Some of the world’s most talented singers, comedians and performers took to stages in the fields of Henham Park, near Southwold, yesterday as the first full afternoon and evening of entertainment at Latitude Festival took place.

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The arts festival welcomed 34,000 people as they enjoyed the huge range of music, film, theatre and poetry on offer.

Campers who had danced in the rain until 3am to a DJ set from TV and radio star Dermot O’Leary, woke to the sight of patches of blue sky but the threatening clouds did not bring the heavy rain many had feared.

Headlining the Obelisk Arena was American folk band Bon Iver, with electronic act Metronomy and soul musician Janelle Monae performing ahead of them.

In the Word Arena, White Lies and Lana Del Rey proved popular, while there was a large crowd for Tim Minchin when he performed in the comedy arena.

Across the festival site there was a wide range to experience with Simon Armitage in the poetry arena and a graduate fashion show catching the eye at the Waterfront Stage.

Culture Works East, a Norwich group offering a range of fashion, music and journalism workshops for 12- to 17-year-olds, found their Inbetweeners stage popular and said they had filled six of their classes by midday yesterday.

Parent Lisa Butler, of Tattingstone, near Ipswich, said: “This is brilliant because it provides activities but also an educational side, which is good as to have two days off school our children have to keep a diary and show what they have learnt.”

Festival founder Melvin Benn said he was very happy with the start to the festival and said it was shaping up to be the best yet.

Speaking yesterday, he said: “We opened on time and it has the feel of a Saturday about it because quite often on the first day there is lots of firefighting, but there hasn’t been much of that. It feels settled, which is very nice.”

Mr Benn took part in the charity cycle ride Tour de Latitude on Thursday, which saw 145 people cycle three different length routes to the festival to raise nearly £15,000 for the Kenyan Orphan Project and Julie’s Bicycle.

“It was a delight. There were some incredibly good cyclists and some incredibly bad cyclists but everyone completed it,” he said.

Mr Benn said that the park had coped well with the wet weather on Thursday night and highlighted the amount of woodchip and the site’s good draining as helping cope with the conditions.

“The forecast had been pretty bad but I think we have got away with it,” he said.

“I think there will be some showers tomorrow, but I think we have really broken the back of it.”

Forecaster Dan Holley, of Weatherquest, said he expected the weather to continue to be mixed.

He said there could be one or two sharp showers today with temperatures reaching up to 18C.

He added that the best day would be tomorrow with dry conditions and patches of sun.

Today is a 35,000 sell-out, while a further 34,000 are expected through the gates tomorrow.

Elbow are due to headline the Obelisk Arena tonight and their performance is believed to be complete with a firework display and a 25ft stage thrust for lead singer Guy Garvey.

richard.wood@archant.co.uk

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