Latitude Celebrates Ten Years In Suffolk Wilderness
Hidden away in the Suffolk countryside is the middle-class sanctuary of Latitude, which this summer celebrated it’s tenth anniversary.
Playing host to some of the best live performers in the business, and bordered by forestry wilderness with a beautiful swimming lake at its epicentre, the festival is a nirvana to those who are keen to both develop and shirk a hangover.
As it’s not a festival juggernaut, admittedly one of its main attractions, Latitude is a fantastic occasion to catch those bands on the periphery of international stardom. That’s not to say big names weren’t in attendance – artists like the Vaccines and Friday headliners Alt-J justified their bill-topping statuses with immaculate intensively-tour-cultivated sets. The Vaccines’ 'English Graffiti'-fuelled trajectory continued courtesy of new fan favourites ‘Handsome’ and ‘20/20’, whilst Alt-J’s ability to (seemingly) effortlessly headline a festival on the back of just two albums is outstanding. Joe Newman’s voice is instantly recognisable, and their songs are so catchy, that it’s nigh on impossible to not see them as one of the country’s biggest bands within the next five years.
That said, it was the new artists that really stood out over the weekend – those that when not playing to massive festival crowds over the summer could easily be making the walls sweat at grotty rock clubs in Archway.
Wolf Alice and Catfish and the Bottlemen, two groups that seem to be getting bigger by the day, justifiably drew the 6 Music stage’s biggest crowds of the weekend. Both embody the perfect “fuck you” to the common misconception that home-grown rock-and-roll is on its knees, which is a consideration further endorsed by the deafening earlier performance from Drenge, who can now make even more noise than before with their induction of a third member.
The best of new and old US rock music was also on the roster, with the quick mouthed Benjamin Booker and Thurston Moore-featuring Sun Kil Moon entertaining the crowds as the back of their necks burnt. Ex-Red House Painters’ frontman Mark Kozelek is still the king of obscure entertainment, with some of Sun Kil Moon’s lyrics leaving the Latitude audience head-banging and head-shaking in equal measure (“having to pee fifty times a day is bad enough / got a nagging prostate”).
That said, it wasn’t just rock music that received a Henham Park showcase; Mercury Award winning James Blake and the Jai Paul-esque Ben Khan flew the electro-pop flag amidst the trees via some Moog synthesisers. Speaker trouble did rear its ugly, distorted head on occasion, but by no means with enough frequency to ruin any of the beats-heavy performances.
Music-aside, Latitude provides excellent opportunities to catch talented performers from other fields – it’s truly the John Lewis of weekenders. Simon Armitage and John Cooper Clarke achieved the impressive feat of filling the Poetry tent, whilst David O’Doherty and Aisling Bea lead the hilarious Irish invasion on the Comedy stage.
The weekend’s most surreal moment however, over watching Dracula rock musicals and drag queen dance offs, was paying witness to the meltdown of Badly Drawn Boy on the Obelisk stage.
“Five grand they’re paying me and I’ve been around for twenty years – fucking jobsworths” is the immortal line that would look good on any t-shirt. Especially if sold in Waitrose.
To find out more about Latitude festival
click here. Words & pictures by Luke Forshaw / Latitdue