Goodbye social distancing! Thousands descend on Latitude festival

Thousands of revellers enjoyed the return of Latitude Festival on Friday, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted. 

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice on Friday evening with no masks or social distancing as tightly packed crowds of people dancing 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.

Headliners The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club will perform at the event.   

Thousands of revellers enjoyed the return of Latitude Festival with sets from Declan McKenna, Wolf Alice, and Mabel on Friday in the first major music event since before the pandemic began

Thousands of revellers enjoyed the return of Latitude Festival with sets from Declan McKenna, Wolf Alice, and Mabel on Friday in the first major music event since before the pandemic began

Thousands of revellers enjoyed the return of Latitude Festival with sets from Declan McKenna, Wolf Alice, and Mabel on Friday in the first major music event since before the pandemic began

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, is packed with 40,000 people in the first major event since social distancing was scrapped on Monday

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, is packed with 40,000 people in the first major event since social distancing was scrapped on Monday

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, is packed with 40,000 people in the first major event since social distancing was scrapped on Monday

Revellers took part in a mass Disco Yoga session at Latitude Festival on Friday, the first major music event since the pandemic

Revellers took part in a mass Disco Yoga session at Latitude Festival on Friday, the first major music event since the pandemic

Revellers took part in a mass Disco Yoga session at Latitude Festival on Friday, the first major music event since the pandemic

Festivalgoers dressed up in bright colours as they descended on Latitude Festival, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted

Festivalgoers dressed up in bright colours as they descended on Latitude Festival, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted

Festivalgoers dressed up in bright colours as they descended on Latitude Festival, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted

Revellers looked happy to be back at a mass festival on Friday as they soaked up the last of a heatwave ahead of storms forecast over the weekend

Revellers looked happy to be back at a mass festival on Friday as they soaked up the last of a heatwave ahead of storms forecast over the weekend

Revellers looked happy to be back at a mass festival on Friday as they soaked up the last of a heatwave ahead of storms forecast over the weekend

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice on Friday evening, with tightly packed crowds of people dancing along to the upbeat music

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice on Friday evening, with tightly packed crowds of people dancing along to the upbeat music

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice on Friday evening, with tightly packed crowds of people dancing along to the upbeat music

Festival goers enjoyed performances by Declan McKenna, Mabel, and Wolf Alice at Latitude Festival as the first major music event since the pandemic began got underway

Festival goers enjoyed performances by Declan McKenna, Mabel, and Wolf Alice at Latitude Festival as the first major music event since the pandemic began got underway

Festival goers enjoyed performances by Declan McKenna, Mabel, and Wolf Alice at Latitude Festival as the first major music event since the pandemic began got underway

Revellers enjoyed a performance by Lynks at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk, as the long-await event got started

Revellers enjoyed a performance by Lynks at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk, as the long-await event got started

Revellers enjoyed a performance by Lynks at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk, as the long-await event got started

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.’

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.’ 

Two festivalgoers enjoy the view above the crowd as they watch Maisie Peters on the Obelisk Stage at Latitude Festival on Friday

Two festivalgoers enjoy the view above the crowd as they watch Maisie Peters on the Obelisk Stage at Latitude Festival on Friday

Two festivalgoers enjoy the view above the crowd as they watch Maisie Peters on the Obelisk Stage at Latitude Festival on Friday

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice at Latitude festival on Friday evening

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice at Latitude festival on Friday evening

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice at Latitude festival on Friday evening

Wolf Alice put on a colourful performance, bathing the stage in green, red, blue, and white lights as the band dazzled the audience

Wolf Alice put on a colourful performance, bathing the stage in green, red, blue, and white lights as the band dazzled the audience

Wolf Alice put on a colourful performance, bathing the stage in green, red, blue, and white lights as the band dazzled the audience

Thousands of people packed into the main stage to watch headliner Wolf Alice as Latitude festival got underway on Friday night

Thousands of people packed into the main stage to watch headliner Wolf Alice as Latitude festival got underway on Friday night

Thousands of people packed into the main stage to watch headliner Wolf Alice as Latitude festival got underway on Friday night

British singer Mabel was among Friday nights performers, with the main stage headed by alternative rock band Wolf Alice

British singer Mabel was among Friday nights performers, with the main stage headed by alternative rock band Wolf Alice

