Thousands of revelers descended on the festival site Saturday for Latitude’s third day as music lovers plunged into a lake, practiced yoga or listened to their favorite bands.
Festival-goers can enjoy sets by Rudimental, Sea Girls, Nadia Rose and Kawala on Saturday night without masks or social distancing, as densely packed crowds dance to the upbeat music.
The four-day festival, which is part of the National Government’s Research Events Programme, is visited by 40,000 people.
Festival-goers must show evidence of a negative Covid-19 test or have been double vaccinated to access the site in Suffolk’s Henham Park, which also has its own pop-up vaccination clinic.
Photos show revelers taking a zen moment with a bit of yoga or a quick dip in the lake between drinks and musical acts. For those into comedy, Kerry Godliman and Katherine Ryan will today feature a marquee devoted to British and Irish comics.
Headliners The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club were booked to perform at the event.
Yesterday festival-goer Rebecca Watson, 32, a creative director from London, who carried her nine-month-old daughter Minnie in a baby carrier on her stomach, said: ‘It’s just great, isn’t it? It is awesome. And also for Minnie, because she’s never seen this before. It’s so good to see people, and happiness. I think this is the tonic everyone needed at the end of last year.’
Festival-goers (pictured) can enjoy sets by Rudimental, Sea Girls, Nadia Rose and Kawala on Saturday night without masks or social distancing, as tightly packed crowds dance to the upbeat music
Photos show revelers taking a zen moment with a bit of yoga in the Mind, Body and Zen space at the festival
Crowds donned their swimsuits for a swim in Lake Henham Park, the festival site
Kris Spandler, 31, from Brighton, who is working on a booth at the festival, said: ‘It feels great.
“Last night was a great feeling, everyone back together.
“The feeling of the energy of everyone just enjoying each other’s company, watching and listening to a live act, when a crowd reacts instead of watching something at home for a year and a half.”
He said the festival feels “safe so far” and added: “Everyone approaches it that way. Everyone seems happy so far.’
Jason Appel, a 45-year-old accountant from North London, said: ‘It feels great, it was really fun, really happy when we walked in.
“Overall, just nice to feel like you’re in some sort of sanctuary, I guess. I think if you came to a festival in the first place, you want to be in a place like this, so it just feels right to me.’
University staffer Stephen Matthews, 50, from Wivenhoe, near Colchester in Essex, said it felt “a little strange” to be at a festival again.
Festival-goers grinned as they enjoyed the freedom of pre-pandemic conditions, pushing together and wearing no masks
A festival-goer makes bubbles at the Latitude festival dressed in fairy wings while enjoying the event
Fans enjoy Supergrass on the Obelisk stage at Latitude Festival. The event is “nearly the safest place in England,” the organizer said when the Suffolk event kicked off on Thursday.
Thousands of people crowded through the center of the festival site enjoying food and drinks in between acts acts
A movement session saw festival goers dancing in the middle of the field surrounded by colorful ribbons
“It’s a little strange,” he said. “Very happy overall, but being in a crowd for the first time last night was a little strange, and it was quite strange to feel people very close to you.”
‘But good to hear live music. I think it’s safe, but I think there’s a natural fear, just because we’re not used to it.’
Latitude festival is ‘almost the safest place in England’, the organizer said as the event kicked off in Suffolk on Thursday.
Melvin Benn, director of the Festival Republic group, told Sky News he felt “very relaxed, not anxious at all” as the four-day music event kicked off.
He said: ‘I’m really happy and very relaxed. I hope I look relaxed, I feel very relaxed.
‘We had a great evening last night. It was a big party. None of the main acts played, but there is a lot going on in the woods, on the lake and in the theater area.
‘I am very relaxed, not anxious at all. It’s probably that close to the safest place in England today.’
One group enjoyed a ride in a punt boat while others stood on a pier enjoying the water views in Henham Park
Festival goers Jenna Goudswaard and Rachel Whitford at Latitude on Saturday. The friends stood out in colorful sequins
In the Mind, Body and Zen section of the festival, revelers took a break from drinking and enjoying the music
Crowds of festival-goers made their way across the site and sat on the grass at Latitude on Saturday
Two acts – Irish band Fontaines DC and singer-songwriter Alfie Templeman – had to withdraw from the festival after positive Covid-19 tests.
Mr Benn said it was a ‘pity’ they couldn’t perform, but suggested the program hadn’t been badly affected.
He said: ‘I think most of them (the acts) exist in a little bubble until they manage to come and play.
“We lost a few, but there were people waiting to come and play, so we were able to replace them.
“It was a real shame for Alfie and for Fontaines and some people would have come especially for them – not just for them, but they were really looking forward to it.
“But I think we have good replacements and the festival in general is just worth stopping completely.”
Festival Republic, which also hosts the heavy rock event Download, booked mostly British and Irish acts for Latitude due to travel complications during the pandemic.
Camilla Staveley-Taylor of the indie folk trio The Staves, who will be performing at the festival, told Sky News: “There’s nothing like feeling the energy of a group of people and sharing an experience together.
‘Festivals are times 10 because there are so many people together and there is such a sense of unity and that has been so missed in the past year.’
Festival-goers must show evidence of a negative Covid-19 test or have been double vaccinated to access the site at Henham Park in Suffolk
Festival-goers arrived at the event on Thursday during the heat wave, but temperatures spiraled downward today. Earlier this month, organizers said a number of ministers and MPs will attend the event.
Labor MP Jess Phillips will speak on the festival’s Listening Post today.
Social distancing measures were lifted in England on Monday, meaning music festivals can continue, but some events, including Glastonbury and Womad, have been canceled for 2021.
Elsewhere, Wilderness festival organizer Rory Bett told Jo Wiley on Radio 2 that the event struggled to find enough portable toilets and scaffolding after it was picked up by Covid testing centres.
Speaking about the difficulties festivals faced this year, he said: ‘The main issues we have had to overcome is simply the uncertainty of whether we would have a hard time actually operating – many festivals had to be canceled due to either a lack of insurance or just the fact that the government was a bit vague about whether we could actually open etc.
‘But we really only needed green light. We’ve all tried our best to do this…
“I think some of the other issues over the past 18 months have been more circumstantial. The government has secured much of our infrastructure in the test centers – whether that’s scaffolding or toilets or personnel or security.’
Tens of thousands of revelers attending the Latitude Festival in Suffolk this weekend will be offered a Covid vaccine.
Festival-goers who have not yet had a vaccine or received their first eight weeks ago can be pinned aboard an NHS bus at the campsite.