A guinea pig in the Latitude 'lab': SARAH OLIVER joins 40,000 revellers at ...

A guinea pig in the Latitude 'lab': SARAH OLIVER joins 40,000 revellers at ...
A guinea pig in the Latitude 'lab': SARAH OLIVER joins 40,000 revellers at ...

I’m wearing wipe-clean Birkenstock sandals and buckling under a rucksack that contains a weekend’s worth of camping stuff – enough bangers and beans, it seems, to make breakfast for all the 39,999 other people at the Latitude Festival.

Here at Henham Park, Suffolk, we’re partying together like it’s, well, like it’s 2021 and we’ve all been locked up for 16 months.

Latitude is the first full-capacity camping event to be held anywhere in the world since the start of the pandemic, believes festival boss Melvin Benn. 

It’s the first mass gathering in Britain since Freedom Day, July 19.

But as well as being a flagship freedom event, it’s also a vast laboratory and we are the human guinea pigs.

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Sarah Oliver (pictured) is one of 40,000 to attend the Latitude Festival in Suffolk this weekend

Sarah Oliver (pictured) is one of 40,000 to attend the Latitude Festival in Suffolk this weekend

This is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, working out how Covid-era entertainment and sports events can go ahead safely.

No one gets into Latitude without having been double-jabbed or testing negative for Covid. 

Yesterday, courtesy of an NHS bus, you could get vaccinated after Supergrass at lunchtime and before the Saturday night headliners, The Chemical Brothers, if you wanted.

The result is a four-day sell-out crowd with no facemasks, no social distancing and a lot of ‘arms in the air like you just don’t care’. (You can still buy a facemask decorated with Latitude’s iconic pink sheep – dyed annually for the event – but they’re reduced to half price as there are so few takers.)

This being Latitude, often nicknamed ‘Latte-tude’ for its middle-class family atmosphere, the early-morning queue for the showers is as long as the one for hip band Wet Leg. 

But queues and closely packed crowds there are; people hugger-mugger; keeping happy company with complete strangers.

The first song of the first set on the main stage on Friday had an instant mosh pit. ‘I love it,’ said singer Lynks. 

‘There are no words. No words,’ said Ellie Rowsell, lead singer of Wolf Alice, headlining later that night as

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