British singer Mabel was among Friday nights performers, with the main stage headed by alternative rock band Wolf Alice

Mabel made an impression with her luminescent yellow and black mesh outfit as she was joined on stage by four backing dancers during her Latitude Festival set on Friday

Mabel made an impression with her luminescent yellow and black mesh outfit as she was joined on stage by four backing dancers during her Latitude Festival set on Friday

Mabel made an impression with her luminescent yellow and black mesh outfit as she was joined on stage by four backing dancers during her Latitude Festival set on Friday

Maisie Peters performs at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions ended on Monday

Maisie Peters performs at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions ended on Monday

Maisie Peters performs at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions ended on Monday

Thousands of festivalgoers enjoyed a performance by Maisie Peters on the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival on Friday

Thousands of festivalgoers enjoyed a performance by Maisie Peters on the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival on Friday

Thousands of festivalgoers enjoyed a performance by Maisie Peters on the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival on Friday

At least 40,000 people have flocked to Henham Park, Southwold, for Latitude Festival, the first major music event since the pandemic started last year

At least 40,000 people have flocked to Henham Park, Southwold, for Latitude Festival, the first major music event since the pandemic started last year

At least 40,000 people have flocked to Henham Park, Southwold, for Latitude Festival, the first major music event since the pandemic started last year

Revellers enjoyed the sunshine at Latitude Festival in Suffolk on Friday ahead of heavy rain and storms forecast over the weekend

Revellers enjoyed the sunshine at Latitude Festival in Suffolk on Friday ahead of heavy rain and storms forecast over the weekend

Revellers enjoyed the sunshine at Latitude Festival in Suffolk on Friday ahead of heavy rain and storms forecast over the weekend

Festival goers enjoy the 'Mind, Body & Zen' area at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted gets underway

Festival goers enjoy the 'Mind, Body & Zen' area at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted gets underway

Festival goers enjoy the ‘Mind, Body & Zen’ area at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted gets underway

Revellers look delighted to be back at Latitude festival as the four-day event, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, got underway on Friday

Revellers look delighted to be back at Latitude festival as the four-day event, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, got underway on Friday

Revellers look delighted to be back at Latitude festival as the four-day event, which is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, got underway on Friday

Festival goers watch a performance by Declan McKenna at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold

Festival goers watch a performance by Declan McKenna at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold

Festival goers watch a performance by Declan McKenna at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold

A tired festivalgoer takes a nap on a camp chair after the first night of Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Southwold, on Friday

A tired festivalgoer takes a nap on a camp chair after the first night of Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Southwold, on Friday

A tired festivalgoer takes a nap on a camp chair after the first night of Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Southwold, on Friday

Thousands of partygoers packed into the main stage at Latitude Festival on Friday to watch British singer Mabel perform

Thousands of partygoers packed into the main stage at Latitude Festival on Friday to watch British singer Mabel perform

Thousands of partygoers packed into the main stage at Latitude Festival on Friday to watch British singer Mabel perform 

Thousands of people have descended on Latitude festival, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were eased on Monday

Thousands of people have descended on Latitude festival, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were eased on Monday

Thousands of people have descended on Latitude festival, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were eased on Monday

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.

‘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.’ 

Thousands of revellers enjoyed the return of Latitude Festival on Friday, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted

Thousands of revellers enjoyed the return of Latitude Festival on Friday, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted

 Thousands of revellers enjoyed the return of Latitude Festival on Friday, the first major music event since Covid restrictions were lifted

Revellers look delighted to be back at Latitude festival as the four-day event, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, got underway on Friday

Revellers look delighted to be back at Latitude festival as the four-day event, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, got underway on Friday

Revellers look delighted to be back at Latitude festival as the four-day event, which is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, got underway on Friday

Festivalgoers watch a performance of Declan McKenna at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival as the event got underway on Friday

Festivalgoers watch a performance of Declan McKenna at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival as the event got underway on Friday

Festivalgoers watch a performance of Declan McKenna at the Obelisk Arena at Latitude Festival as the event got underway on Friday

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice on Friday evening with no masks or social distancing as tightly packed crowds of people dancing along to the upbeat music.

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice on Friday evening with no masks or social distancing as tightly packed crowds of people dancing along to the upbeat music.

Festivalgoers enjoyed sets by Mabel, Maisie Peters, Declan McKenna, and headliner Wolf Alice on Friday evening with no masks or social distancing as tightly packed crowds of people dancing along to the upbeat music.

