John Sturgis

Latitude 2021: the long-awaited taste of freedom

  • From Spectator Life

There was a palpable feeling of freedom in Henham Park, Suffolk over the weekend – as masks disappeared and social distancing was replaced by dancing. For a blissful 72 hours, Covid was all but forgotten as Latitude became the first major festival to return in nearly two years.

And even if the cost of that freedom was £6.00 for a pint of not-quite-cold Carlsberg in a plastic cup, it still felt worth paying for this three day party in a field.

As Katherine Ryan put it: ‘I feel so free! The only way I could feel freer was if I was Britney Spears and I just heard my Dad had died.’

That sense of freedom may have been enhanced for some: the Saturday night headliners, The Chemical Brothers, appeared to have inspired some in the audience to reach for pharmaceutical assistance and the resulting dancing was quite lively.

Their thunderous sound and spectacular light show was the centrepiece of the weekend – anticipating the actual thunder and lightning that forecasters had predicted by several hours.

katherine_ryan_latitude.jpg
Katherine Ryan at Latitude

In the event those storm warnings were overstated: there was a light drizzle in the night but it only affected the most committed of those Chemical Brothers fans who were still up at 5am.

The rest of us had turned in when the, well, guilty pleasure of early hours dancing to the likes of Whitney and Madonna at the late night Guilty Pleasures disco wound up.

By Sunday afternoon the only danger from the weather was from sunburn, as festival goers looked incredulously at their phones for reports of more flooding in London, just 100 miles south.

This increased the feeling that the 40,000 here were blessed.

The turnout for Sleaford Mods on at the same time The Chemical Brothers in the BBC Sounds tent next door was tiny in comparison though they too were, as they say, banging.

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