Thousands of revellers descended on the festival site for the third day of Latitude on Saturday as music lovers dived into a lake, took part in yoga or listened to their favourite bands.
Festivalgoers will get to enjoy sets by Rudimental, Sea Girls, Nadia Rose and Kawala on Saturday evening with no masks or social distancing as tightly packed crowds of people dance along to the upbeat music.
The four-day festival, which is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, is being attended by 40,000 people.
Festivalgoers must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test or be double vaccinated to access the site at Henham Park in Suffolk which also boasts its own pop-up vaccination clinic.
Photographs show revellers taking a zen moment with a spot of yoga or a quick dip in the lake inbetween drinks and musical acts. For those who love comedy, a tent dedicated to British and Irish-based comics will today feature Kerry Godliman and Katherine Ryan.
Headliners The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club were booked to perform at the event.
Yesterday, festivalgoer Rebecca Watson, 32, a creative director from London, who had her nine-month-old daughter Minnie in a baby carrier on her front, said: ‘It’s just amazing, isn’t it? It’s great. And also for Minnie, as she’s never seen any of this before. It’s so good to see people, and happiness. I think it’s the tonic everyone needed at the end of last year.’
Festivalgoers (pictured) will get to enjoy sets by Rudimental, Sea Girls, Nadia Rose and Kawala on Saturday evening with no masks or social distancing as tightly packed crowds of people dance along to the upbeat music
Photographs show revellers taking a zen moment with a spot of yoga at the Mind, Body and Zen area at the festival
Crowds donned their swimming costumes for a dip in the lake at Henham Park, the festival site
Kris Spandler, 31, of Brighton, who is working on a stand at the festival, said: ‘It feels amazing.
‘Last night was an amazing feeling, everyone back together again.
‘The feeling of the energy of everybody just enjoying each other’s company, watching a live act and listening, reacting as a crowd rather than just watching something at home for one-and-a-half years.’
He said the festival feels ‘safe so far’, adding: ‘Everyone’s approaching it like that. Everyone seems happy so far.’
Jason Appel, a 45-year-old accountant from north London, said: ‘It feels great, it was really nice, really happy when we walked in.
‘Just generally nice to feel like you’re in a bit of a sanctuary, I think. I think if you’ve come to a festival in the first place you’re going to want to be in a place like this so for me it’s felt absolutely fine.’
University worker Stephen Matthews, 50, from Wivenhoe, near Colchester in Essex, said it felt a ‘little bit odd’ to be back at a festival.
Festival goers grinned as they enjoyed the freedom of pre-pandemic conditions, crowding together and not wearing masks
A festival attendee creates bubbles at Latitude festival while dressed in fairy wings as she enjoyed the event
Fans enjoy Supergrass at the Obelisk stage at Latitude Festival. The event is ‘close to being the safest place in England’, its organiser said as the Suffolk event began on Thursday
Thousands of people crowded through the centre of the festival grounds as they enjoyed food and drink between acts
A movement session saw festival-goers dancing in the middle of the field surrounded by colourful ribbons
‘It’s a little bit odd,’ he said. ‘Very happy in general, but standing in a crowd for the first time last night was a little bit strange, and feeling people come quite close to you was quite strange.
‘But good to hear live music. I think it is safe but I think there’s a natural anxiety there just because we’re not used to it.’
Latitude festival is ‘close to being the safest place in England’, its organiser said as the Suffolk event began on Thursday.
Melvin Benn, managing director of the Festival Republic group, told Sky News he felt ‘very relaxed, not anxious at all’ as the four-day music event got under way.
He said: ‘I am really very happy and very relaxed. I hope I look relaxed, I feel very relaxed.
‘We had a great night last night. It was a huge party. None of the main stage acts were playing but there is a lot going on in the woods, on the lake and in the theatre area.
‘I’m very relaxed, not anxious at all. It is probably as close to being the safest place in England today really.’
A group enjoyed a ride in a punting boat while others stood on a pier to enjoy views of the water in Henham Park
Festival-goers Jenna Goudswaard and Rachel Whitford at Latitude on Saturday. The friends stood out in colourful sequins
Two acts – Irish band Fontaines DC and singer-songwriter Alfie Templeman – were forced to pull out of appearing at the festival after positive Covid-19 tests.
Mr Benn said it was a ‘shame’ they could not perform but he suggested the programme had not been badly affected.
He said: ‘I think most of them (the acts) are existing in a little bubble until they have managed to come and play.
‘We did lose a couple but there were people standing by waiting to come and play, so we have managed to replace them.
‘It was a real shame for Alfie and for Fontaines and some people would have been coming just for them – not just for them but were really looking forward to them.
‘But I think we have got good replacements and the festival overall is just worth coming to full stop.’
Festival Republic, which also runs heavy rock event Download, mainly booked British and Irish acts for Latitude due to travel complications amid the pandemic.
Camilla Staveley-Taylor from indie folk trio The Staves, who are due to perform at the festival, told Sky News: ‘There is nothing like feeling the energy from a group of people and sharing in an experience together.
‘Festivals are that times 10 because there are so many people gathered together and there is such a sense of unity and that has been so missing in the last year.’
Festivalgoers must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test or be double vaccinated to access the site at Henham Park in Suffolk
Festivalgoers arrived at the event on Thursday amid the heatwave but temperatures went on a downhill spiral today. Earlier this month, the organisers said a number of ministers and MPs will be among the crowds at the event.
Labour MP Jess Phillips is set to speak at the festival’s Listening Post today.
Social distancing measures were lifted in England on Monday meaning music festivals can go ahead, however some events including Glastonbury and Womad have been cancelled for 2021.
Elsewhere, Rory Bett, organiser of the Wilderness festival, told Jo Wiley on Radio 2 the event had been struggling to find enough portable toilets and scaffolding after being snapped up by Covid testing centres.
Speaking about the difficulties festivals had faced this year, he said: ‘The most important problems we have had to overcome is just the uncertainty of whether we were going to be bale to actually operate – a lot of festivals have had to cancelled due to either a lack of insurance or just the fact the Government were being slightly vague about whether we could actually open etc etc.
‘But really all we needed was the green light. We’ve all been straining at the leash to do this…
‘I think some of the other problems have been more circumstantial due to the last 18 months. The government have a lot of our infrastructure tied up in the testing centres – be that scaffolding or toilets or staff or security.’
Tens of thousands of revellers attending Latitude Festival in Suffolk this weekend will be offered a Covid vaccine.
Festivalgoers who have not yet had a vaccine or received their first eight weeks ago will be able to get jabbed on board an NHS bus within the campsite.