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Latitude Festival returns to Henham Park but was the 'Government test event' a hit or a miss?




As 40,000 people descended on Henham Park, it's a fair bet many of them were doing so with some trepidation.

Latitude is one of the few survivors of a summer festival season brought to its knees by Covid.

The words 'festival' and 'Government test event' are uneasy bedfellows and there were questions over just how much restrictions may impede the fun and spontaneity.

Festivalgoers arrive at the Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk, on Thursday (Jacob King/PA) (49549257)
Festivalgoers arrive at the Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk, on Thursday (Jacob King/PA) (49549257)

The answer? Not a jot.

Aside from either showing a negative lateral flow test or proof of double vaccination at the gate, it was business as usual inside.

That meant huge crowds, queues to be served at the bar and moshpits - it was like the last two years had been a bad dream.

Plenty of fun for children and adults. (49549451)
Plenty of fun for children and adults. (49549451)

All the usual Latitude essentials were in place, from the pink sheep to the plethora of family-friendly events.

Only the lack of international acts on the bill was reminder of the challenging times we are still living through.

Friday night headliners Wolf Alice were clearly as delighted as the crowd to be back on stage, drawing the day's biggest crowd to the Obelisk arena.

Wolf Alice were a big hit with the crowds. (49549498)
Wolf Alice were a big hit with the crowds. (49549498)

Damon Albarn perplexed all those drawn to the Waterfront stage with a set free of anything by Blur or Gorillaz.

Saturday was notably busier, with an influx of day ticket holders swelling the crowd.

Highlights included a crowd-pleasing afternoon set by a reformed Supergrass and the ever-popular Rudimental.

The view from the ferris wheel. (49550020)
The view from the ferris wheel. (49550020)

Chemical Brothers were predictability the day's biggest draw, although some of the crowd began drifting away as the first rain of the weekend fell.

In the event it was a passing shower and Sunday saw more glorious sunshine ahead of performances by Bastille and Kaiser Chiefs.

As ever at Latitude, some of the gems were to be found on the edges of the site, in areas like the Trailer Park.

There were fewer secret sets than previous years - a surprise set by the fittingly-named Vaccines was the biggest unannounced appearance.

That aside, Latitude was another fantastic weekend and a hopeful sign that better days are around the corner.

Latitude continues today at Henham Park, near Southwold.

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