People attending Latitude — which is the first music event of the year in the world to operate at full capacity — have to show proof they have been double-jabbed, a negative lateral flow test or a positive Covid immunity tests taken in the last five months

People attending Latitude — which is the first music event of the year in the world to operate at full capacity — have to show proof they have been double-jabbed, a negative lateral flow test or a positive Covid immunity tests taken in the last five months

People attending Latitude — which is the first music event of the year in the world to operate at full capacity — have to show proof they have been double-jabbed, a negative lateral flow test or a positive Covid immunity tests taken in the last five months

A worker carries bags of waste on the second day of Latitude Festival on Friday as 40,000 revellers enjoy the return of mass music events

A worker carries bags of waste on the second day of Latitude Festival on Friday as 40,000 revellers enjoy the return of mass music events

A worker carries bags of waste on the second day of Latitude Festival on Friday as 40,000 revellers enjoy the return of mass music events

Revellers enjoyed the sun at Latitude Festival on Friday ahead of rain and storms forecast over the weekend as the heatwave comes to an abrupt end

Revellers enjoyed the sun at Latitude Festival on Friday ahead of rain and storms forecast over the weekend as the heatwave comes to an abrupt end

Revellers enjoyed the sun at Latitude Festival on Friday ahead of rain and storms forecast over the weekend as the heatwave comes to an abrupt end

Festivalgoers sported butterfly costumers at Latitude Festival on Friday, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions ended got underway

Festivalgoers sported butterfly costumers at Latitude Festival on Friday, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions ended got underway

Festivalgoers sported butterfly costumers at Latitude Festival on Friday, as the first major music event since Covid restrictions ended got underway

Latitude festival is ‘close to being the safest place in England today’, its organiser said as the Suffolk event began. 

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 gets 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.’

Two acts – Irish band Fontaines DC and singer-songwriter Alfie Templeman – have been forced to pull out of appearing at the festival after positive Covid-19 tests.

Mr Benn said it is a ‘shame’ they cannot perform but he suggested the programme has 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.’

Revellers at the Latitude Festival have spoken about the 'amazing feeling' of being at the first major music event since before the pandemic began

Revellers at the Latitude Festival have spoken about the 'amazing feeling' of being at the first major music event since before the pandemic began

Revellers at the Latitude Festival have spoken about the ‘amazing feeling’ of being at the first major music event since before the pandemic began

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, is expected to be attended by 40,000 people

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, is expected to be attended by 40,000 people

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, is expected to be attended by 40,000 people

Festival Republic, which also runs heavy rock event Download, mainly booked British and Irish acts for Latitude due to travel complications amid the pandemic

Festival Republic, which also runs heavy rock event Download, mainly booked British and Irish acts for Latitude due to travel complications amid the pandemic

Festival Republic, which also runs heavy rock event Download, mainly booked British and Irish acts for Latitude due to travel complications amid the pandemic

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

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

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

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NHS staff have been encouraging people to visit the bus and expect a surge of visitors on Sunday once the festival is over

Festivalgoers must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test or be double vaccinated to access the site at Henham Park in Suffolk

Festivalgoers must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test or be double vaccinated to access the site at Henham Park in Suffolk

Festivalgoers must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test or be double vaccinated to access the site at Henham Park in Suffolk

Headliners Wolf Alice, The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club will perform at the event

Headliners Wolf Alice, The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club will perform at the event

Headliners Wolf Alice, The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club will perform at the event

Latitude festival is 'close to being the safest place in England today', its organiser said as the event begins in Suffolk

Latitude festival is 'close to being the safest place in England today', its organiser said as the event begins in Suffolk

Latitude festival is ‘close to being the safest place in England today’, its organiser said as the event begins in Suffolk

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, is expected to be attended by 40,000 people

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government's Events Research Programme, is expected to be attended by 40,000 people

The four-day festival, which is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, is expected to be attended by 40,000 people

Festivalgoers arrived at the event on Thursday amid the heatwave but the Met Office has warned the high temperatures are not set to last through the weekend. 

Earlier this month, the organisers said a number of ministers and MPs will be among the crowds at the event.

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, yesterday told Jo Wiley on Radio 2 that the event had been struggling to find enough portable toilets and scaffolding after being snapped at 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.  

Link hienalouca.com

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