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Latitude festival takes plunge with lake swimming offer

Published 17/07/2015

The Latitude festival takes place at Henham Park in Suffolk
The Latitude festival takes place at Henham Park in Suffolk

Music lovers have been invited to take the plunge at this year's Latitude festival as organisers offered the chance to swim outdoors.

About 30,000 people are expected to attend the arts and music festival at Henham Park in Suffolk this weekend. Major acts include former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, cult band Portishead and indie rockers Alt-J.

As well as the usual highlights, the public will be invited to swim in the park's natural lake for the first time this year.

It is one of a number of new attractions, along with the Solas arena which offers weary revellers the opportunity to enjoy a hot-tub or massage.

Up to 100 people at a time can swim in the lake and many of the early arrivals could last night be seen enjoying the water.

As well as being able to go for a quick dip, festival-goers can also join a guided adventure swim deep into the country park's grounds each morning.

With temperatures expected to top 20C over the course of the weekend event, long queues are expected.

Susan Reynolds, the manager in charge of the lake, said she believed it was a first for a UK music festival.

She added: "We've been trying to get this on the go for a few years because of the rise in popularity of open water swimming.

"In previous years they've tried to stop people going in the lake but now we're trying to actively encourage it with all the lifeguards in place to ensure people are safe.

"Latitude is a bit different to other festivals in that it's quite family orientated so we expect a few families down enjoying the water."

Ms Reynolds has been involved in open water swimming for 20 years but said it had boomed in recent years.

"Open water swimming generally is getting more and more popular," she said.

"People are bored of swimming up and down a pool."

Dave Banks, from Suffolk, has been coming to Latitude for eight years and was among the first to jump in.

He said: "We need this more at more festivals - it's a great way to cool down after a day relaxing in the sun.

"I've been trying to swim at Latitude every year and so far it's been frowned upon so I'm glad they've had a change of heart."

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