Entertainment & Arts

Ed Sheeran plays two surprise sets at Latitude Festival

Ed Sheeran at Latitude Image copyright RMV/Rex Shutterstock
Image caption Sheeran played to a tiny crowd on the Other Voices stage on Saturday

Singer Ed Sheeran has delighted fans at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk by playing two surprise sets.

The singer-songwriter appeared on two of the festival's smaller stages - the iArena on Friday night and the Other Voices stage on Saturday.

His low-key appearances came a week after he played three sold-out solo shows at Wembley Stadium.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds will close the festival's 10th anniversary event with a headline slot on Sunday.

Portishead headlined the event on Saturday, and were joined by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke before he played his own unannounced set at the iArena later that night.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Alt-J headlined the main Obelisk Arena on Friday
Image copyright PA
Image caption Laura Marling performed on Saturday

Mercury Prize winners Alt-J headlined on Friday. The bill also included music from the Manic Street Preachers and Laura Marling, comedy from Jason Manford and Ruby Wax and theatre companies like Kneehigh and Paines Plough.

Sheeran played the festival at the start of his career and grew up in nearby Framlingham. He is now one of the Britain's biggest pop stars, having sold more than two million copies of his second album X in the UK.

He announced his Friday night set on Twitter about an hour in advance. By the time word had spread, estimates put the crowd numbers at the woodland arena at between 1,000-3,000.

The Guardian's critic Harriet Gibsone said he played an hour-long set comprising covers of songs like Blackstreet's No Diggity, Stevie Wonder's Superstition and Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine.

Image copyright PA
Image copyright PA
Image caption Around 30,000 people travelled to the event in Henham Park, Suffolk

Olly Gregson, 18, from Sussex, said: "It was an amazing show, really intimate.

"Everyone was dancing and singing along. That's the best time I've ever seen him, just because it was so small. You see him in stadiums, arenas and stuff, but it's obviously amazing, the intimacy, so close to it."

The following night's set was shorter but even more intimate. The festival's blog said: "Ed himself admits that he wasn't planning this, he was just having some fun.

"So it came to be that a little before midnight at the Other Voices stage, Ed walks on to perhaps no more than 80 people, guitar in hand, and breaks into Thinking Out Loud."

Sheeran went on to play Nina Simone's Feelin' Good and was joined by Snow Patrol's Jonny Quinn and Nathan Connolly for the band's hit Chasing Cars.

The setting was a far cry from Wembley Stadium, where Sheeran played for 80,000 people last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The view from the crowd - Richard Haugh, BBC Suffolk Introducing

Following a set by The Unthanks, a small crowd of about 150 people in the Other Voices room were treated to a short surprise set by Ed Sheeran.

Taking to the stage shortly before midnight, Sheeran told the crowd: "I'm quite cut at the moment, wasn't expecting to play."

Armed with just his guitar, and minus his loop pedals, he played a traditional Irish song and a Nina Simone cover before being joined on stage by two members of Snow Patrol to play Chasing Cars.

And with that, he was gone.

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