Latitude Festival boss: “We’re very excited – it’s really happening”

Latitude Festival boss Melvin Benn has said he’s “very confident” that the festival will go ahead this year.

The four-day event, which is set to be headlined by Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club, Wolf Alice and The Chemical Brothers, is scheduled to take place at Henham Park in Suffolk from July 23 – four days after the government expects to do away with all lockdown measures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this week (June 14) that the easing of coronavirus restrictions – originally scheduled for June 21 – would be delayed by a month to July 19.

While some festival organisers are worried that the government might push the date back again, Benn, who is managing director of Festival Republic and has also organised this weekend’s Download Festival pilot event, is confident Latitude will proceed after he was involved in talks with the government.

Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn. Credit: Ben Bentley for NME
Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn. CREDIT: Ben Bentley for NME

“I promised you an update before the end of the week and thank heavens I’m able to do that,” Benn said in a statement shared with NME.

“It’s been a long week after the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday and while I was disappointed in the immediate aftermath of the statement, on reflection, I think it actually gives much more certainty of Latitude being able happen than if he had loosened things on Monday because the country will have strangled the variant’s ability to spread to a greater degree through increased vaccination than if we had opened fully this coming Monday.

“So, for much of the week I have been in conversation with the Government on Latitude in particular and I’m very confident after those talks that Latitude will be allowed to go ahead. There will be more detail on the specifics next week but with this in mind, we will be announcing even more artists and day splits tomorrow as a demonstration of my confidence.”

He concluded: “More details will follow but we’ll 100 per cent keep you updated every step of the way.

“We’re very excited – it’s really happening!”

Meanwhile, campers are arriving at Donington Park today (June 18) for the Download pilot, the UK’s first camping festival since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 10,000-capacity event, set to be headlined by Bullet For My Valentine, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Enter Shikari, sees the legendary rock festival make a small-scale return for a three-day camping pilot as part of ongoing research into the safe return of live music.