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Latitude Festival deal for 15 years

PUBLISHED: 10:35 24 March 2011

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, near Southwold, on behalf his father, the “Aussie Earl” Keith Rous, 6th Earl of Stradbroke.

But Mr Rous 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 Mr Rous, 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, Mr Rous gets to take it easy for much of the weekend-long event. “I don’t have a huge amount of involvement,” he said.

“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.”

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