The Chemical Brothers look towards “emotional” return to the stage: “I could still be blubbing by the encore”

The duo will headline this month's Latitude, the first major UK festival to take place at full capacity since the start of the pandemic

The Chemical Brothers have discussed their imminent return to the stage, promising an “emotional” experience after 18 months of being starved of live music.

The duo will headline this month’s Latitude Festival, which was recently confirmed to go ahead as part of the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), alongside BastilleBombay Bicycle Club and Wolf Alice.

Latitude is scheduled to take place at Henham Park in Suffolk from July 22-25 – three days after the government expects to do away with all lockdown measures. It will be the first major UK festival to take place at full capacity since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in early 2020.


Speaking to Sunday Times Culture about their live return, Tom Rowlands said: “It will be emotional. I could still be blubbing by the encore.”

Rowlands went on to discuss how the government has let down live music over its response to reopening, and how some events have been given different treatment to others.

“To see fans back at football matches while festivals are forced to cancel for a second year is inexplicable to me,” he said. “Why is one more important than the other? It’s the same shared experience that’s fundamental to us all.

The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers performing in 2019 (Picture: Andrew Benge/Redferns)

“Clubland had already been hollowed out pre-pandemic. I don’t want to bang on about the good old days, but clubbing was how you found your tribe. It’s still vital to young lives, an experience you don’t get through a screen.”

Last month, the UK’s first camping festival since the COVID-19 pandemic took place in the form of the Download pilot.


The 10,000-capacity event, headlined by Bullet For My ValentineFrank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Enter Shikari, saw the legendary rock festival make a small-scale return for a three-day camping pilot as part of ongoing research into the safe return of live music. Read the NME review of the Download pilot here.

Following the event, Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn said the festival served as “100 per cent” evidence that festivals can go ahead this summer.

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