Deal secures Latitude Festival for 15 years

A SUFFOLK estate manager has pledged his future to the county after securing a 15-year deal to continue hosting an increasingly successful music festival.

Seven years ago, the Honourable Hektor Rous was asked to sell Henham Park on behalf his father, the 'Aussie Earl' Keith Rous, 6th Earl of Stradbroke.

But Hektor instantly fell in love with the area and within a year had overseen the return of the Grand Henham Steam Rally – which had been relocated four times in as many years – and even added a new event to the calendar, Wings and Wheels.

Just a year later, he helped attract 50,000 music fans to the first-ever Latitude festival – an event that has soared in popularity ever since and will be returning to Henham for at least the next 15 years.

'It has been a labour of love,' said Hektor, who worked in the financial market in Australia before a dramatic career change led him to the Suffolk coast. 'It's as sentimental as falling in love with the place. I realised it was massively under-used and under-appreciated.

'As soon as I arrived I knew we had to get the steam rally back. It didn't seem right for it to be held elsewhere.'

But it was the Latitude Festival which put Henham Park firmly back on the map. Now run chiefly by Festival Republic, Hektor gets to take it easy for much of the weekend-long event. 'I don't have a huge amount of involvement,' he said.

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'The guys at Festival Republic have incredible experience at taking care of such a massive operation. We're talking about fitting half of Lowestoft in here for one weekend.'

Hektor even hinted towards more exciting projects in the pipeline at Henham, including another music event and drive-in movie theatre, which he referred to as another 'passion project'.

Planning permission has also been extended by five years for the rebuilding of Henham Hall after the project was put on hold when the global financial crisis began.