to pick up any more passengers after Saxmundham.”
Mr Benn said he was disappointed to hear of the problems and had spoken to train operators in the build-up to the festival. He said:
“We did as much as we
could in terms of trying to assist and ensure people could get to and from the event, but there is a limit to what we can do. We can only hope to influence.”
National Express East Anglia said it did put extra coaches on train services from Ipswich and also ran extra buses between Ipswich and the festival site.
Thieves were out in force at this year's Latitude festival, according to figures released by police on Tuesday. By 2pm on Friday, more than 80 thefts had been reported to officers, and in total, police received reports of more than 100 thefts during the course of the weekend's festivities - which is usually the total number of crimes reported in Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold in a month.
A spokesman said: “Officers say they are disappointed with the number of crimes, especially following the increased security measures that were put in place by organisers after last year's event.”