For festival lovers, there is always a difficulty when summer comes along. Choosing between festivals nowadays is as stressful as what you do between holidays. With countless new additions springing up every year, each with their own unique selling-points and line-ups, and each doing its best to compete on price, it is damn near impossible to narrow it down.
Being an East Anglian guy, however, I decided to show some home loyalty and chose Latitude. The festival lasts from 12 July to 15 July, and here are my reasons why I think it’s the best this year:
The Community Feel
I’ve always heard that Latitude was very family-friendly, and after braving the teen-fuelled party atmosphere of Reading last year I am more than willing to try a more all-encompassing and calm ambience.
As well as boasting a huge variety of poets, artists, writers, dancers, musicians, comedians, historians and filmmakers – making it a vital event for any culture lover, and an easy choice for a group who perhaps don’t all share the same interests – Latitude just sounds fun.
The main draw for me is just how pleasant it looks. The new clans that are set up on their website ensure that whatever kind of person you are –a granny looking for a peaceful weekend or a student looking for a party – you can find a list of wonderful recommendations to fill your whole weekend.
There are few things I enjoy more than experiencing a band playing in some underground venue, with dank brick walls covered in posters and more contact from sweaty maturing men than glances from flirty indie girls; however there is no equivalent to watching your favourite band fill a sunshine doused field with beautiful music.
Henham Park, the stage for Latitude, is the perfect mix of open space, for the anthems, and woodland, for those special hidden performances that Latitude does like no other festival. Any festival that has areas named The Faraway Forest, In The Woods and The Lake Stage are just asking curious, outdoorsy festival goers to choose Latitude.
There’s no getting around it, the main selling point of a festival is going to be who is playing. The theatre, poetry and atmosphere all sounded lovely, but it is really the amazing headline trio of Bon Iver, Elbow and Paul Weller that sold it for me. If there were ever three musicians who could draw in both the young and the old, it is these three.
Justin Vernon’s haunting voice and versatility make him the perfect act to settle everyone in on a Friday night; Elbow and Paul Weller share a great mix of powerful presence and set lists that were made for a festival crowd to sing along to. Other names that sealed it for me were the beautiful Laura Marling, the highly-hyped Alabama Shakes, the angst pop of Los Campesinos!, and electronic pop-rockers, Metronomy.
Latitude truly is a festival that, although relatively unheard of a few years ago, is guaranteed the biggest names in music. A must venue at least once in your life; get to this weekend!