Latitude is more than just a music festival. Comedy, poetry, ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company shared this year’s bill with headliners Florence and the…
Latitude is more than just a music festival. Comedy, poetry, ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company shared this year’s bill with headliners Florence and the Machine, Belle and Sebastian and Vampire Weekend. As did the multi-coloured sheep, of course. The crowds are as varied as the acts: small children pulled around in carts by tired parents, students trying to smuggle alcohol through the gates and middle-aged cider drinkers complaining that none of the shops there sold the Guardian.
Florence drew an enormous crowd at the main stage on Friday night, as she stretched the definition of being in tune and pranced around introducing her ‘machine’ while the audience waited for ‘Rabbit Heart’. Noah and the Whale and Jonśi were both fantastic on Saturday, Yeasayer and Midlake were brilliant on Sunday and Belle and Sebastian were well worth the anticipation, headlining on Saturday night. Special guests The Feeling confessed that they had no new album to play, but said that they loved the festival so much that they really wanted to be a part of it, before launching into a passion- and energy-filled set.
Not everyone was met with undivided approval, however. Crystal Castles, the musical equivalent of a wild boar, were perhaps not the most inspired choice to warm up the crowd for the gentle pop of Belle and Sebastian. Singer Alice Glass had a fight with someone in the crowd and had to be restrained by her own security, screamed tunelessly into her microphone and took large swigs from a bottle of whisky, which looked a lot like it still had a supermarket security tag on it. Surprise Sunday act Tom Jones, though he retained his famed charm and voice despite his advancing years, irritated the crowd by singing songs exclusively from his new album, while the audience screamed “play Delilah” at him.
What really makes Latitude special is the variety. Ardal O’Hanlon (famed for playing Dougal in Father Ted) was brilliant in the comedy tent on Saturday afternoon, as were nearly all the candidates for the Latitude ‘New Act of the Year’ competition – winner Eric Lampaert is definitely one to watch for the future. Robin Ince’s Book Club, which featured in the Literature tent throughout the weekend, was great fun, featuring big names such as Phil Jupitus and Kevin Eldon.
Michael Hoyle, Music Editor