I’ll just profess my bias right now and say that this was in fact the third time I had visited Latitude Festival. While I agree that the line ups may not always be as strong as its competitors’, it’s the sheer amount a variety of acts and activities that make it so interesting and individual. If you’re ever bored at this festival than it’s not their fault, it’s yours.
Clean Cut Kid performed at the Alcove, to a steadily growing crowd, that hit full swing just as their most famous track ‘Vitamin C’ began. Having first heard them on Apple Music, they showed a lot of promise, and it was enjoyable to see a relatively obscure band garner such a crowd mid-performance, as though you could feel their popularity grow with each track.
Django Django were the highlight of the Friday, bringing out hard hitting electronic songs, that made the album sound much more energetic than my initial listen. Alt-J were given a miss by my group following a viewing of their Glastonbury performance, as we instead opted to investigate the nooks and crannies of the grounds, while their songs playing in the far distance, between intermittent screams from the crowds. After Alt-J’s set was done we collapsed into the comfiest sofa ever created outside the Radio 3 Stage, where we were soon introduced to the one of the stranger acts of the festival – Ichi, the one man band. His music was a fun blend of steel pan drums, xylophone, drums, and homemade noises, from ping pong balls to toothbrushes, all brought into songs that utilize the sounds to their fullest.
He was followed by Polar Bear, of whom I would find hard to describe. Essentially they perform one long 75 minute track, which goes from a loud cacophony to almost non-existent. While their players were talented, and the music never bad, it’s not the kind of band you want to stumble into. If I had known what we were getting into, and taken whatever some of the crowd had, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
Due to the late notice of my press pass to the festival I already had prior commitments on the Saturday, requiring me to miss Savages, Wolf Alice, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and The Vaccines, making it the worst timed event that could of happened. Thankfully we were still able to explore more of the festival in the morning. Punt tours round the river, photo booths, a makeshift wedding chapel, art installations, assault courses, a ‘time portal experience to 1960’s Russia’, and tents that play their own music. As well as everything mentioned there’s an immense wealth of acts surrounding theatre, dance, literature, poetry, live art, and interviews. Not to mention that each time you have to visit each attraction twice, as while they may seem one way in daylight, at night they transform into wholly different environments.
We returned, eager to make the most of the final day, meaning watching everything at the Radio 6 Stage. We entered halfway through the Young Fathers set, a group so hard hitting and aggressive that they forced you to listen to their music and like it. After their set we decided we could attempt to get to the front – big mistake. Before I knew it we were in a pre-teen moshpit with no escape – voice cracks, braces, and acne surrounded us; it was too late.
Years and Years gave an okay performance, I liked their singles, but overall they seemed inexperienced on stage, and didn’t make too many attempts to connect with the audience. Thankfully they were followed up by La Roux, a band I thought were okay before, but left thinking that she is one of the greatest living pop artists. Her set was amazingly strong, each track never failing to get the crowd dancing, and making use of the stage and lighting that most wouldn’t bother with at a festival. My favourite act of the weekend.
Overall it was another successful year. If you ever think about going to Latitude please do, even if you don’t get up close to your favourite band, get to see everyone you want, or make it through without a hangover; if you go with friends its still going to be one of the best weekends of your year.